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!” Ps.48:12-14
The writer invites an exploration of God’s city. Since Jerusalem is the work of God and the place of His dwelling, it deserves inventory. We ought to be aware of what God has done and render an account, so that coming generations may praise Him. Now to those who were residents, the call for exploration may seem superfluous. A “been there, seen that” attitude might ignore the call. But the Psalm offers no exclusions. The familiar can take on new meaning. The common sights and paths of Zion reflect God’s glory which are easily overlooked. Note the final assurance. God will guide the exploration and point us to praise.
You don’t have to go to Israel to obey the Psalm. There is a new Zion and new temple of the Spirit. The people of faith are the dwelling of God. He resides within us. (A mystery - yes. A delight - yes!) Often we think of the congregated saints as “the new Jerusalem.” And of course, the Church is a place of God’s work and presence. But we do well to look internally, too. Our souls from the inner space of God’s dwelling and the place of His ministry. While we focus on the external workings of God around us, there is much to explore within. Paul prays that the “eyes of our hearts may be open.” He asks that we might be empowered by the spirit “in our inner being” and that Christ would dwell “in your hearts.” Our souls are to be “rooted and grounded in love” so that Christ “is formed within you.” All of this is language and focus on the internals of our lives. Frankly, we rarely give thought to our soul space. It’s murky, dark, mysterious and too “touchy feely” for some. Far easier to measure conduct, talk about theology, keep busy at ministry projects and avoid the crevices of heart. We can do that. We do do that. But, it is from the heart that the issues of life flow. So we’re commanded to guard it. We can’t guard what we don’t know or recognize.
Prayer is a means of heart exploration. It puts us in tune with the deep internal work of God. It is a reconnaissance of soul - a firsthand observation of what is or isn’t. Prayer is an ongoing discovery of soul space. We can walk about the towers and ramparts of our depths. That may frighten some from prayer or at least keep prayer on the surface of our lives. But, if you are willing to risk such an adventure, know two things. First, the goal is not simply self awareness. Prayer is not therapy. We are not out to discover ourselves, but God and His gracious work within us. Second, take hope. It is God who invites us to this adventure. It is not a solo quest, but as the Psalm declares, God is our guide.