"On the holy mount stands the city he founded."
Psalm 87 turns our mind to the city of God. It is a psalm that stirs great rejoicing from those who know the LORD, the One True God. Verses 1-3 describe the city as one founded by the LORD. A city He loves more than any other. The city in which He receives the glory, praise, and honor due unto Him. We know this city on the holy mountain is unique because of Jesus' statement in John 4:21-24: "The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father...The hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him."
The residents of this city will be those who know Him. Just as Jesus says in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father." The residents of this city will have an intimate relationship with the Founder. This city will be very different from the cities of today where the citizens rarely know the leaders. Even though today's officials act in the name of the people, the leaders do not actually know very many of those they represent.
We should take notice from where the residents come. Even though verses five and six say they were born in the city (which they were with a new birth), verse four describes those who know God as coming from varied places. The interesting thing about the locations from which they come is that every place mentioned in this verse is described in the Old Testament as enemies of God's people at one time or another. Rahab represents Egypt (Isaiah 30:7), who at one time tried to annihilate God's chosen people (Exodus 1:16). Babylon destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and killed or took into captivity almost all of the people of Judah. Philistia and Tyre conspired with the surrounding nations to destroy Israel (Psalm 83:4-8). Those God chose to be born in His city, were selected to be His treasured possession out of all the people on the earth. These will be the people ransomed by the blood of Jesus for God His Father from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).
Verse seven describes the city of God as a place of celebration because the source of life comes from this city. Isaiah 12:3 describes this as where the citizens "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Revelation 7:17 says, "For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Do you often contemplate Zion? My study of this Psalm inevitably leads me to Hebrews 11:10-20, which describes a group of people who were looking for a city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Verses 13-16 struck me by the description of their faith. Verse 13 says they died in faith which is followed by a description of their faith. These people agreed with the fact that where they were was not their home. They were strangers and exiles on the earth (1 Peter 1:1). They desired a better country, a heavenly one. Due to that fact, God was not ashamed to be called their God because He had promised and prepared for them the city described in Psalm 87.
It appears a primary component of their faith was living on earth looking for Zion. Is your faith exhibited in this manner?
LORD God, Founder, Designer, and Builder of the city in which I was born, I praise Your holy Name. Forgive me for putting down so many roots in this world. Holy Spirit, stir within me the kindred faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. I, too, want God not to be ashamed to be called my God. Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, please lead me to those promised springs of living water. Please make me thirsty for only what You can satiate.