Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Within her citadels God has made Himself known as a fortress. For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together. As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight. Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor. By the east wind You shattered the ships of Tarshish. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah We have thought on Your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of Your temple. As Your name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments! Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever (Psalm 48 ESV).
Psalm 48:11 is one of the readings listed in my husband’s German planner for today. But the phrase that catches my attention today is “steadfast love.” This is usually a translation of the Hebrew word chesed. Chesed refers to the love of Yahweh for His people — its meaning is much deeper than any one English word we have for it. It means “steadfast love” but also “faithfulness.” It’s a covenant word. Yahweh is faithfully loving of His people because of His covenant with them — because He has promised to be so.
Yahweh has shown His steadfast love and faithfulness in countless ways: by routing the assembled kings of this Psalm, shattering the ships of Tarshish, leading His people out of Egypt, delivering them from famines, defeating their enemies. His steadfast love and faithfulness are a fortress for His people. His chesed shelters those to whom His promises have been given from every kind of attack. He has shown His steadfast love and faithfulness to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the ultimate chesed of Yahweh. Jesus’ death on the cross, His wounds presented before the Father, become a fortress for us, a fortress from the storm of Yahweh’s wrath for our sins, a fortress from the storm of the world’s and the devil’s attacks and a fortress from the attacks of our own sinful flesh.
Living as we do in the fortress of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness for us in Christ Jesus, we cannot help but proclaim it from the heights and tell the next generation. This summer, English Bible Camps all over Central Europe are doing that very thing. They are proclaiming to the next generation that they, too, have a fortress in this loving faithful God because of Jesus’ death for them! Praise be to God for His chesed, which we cannot help but proclaim!
Let us pray: Lord God, You are righteous and holy, we give You thanks and praise that you have showered us with Your chesed, sheltering us in the fortress of Your Son’s death and resurrection for us, despite our sins and unworthiness. Grant that we may continue to proclaim Your great love and faithfulness to the next generations so that they may be brought into the fortress of Your love; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- Read last week’s devotion!
- Stay tuned for a story about this year’s English Bible Camps in Hungary from GEO missionary Melissa Karges later this week.
- Correction: Psalm 46 is the basis of Luther’s hymn. An earlier version of this blog post confused Psalm 48 with Psalm 46 as the basis of Luther’s hymn. My apologies.