August 22 2023
Today, Tuesday August 22
“O City of God”
A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A song.
“His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God! Selah
"I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know Me; Behold, O Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia: 'This one was born there.' " And of Zion it will be said, "This one and that one were born in her; And the Most High Himself shall establish her." The LORD will record, When He registers the peoples: "This one was born there." Selah
Both the singers and the players on instruments say, "All my springs are in you."
Psalm 87 is primarily about the city of Jerusalem. As a pastor I have had the privilege of traveling to many places in the world over the years. My first trip overseas was to Japan in 1976. In my early years, I also went to the Philippines ten times. I’ve been to India so many times that I have lost count. I’ve made numerous trips to Europe, Russia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and England. I’ve visited China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Uganda Africa, Haiti, and Guatemala in Central America. But my most favorite place to visit in all the world is the city of Jerusalem, “The City of God”! I have been there on at least thirty occasions.
Psalm 87 was probably written in the time of King Hezekiah, after the Assyrian army had been defeated and Babylon was on the rise (Isaiah 36-39). Following this great victory, the neighboring nations, usually hostile to the Jews, honored Hezekiah and brought gifts to him as well as sacrifices to the Lord (2 Chronicles 32:23). The inscription tells us that it was a Psalm of the sons of Korah. They were the worship leaders of Israel who led in praise and song. You can imagine after the Assyrian army had been destroyed by one angel in one night that the people celebrated with song, praise and dancing! God had protected His Holy City!
Jerusalem is very much in the news these days. It always has been. It is the most important city on earth. Not Washington or London, Paris or Peking, Moscow or Rome, but Jerusalem is this world's true center. God has said of Jerusalem that He has set it in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5). And this is so. Draw a circle on a map with Jerusalem as its center and with a radius of about nine hundred miles; it will take in almost the entire Middle East. Within that circle will lie Athens, Istanbul, Antioch, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, Alexandria, Cairo, and Mecca. Much of modern civilization is the offshoot of what happened within the compass of that circle, and Jerusalem is at its heart.
The primary appeal of Psalm 87 has to do with the national life of Israel in historic times. It celebrates the national pride of the native-born Hebrew in the impressive capital city which crowned the hills of Judah. It was written to sing the praises of Jerusalem in the days of the kings. Psalm 87 also has a prophetic aspect. It can be taken as a prophetic commentary on David's statement in the previous psalm: "All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O LORD; and shall glorify Thy name." It is also a millennial psalm anticipating the day when Jesus will reign and Jerusalem, trodden down of the Gentiles since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, will at last be the world's capital city.
But there is also a personal application, for, in type and shadow, we come in. In Jerusalem was not only the temple of the true God, but also the throne of David, and it would be the Davidic line that would give us the Savior, Jesus Christ. It was outside the gates of the City of Jerusalem that Jesus was crucified for our sins. It was where He resurrected from the grave on the third day! It is the birthplace of His church. What a privilege and honor it was for a Jew to say that they were “born in Jerusalem” (vv. 4-6).
My friend, because of what happened in Jerusalem two-thousand years ago, if we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can now say, “I have been born again! I have a new life. I have been forgiven! And I will live forever in the heavenly Jerusalem!”