A devotion of Psalm 87
1-2 High on his holy mountain stands Jerusalem, the city of God, the city he loves more than any other! (NLT)
Imagine someone leafing through a glossy magazine rating the best place on earth. It is gorgeous beyond compare and almost impossible to get to live there now. You come up to the awestruck reader and say, “I was born there!” Their wide-eyed wonder would transfer to you and your worth would instantly inflate in their estimation.
This passage calls Jerusalem or Zion God’s favorite place. He is its great leader and utterly delights in it. Strange though, Zion (Heb. Tsiyon)means a “parched place.” Its root means a monument signifying being conspicuous. Why on earth, no pun intended, would God choose a parched wilderness as his favorite place? Its past and future are monumental indeed as we shall see shortly. Moreover, Zion is reminiscent of us…
Physical Significance of Zion
Bible commentator David Guzik states, “Since God’s work happens in time and space, it had to happen somewhere, and God chose Jerusalem as the place where much of it happened.
· There Melchezidek, king and priest of God Most High, reigned and served.
· There Abraham was willing to offer Isaac on the mount of the Lord where His perfect sacrifice would be provided.
· There David, Israel’s greatest earthly king, reigned and made it the kingdom’s capital.
· There the tabernacle of God found its fulfillment and permanence in the great temple David designed and Solomon built.
· There the institutions of sacrifice, worship, and priestly service were established for centuries.
· There Jesus recognized and honored the city and observed the feasts and temple rituals.
· There Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.
· There the church was born in a day at Pentecost.
· There the apostles served and sent out the Gospel.
· There God will establish the physical, geographic center of His ultimate kingdom upon earth.”
Jerusalem, the city of peace, is God’s foundation, his beginning point, and the epicenter of his dealings with mankind. It is God’s chosen headquarters – the Vatican City of his conclave. Its foundation is upon a rock and not upon sinking sand. It will never be shaken no matter who or what rises against it. It is a deep foundation. It is a strong foundation. Firm though the ages as the Ancient of Days. All other lands, nations, and powers shall wax and wane. This one alone sits secure upon the solid rock.
Spiritual Significance of Zion
It may not look like much now, especially when compared to other locales. It may be arid and God-forsaken looking and certainly would not quality for the ‘who’s who or where’s where’ list. It may barren sand and rock. But our God specializes in bypassing grand seeming things and bee-lining for apparent losers.
He has set his sights upon her and has great affection for her. He has declared that she is the best place on earth – she is the focal feature in the exclusive magazine Where’s Where. Much like we highlight the woman of the year or the man of the century, God highlights Jerusalem as the place of the ages.
3 O city of God, what wondrous tales are told of you! 4 Nowadays when I mention among my friends the names of Egypt and Babylonia, Philistia and Tyre, or even distant Ethiopia, someone boasts that he was born in one or another of those countries. 5 But someday the highest honor will be to be a native of Jerusalem! For the God above all gods will personally bless this city. 6 When he registers her citizens, he will place a check mark beside the names of those who were born here.
The Holy Register
Romans 9:8 says that “not all of Abraham’s children are children of God, but only those who believe the promise of salvation which he made to Abraham.” Your spiritual ancestor, Father Abraham, finds his roots in that blessed land. His children of faith inherit that land. God has a register of that city. In it are names of its citizens. If you look really closely, you will see your name boldly written there if you share Abraham’s faith in salvation. So spiritually, you were born in Jerusalem. Zion, the chosen city in the chosen land, is your stomping grounds. What a great inheritance you have, beloved!
I love books. There is something sacred and mesmerizing about a room full of books. God is a meticulous librarian and record keeper. You are chosen by him, Jerusalem’s grand regent, and registered in its annals. Might these be among the books listed in Revelation 20:12, that holy library? “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
I frequently here people say, “People shouldn’t judge me, only God will judge me.” Fair enough. How will he judge you? If you were a city, what city would you be? Were you full of grandeur and achievements – London, Paris, New York? Were you fruitful and successful by the world’s standards – Melbourne, Nairobi? Were you a glitzy and glamorous city?
The Record Keeper bypasses all that and goes straight for Webb, Iowa or Gaston, Oregon. He chooses the parched land. The only requirement for citizenship in this chosen land is being a Jew. And proof of being a Jew is manifested by circumcision. “A person is not a Jew who is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God,” Romans 2:28, 29. So while others would call you alien, God says you belong. While others call you parched, God calls you chosen!
Revel in these glorious excerpts from Romans 4:
“11 And he [Abraham] received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.Hebrews 12:22-23
7 And in the festivals they’ll sing, “All my heart is in Jerusalem.” (NLT)
7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.” (NIV)
Let’s close out these phenomenal truths with the words of one of my spiritual heartthrobs, Charles Spurgeon. Keep in mind the concept of heart/soul we have been studying and the thought that the heart is the wellspring of life (Pr. 4:23.)
“If all my springs are in God, then let all my streams flow to God. All the rivers run into the sea, because they all came from the sea. It was from the sea that the sun drew up the clouds which fed the thousand rills which fall into the rivers, and so the rivers run back to the sea. Let us do the same. What we have had from God must go to God.” Charles Spurgeon.