Sinatra represented me when he sang, “Chicago is my kind of town.” I love our city. But I have less reason for such enthusiasm about my city than the sons of Korah did for theirs when writing Psalm 48. David’s military successes and the subsequent material glory of Solomon’s reign in Jerusalem form the backdrop for this psalm. More importantly, God’s love for and power on behalf of David enables one to sing that Jerusalem is the “joy of the whole earth.”
The sons of Korah sing of their gladness in God, who fills their citadels and is Himself their fortress. Consideration of God’s favor on David and his royal city gladdens their hearts to marvel that God’s name and praises reach the ends of the earth. Jerusalem and the temple embodied God’s particular love for Israel, David, and his heirs. No earthly city besides Jerusalem can lay claim to having been the unique place where God’s glorious and holy presence dwelt for hundreds of years. It is for this reason Psalm 48 gushes with Jerusalem’s praise.
Having said all of this, we have more reason to gush, even if it is not about the greatness of our city. Chicago is now home to many different temples of the Lord (meaning all believers in Christ), and so we sing about the grace given by God choosing to dwell in us. Our bodies are now the temple where we can day and night “meditate on your (God’s) unfailing love.” We meditate in these crumbling temples of flesh while we wait for the city where God Himself will be our temple, the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-2, 22-23).