A Stream to Rejoice the City of God

“There is a stream whose conduits rejoice the city of God;

The Holy Tabernacle of the Most High.”

(Psalm 46:5 {verse 4 in English})

There is a sense here that the psalmist is looking both backwards and forwards as he rejoices in God’s blessings to his people. He is looking backwards and remembering the four rivers by which the Garden of Eden was watered and perhaps even the stream of water that followed the people through the wilderness during their 40 years of wilderness wandering (hence the language of God “tabernacling” with his people). There is also a sense of anticipation to a recreation event where the streams will once again flow through the center of God’s holy city (Revelation 22:1), something that Ezekiel anticipates (Ezekiel 47:1-12). 

Yet, there is something more than an anticipation that is in sight here in this verse. Depending on how late the dating of this psalm happens to be, we may also see a fulfillment of this passage found in Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Chronicles 32:30). Anticipating Sennacherib’s siege over Jerusalem, he had a tunnel cut between the Spring of Gihon and what we know as the Pool of Siloam (meaning “Sent”) inside the walls of Jerusalem. This tunnel is one of the marvels of the ancient world in terms of the engineering required to form said tunnel with two teams, each cutting from different ends and meeting in the middle. This tunnel provided a fresh stream of water coming into the walls of the city making it much more defensible when attacked. 

The term that the psalmist uses to speak of the conduits is פֶּלֶג (peleg), literally refers to an artificial water channel cut through an otherwise dry area. For this to be Hezekiah’s Tunnel, then, that would require a dating of this psalm in exilic or post-exilic times, something that would make it consistent with the language being used by Ezekiel already mentioned. One might suggest that the artificial water channel might be the channel God cut through the wilderness to follow them in the Exodus, but given the reference to “the City of God,” Jerusalem seems clearly in sight. 

The last thing that we should note is the use of the title “Most High” to refer to God. In Hebrew, this is one word, עֶלִיוֹן (Elyon), though He is sometimes referred to as אֵל עֶלִיוֹן (El-Elyon) or “God Most High.” This is significant not only because it speaks of the exalted nature of our God, but that it is one of the terms used in the New Testament to speak of Jesus, for the Angel pronounced to Mary that Jesus would be referred to as the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), a statement designed to connect our Lord and Savior to references in the Old Testament. 

Our God is good and he makes provisions for his people during times of trial and times of rest, the key is found in learning to trust those avenues of provision and glorifying him in the midst of the sanctuary for all he has done. Loved ones, pursue God with all your heart and might, for indeed, the God that will restore the Holy City in that final day of remaking is the same God that will carry and provide for you throughout life. Trust him to do just that and do not lean on your own understanding.

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on April 28, 2021, in Expositions, Psalms and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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