Mon July 8 – Holy Ground

Psalm 48: 9-14 (CEB)

9 We dwell on your faithful love, God,
    in your temple.

10 Your praise, God, just like your reputation,
    extends to the far corners of the earth.
        Your strong hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Let Mount Zion be glad;
    let the towns of Judah rejoice
        because of your acts of justice!

12 Walk around Zion;
    go all the way around it;
    count its towers.

13 Examine its defenses closely;
    tour its fortifications
    so that you may tell future generations:

14 “This is God,
    our God, forever and always!
    He is the one who will lead us
    even to the very end.”[a]


When you read Psalm 48, you will hear poetry written long ago in celebration of God’s holy space on Mount Zion, a.k.a. God’s house. This is poetry, likely written as a song sung by worshippers coming to see the magnificence of the temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps it was also sung by soldiers in defense of their beloved city. 

Sadly, as is evidenced, we know that there has been strife and longing in and around Jerusalem for thousands of years. God’s people there have continued to be in conflict. Yet throughout Psalm 48, one hears encouragement and steadfast faith that God is with us, that God’s “strong hand is filled with righteousness.” (v9) This is our God, forever and always! He is the one who will lead us to the very end. (v14)” 

I’m purposefully not picking sides, but with so much strife in the holy land, I want to ask God, Which way is it? Which side holds the holy ground? When warring factions seem to always be at odds, when one group is never in favor of another, where is Zion?  Where is the holy ground and to whom does it belong? If it all really is holy ground, then perhaps there really is no side that is in the right. I cannot say what is the answer to the conflict that is there.

Yet for today, I am also reminded of Marv Wills’ children’s sermon on Sunday in which one child announced that she feels God everywhere. Marv helped us further recognize that, as with Jacob, God promises to be with us everywhere we are. 

If we turn to our God and seek a relationship wherever we are, God’s grace finds us and gives us that sense of home in our hearts that we long for. “We dwell on your faithful love, God, in your temple.” (v9). We are on holy ground wherever and whenever we recognize our relationship to the Almighty and for wherever we are. As Jacob announced, “God is in this place.” We know that all the ground is holy ground because of the relationship we share with Our Lord. 

by Barbara Carlson

For Pondering and Prayer

Do you have thoughts and feelings about the holy land and the strive there? How do you reconcile your feelings and relationship with God to your understanding of the trouble there? Is there a special place in which you feel closest to God? How does being in our church building remind you of the temple that the psalmist speaks of?

Prayer: Gracious God, Thank you for your love and promise to be with me wherever I am. I know that this ground is holy ground because of the grace that you have offered me. Let me always recognize your presence wherever I am and in all that I do. Amen.

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