Established in Zion

“They will be made to remember me: 

Rahab and Babel to know me;

Behold, Philistia and Tyre along with Cush.

‘This one was born there.’

And of Zion, it was said of him, 

This man was born in her.

The Most High himself will establish her.”

(Psalm 87:4-5)

As are many of the Psalms, this psalm is deeply evangelistic, anticipating the going out of the Gospel that is formally commissioned by Christ, though is found throughout the Old Testament as well. Even as far back as God’s covenant with Abraham there is a promise that all of the nations will find their blessing in him and in his seed (Genesis 12:2-3). Here we see much the same spirit, the psalmist looks out to the nations surrounding Israel and essentially says of them, though people from the nations will have a birthplace in Cush and Philistia, etc… they will be made to identify with Zion, the eternal city of God — a physical birth in the nations, but a spiritual rebirth by God, building his church.

Notice how these verses begin as well. The psalmist writes: “they will be made to remember me.” This is the Hiphil form of the verb rkz (zakar — “to remember” or “to speak of”). The Hiphil form makes it causative, thus we find God bringing about this remembering, this thinking of the things of God himself. How often we flirt with the idea that we choose God when the testimony of Scripture is consistently that He chooses us…and we do not deserve that choosing. Yet, I wonder whether we who are chosen make enough of God’s name…remembering Him and remembering His expectations for our life.

The last words of these verses are also of the utmost importance to us. Who establishes Zion and her people? God — the Most High himself. Were it any other, then one’s citizenship in the heavenly Zion would be untenable on a good day. Sin is such that it pervades the totality of our being and all of our actions. What a lot that we are, for we can only ever act righteously if God himself (through his Spirit) is directing our actions! Woe to us if we are apart from Christ! Yet, praise be to God that he does direct our actions and that he does hold us securely in his hand so that none may fall out! And in light of that great assurance, the Spirit testifies with our spirits that we are Sons (and Daughters) of God. How can we ever show our gratefulness adequately!

Friends, our problem is not that we are not grateful. Our problem (I believe) is twofold. First, we often do not meditate deeply enough on the horrific nature of our sins and thus do not appreciate grace as greatly as we ought. Second, we get so busy with the cares of this world that we neglect the care of our eternal souls and do not express our gratefulness as we ought. Sadly, many Christians are more like Cain, offering leftovers as our sacrifice to God, rather than being like Abel, offering the best. And thus, sin crouches at our door as well, seeking to take dominion over us. Let that not happen and let our song of joy be that we are established (eternally) in Zion.

2 Comments

  1. Dr. John

    Yes, lately I’ve been reflecting on how reformed types hold so dearly to God’s sovereignty in election that they consider little to nothing their awakened choosing of Christ, and the exhortations to make our calling (awakening) sure in conscious choices to keep our mind on things above, study, read, care for others, conform to His image… and the like.

    Like

    1. preacherwin

      John, just like everything else, there is a tension that must be kept in balance, though it is easy to become lopsided…that tension between the absolute sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. As one of those “reformed types” you mention, the danger is always to make sure I do not diminish the Biblical call to responsibility and fall into a form of absolute determinism, which is more akin to fatalism than anything else. For those on the other side of the aisle, those brothers, for example, in the Wesleyan strains of church history, the danger is to not make too much of human responsibility, thus reducing God to a mere player in the realm of history and leading one into Open Theism and Process Theology. Both extremes are outside of the Biblical testimony. Thanks for the good words.

      win

      Liked by 1 person

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