The grace of G-d is not simply a new covenant concept, but it is also found in the Tanakh (The Old Testament, The Hebrew Bible). We see a connection between G-d’s grace being received and the ability to worship Him as He desires to be worshipped.
v1: Greatly – this is a word which literally means ‘exceedingly’. Because of who G-d is it is proper/appropriate for us to worship Him (in word and in deed/by our actions) abundantly or exceedingly.
- City of our G-d (Jerusalem)…holy mountain: These are two places that are also related to worship. It is only through (exceedingly) worshipping G-d in every area of our lives that we are going to begin to experience holiness. The word ‘holiness’ in the Bible relates to the purposes of G-d, the will of G-d, the objectives of G-d. When we worship G-d, it means that we are committed to His purposes. When we are committed to His purposes, we receive His revelation so we can understand His will but also be conformed into a condition whereby we can do His will and fulfill His purposes. If we don’t spend time worshipping G-d it is because of two things: either we don’t think G-d is that great, so we don’t involve ourselves (time, resources, energy etc.) in worshipping Him as it is not important to us or we are not committed to the purposes of G-d. When we recognize His holiness it should cause us to be committed to His purposes.
v2: Beautiful in elevation – this has to do with a view or a perspective. When we acknowledge the city of our G-d (His holy mountain) it is going to give us a different perspective from the world and therefore we’re going to see things correctly.
- If we want the joy that causes the whole world (creation) to rejoice then we need to be found in the will of G-d. The only way we can move in His will is when we understand from His perspective (worshipping in Spirit and in truth). When we are outside G-d’s will we experience an absence of joy.
- The temple (place of worship) was situated on the northern side of the city of Jerusalem. This northern side is emphasized here. Jerusalem should be important to us – not only because of its history, but also because of its future. Yeshua is coming back to dwell in His sanctuary (the Holy of holies) in Jerusalem!
- Great King – abundant King.
v3: Palaces – the significant places in this city that G-d uniquely dwells in. Some would say that these palaces represent the structures or walls around the entire city, and these are part of why it is a place of refuge – through worship, G-d has provided for our defense. When we worship G-d we are going to be spiritually secure. When we are careless with our worship of G-d we find ourselves in a dangerous position.
v4: Kings – many scholars understand this as referring to not the kings themselves but to their kingdoms, their empires etc
- Passed by together – they are all going to come under His authority. G-d is going to rule over all the kingdoms and empires of this world. He is the King of kings and the L-rd of L-rds. Are we already, willingly, living under His authority?
v5: Saw it – they received revelation when they submitted to G-d.
- Marveled: They were amazed.
- Hastened – seeing from G-d’s perspective caused them to respond quickly. When we see things from G-d’s perspective it should cause us to respond rapidly to Him. Today the world is rapidly transitioning, with nations rebelling more and more against the authority and truth of G-d. They are doing abominable and blasphemous things. This is what the prophets have told us the state of the world will be in as we approach the end times.
v6: When they see themselves clearly, from G-d’s perspective, they are going to experience fear and great pain – not only physical pain but also emotional pain (as they realize what they have to go through and knowing it’s going to get worse and worse – like labour pains. There is a purpose for the suffering. It ultimately gives way to something good).
v7: An eastern wind is usually associated with judgement. This verse foreshadows G-d’s judgement which is going to fall and break…
- The ships of Tarshish: These were known as great, strong ships. G-d’s judgement is going to cause great destruction. These ships also carried valuable and precious cargo. G-d’s judgement is also going to cause great loss.
v8: As we have heard: We have heard testimony of this coming judgement through the prophetic Scriptures.
- So have we seen: There is going to be a fulfillment of what G-d has revealed through the prophets.
- The city – G-d has prepared this city (Jerusalem) and it is a city that will become a part of the Kingdom of G-d – forever, eternally. Earthly Jerusalem is going to be the capital city in the millennial kingdom, but then it too will be transformed and become a new creation – the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:9-27). Jerusalem still has (and always will have) GREAT significance for us as New Covenant people.
v9: We have thought: This is frequently translated as imagining something, but it is a word that speaks of a G-d-given desire or hope. They were hoping for G-d’s grace (His lovingkindness) to be upon them. They knew that only those who were recipients of G-d’s grace would experience wonderful changes in their lives.
- The word ‘sanctuary’ or ‘temple’ should always remind us of worshipping G-d – being in the place where His Presence dwells.
v10: Name – character.
- So is Your praise to the ends of the earth – G-d is going to be praised throughout all of His creation
- Right hand is full of righteousness – right hand speaks of authority and integrity. G-d keeps His Word. Righteousness is a Kingdom word (Matt 6:33). Integrity brings about righteousness.
v11: Zion is Jerusalem in her redemptive state (after the second coming of Messiah – Yeshua).
- The emphasis of this verse is on women – women almost always set the context of a passage in redemption. G-d is going to fulfill His plan through His redemptive work, and this is going to bring joy and gladness into His kingdom. This will be achieved through His judgement/the wrath of G-d coming upon the earth in the last days.
v12: Towers – speak of security (watch towers). Theoretically, the more towers a place has the more secure that place is. The implication of this verse is that Mt Zion is a place of absolute security and safety.
v13: Bulwarks – walls. Again, a reference to her security, strength and safety.
- Palaces – strongholds. This is a city of refuge. The Kingdom of G-d is a place where people can feel secure.
- Tell it – when we see things from G-d’s perspective we will want to speak about it, proclaim the good news. This is part of our work here on earth.
- The generation following – the last generation (the good news will be proclaimed until the Kingdom of G-d is established).
v14: G-d forever and ever – our G-d is eternal.
- He will be our guide – Through His grace He brings us into a new reality where we become His eternal/Kingdom people.
- Even to death – He is going to bring us through death (Matt 16:24-28). The cross is synonymous with shame, suffering and death. We have been called to die to ourselves. One of the things that G-d teaches us is how to die. A good teacher of Scripture doesn’t only teach us how we are called to live, but he also teaches us how we are called to die (living in a sacrificial way, totally giving of ourselves to G-d). Death should not concern us or cause us to fear. Death is simply the body ceasing to exist, our souls remain alive and free – death releases us to fully praise G-d (Rom 7:24-25) and experience the newness of Kingdom life in its fullest sense.