GOD’S BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Lord, thank You for loving all people.
Read PSALM 87
Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. A song.
1 He has founded his city on the holy mountain.
2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are said of you,
city of God:[a]
4 “I will record Rahab[b] and Babylon
among those who acknowledge me—
Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush[c]—
and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”[d]
5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said,
“This one and that one were born in her,
and the Most High himself will establish her.”
6 The Lord will write in the register of the peoples:
“This one was born in Zion.”
7 As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in you.”
a Psalm 87:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 6.
b Psalm 87:4 A poetic name for Egypt
c Psalm 87:4 That is, the upper Nile region
d Psalm 87:4 Or “I will record concerning those who acknowledge me: / ‘This one was born in Zion.’ / Hear this, Rahab and Babylon, / and you too, Philistia, Tyre and Cush.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Praise the Lord, who “watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow … The LORD reigns for ever, your God, O Zion, for all generations” (Ps 146:9,10).
This psalm, with its strange names and baffling allusions, needs some explanation. With one voice, commentators describe it as enigmatic. (The NIV has smoothed out some of the difficulties in the Hebrew.)
The metaphor that stretches over it is a picture of God recording in His book the names of all the people who were born in Jerusalem and belong to Him. But wait! These are people from far-flung nations. “Rahab” refers to the sea-monster (Job 9:13; 26:12), not the Rahab who sheltered the spies in Joshua 2. This monster is associated with Egypt, and Cush is the Upper Nile region. The people of these places were not exactly friendly toward Israel. For much of the time they were at war. The notion of God recording them as those who acknowledge him is startling. God actually declares that these aliens – and enemies at that – were born in Jerusalem!
That, however, is exactly what happened! Psalm 87 is more of an oracle than a psalm. Over time, many people living in places where Jews were scattered became proselytes, and some even came to Jerusalem for the festivals. At Pentecost, Jews came to Jerusalem from “every nation under heaven” and were baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:5–11). Writing to the Galatians, Paul takes it a step further and declares that we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28), adopted children of God and heirs of the promises made to Abraham. We who were once foreigners, “excluded from citizenship in Israel” (Eph 2:11–13), have been accepted through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our names are written in the book of life (Rev 3:5). Read the psalm again. There we are, along with Rahab and Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush!
Give thanks for all that we, as Gentiles, inherit from the Old Testament.
Lord, Your Gentile bride rejoices in the inclusion of all peoples into the covenant community of God.
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