Advent Bible in a Year Blog: O Zion, That Bringest Good Tidings!

Luke 11-12

Psalm 48-49

Psalm 48 is a song by the Sons of Korah. We know from accounts in Chronicles that these sons of Korah were the ministers of music established by King David (1 Chronicles 6:31,32). Psalm 48 is a song of praise to God that he has made himself known in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion.

ps48-1-2“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…”

God made himself known to his people as a fortress; he is the great King above all Kings. The God we serve has revealed himself as mighty and worthy of all praise, and at the sight of his holy mountain the kings of the earth fled in anguish (vs.6).

We have just celebrated the birth of Jesus, and our welcome into the family of God through the work of Jesus. As gentile believers, we have become citizens the spiritual Jerusalem[1]. The same God – who was present on Mount Zion and was a fortress for his people – is our God. He has been made known through Christ and has come near to us through the power of his Holy Spirit. He is our fortress, our strength, and our source of life because he came into the world to ransom sinners and adopt us as his sons and daughters.

What’s more, the Lord has promised that he is coming again, that he will gather in his people and they will “sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:12). The day is coming when he will right every wrong and he will rule in the new heavens and new earth. A day when, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phil 2:10)

In reading the words of our psalm today, I couldn’t help but think of the hymns of Advent, celebrating the preeminence of the King of Kings! Just a few weeks ago we sang these words from Hymn 65 and Hymn 75:

Fling wide your gates, O Zion; your Savior’s rule embrace.
His tidings of salvation proclaim in every place.
All lands will bow before him, their voices will adore him.
Oh, blest is Christ that came
in Gods most holy name![2]

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up to the heights and sing!
Proclaim to a desolate people the coming of their King.
Like the flowers of the field they perish,
like grass our works decay,
the power and pomp of nations shall pass like a dream away;
but the word of our God endureth, the arm of the Lord is strong;
he stands in the midst of nations, and he will right the wrong.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, the lambs he’ll gently hold;
to pastures of peace he’ll lead them,
and bring them safe to his fold.[3]

I am incredibly thankful for the ministers of music we have at the Advent, who bring us good tidings through song, just as the sons of Korah did to God’s people long ago. The last verses of our psalm instruct us to consider Zion that “you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” (vs. 12-14)


Like the words of these hymns, I pray that we continue boldly to proclaim the character of our God, who is for us forever. He stands for us a fortress in the midst of the nations, and at the name of Jesus every knee will bow. May we fling wide the gates of our hearts to embrace the Savior’s rule, and may we proclaim the good tidings of his salvation in every place!

[1] Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

[2] The Hymnal 1982. Hymn 65. Words by Frans Mikael Franzen; adapt. Charles P. Price

[3] The Hymnal 1982. Hymn 75. Words by James Lewis Milligan

Emily Menendez is a parishioner and Director of Small Groups at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama.