Established by God (7)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 87.1-4
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!
“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.’ ”
Sing Psalm 87.1-4
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Upon the holy mountains rest the footings of the Lord,
Who loves of Israel’s flock the best the keepers of His Word.
For glorious things are spoken of the City of our God;
the nations know His matchless love wher’er His feet have trod.
Read Psalm 87; meditate on verses 5 and 6.
1. What is the LORD’s disposition toward His holy City?
2. How do the inhabitants of His City respond to Him?
Psalms 47 and 87 have much in common. They both focus on God and His work on behalf of His people. Each describes the gathering or assembling of God’s people to Him, and each includes nations beyond Israel. In each psalm the people rejoice to be assembled to God as His people. The major difference is that Psalm 47 seems to have a heavenly setting while the setting for Psalm 87 is earthly.
The two psalms together remind us that the realization of God’s Kingdom and the full ingathering of His people is a “now-but-not-yet” proposition. Already saints are gathered to the Lord, worshiping Him in heaven. At the same time, new believers are being gathered to God as He calls the roll of those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and conveys them into His Kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ (Col. 1.13, 14).
We can draw some important lessons and conclusions from these two psalms. First, God’s grace will not fail to gather into His holy City all those for whom Jesus died and rose again. As we believe in Him, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God and planted on the eternal foundations of His holiness (Eph. 1.13, 14; Ps. 87.1). Nothing can dislodge us from our new home in the dwelling place of God. This is what we have been created for, both in this life and in the life to come.
Next, as citizens of Zion, our focus and orientation in life change. We cease being so full of love for ourselves and begin to know true, increasing, and joyful love for God, Who has created, redeemed, saved, and incorporated us into His City (Ps. 87.7).
Finally, we realize that not all the names of those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have been registered. More people from every nation and culture have yet to believe in Jesus and begin the journey of everlasting life to eternal glory (Ps. 84). Our duty, as citizens and ambassadors of Zion, is to follow Jesus in seeking the lost (Lk. 19.11), to declare the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom, and to call them to join us in repentance and faith in Him.
And when all our springs of joy are in Him, and He is the focus of all we do, talking to others about Him will flow like living water to refresh and renew.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“And the Most High Himself shall establish her…” (Ps. 87.5).
The sons of Korah go to great lengths to assure us of Who exactly is establishing us.
They didn’t say God or the LORD; they didn’t even say the Most High.
But they took pains to tell us that it is the Most High Himself.
And this Most High Himself establishes, records, and registers those who are His.
How very incredible that is. How encouraged and enthralled we should be.
Because nowadays it is hard to get a live person to answer the phone without having to press 1, then wait, maybe get disconnected, then press another number, just in case that might work, all the while plaintively saying, “representative please”. And these are just people. But amazingly, there is none of that with God. He is always there. The Most High Himself. Ready to establish, answer, and help us.
“But the Lord” (the Most High Himself) “is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3.3). “But may the God of all grace,” (the Most High Himself) “who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Pet. 5.10).
We must never forget that God, the Most High Himself, “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
And because we understand that we have been established, recorded, and registered, we respond with thanks and appreciation, “To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 25).
Rejoicing. Established by the Most High Himself.
1. God has established you with Himself as a citizen of Zion. How should you respond to this?
2. As citizens, we who believe in Jesus are also ambassadors of that great City. What does this require of us?
3. How should Christians encourage one another in their citizenship in God’s holy City?
The church of Christ is more glorious and excellent than the nations of the earth. In the records of heaven, the meanest of those who are born again stand registered. When God renders to every man according to his works, he shall observe who enjoyed the privileges of his sanctuary. To them much was given, and of them much will be required. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 87.4-7
Closing Prayer: Psalm 87.4-7
Jesus is building His Church and advancing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Pray that He will use you today for the cause of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18).
Sing Psalm 87.4-7
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
From south and north, from east and west they come, called by His grace;
thus Zion stands, full strong and blessed, before the Savior’s face.
The Lord will count and tally all in Jesus born again;
then let them sing, who on Him call, “We joy in God, Amen!”
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.