TEXT: Psalm 87
Verses 1-2: The psalmist immediately turns our attention to Zion, the mountain made holy by God’s presence dwelling in the temple that was built there.
Verse 3: Glorious things are said of Jerusalem, the city of God where Zion was located, because God chose to make his presence known there.
Verses 4-7: The remainder of the psalm is a divine pronouncement, in which God incorporates foreign nations into the holy city.
INTERPRET: This psalm celebrates Zion, the location of the temple, the place where God makes his glorious presence known in the world. During the period of the Old Testament, the foreign nations were enemies, but this psalm looks to the future when peoples from the nations will find their spiritual home in Zion.
The psalmist praises God by recounting the glorious things spoken about Zion, the place where the temple of God was built. The psalmist foresees the day when not only Israel, but all the nations of the world, will find their spiritual home in Zion. For other Zion hymns see Psalms 46, 48, 76, 84, 122 and 137.
APPLICATION: In the New Testament, God makes his presence known through Jesus, and the nations are invited to participate in the good news and enter into a relationship with God through him. We are perhaps to hear an echo of our psalm in Paul's figurative contrast between enslavement to the law of Sinai and the freedom won by the gospel. Paul may also have this psalm in the back of his mind when he reminds his readers in Philippi that “our citizenship is in heaven”.
Most significantly, in light of our psalm, we think of that future day in the New Jerusalem when “the glory and honour of all nations will be brought into it” (Rev 21:26). What a wonderful picture we can draw from this psalm of all nations approaching Zion with praise and worship for the God of all nations. Today, as we come to have a relationship with God through Jesus, we too begin this march. May the world hear the sound of the saints as we sing “Hallelujah” and “Amen”. Let us never stop praising God as we experience all the glorious things he offers us in our eternal dwelling with him.
Prayer: Holy Lord, our citizenship is in heaven.. we are your children.. open our eyes to the beauty of your city that we may live as faithful citizens and live in ways that draw others to your heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
SONG: Sound of the Saints
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.