Born in Zion
Some countries still give rights of citizenship to anyone born within their territory.
For example, if you are born in Canada—even in Canadian airspace or in territorial waters, and even if your parents aren’t Canadians—you have the right to automatic citizenship.
And where you’re born can be a great privilege and opportunity, as you get to enjoy that country’s peace, prosperity, and freedom.
We see something like this in Psalm 87. It’s about Zion, the city which was the special object of God’s love. Zion, or Jerusalem, was the royal city of the LORD where he had his earthly throne at the temple and where he poured out blessing on his people.
Now, there are many times in the psalms when we hear about the LORD’s enemies hating Zion and trying to destroy it. Just think of Psalm 79, about how the nations reduced Jerusalem to rubble and poured out her citizens’ blood like water.
This makes Psalm 87 so amazing, for instead of attacking Zion, the nations are now said to belong to Zion.
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon,
says the LORD in verse 4. Rahab was another name for Egypt, and together with Babylon these were two of the superpowers of the ancient world.
What’s more, they were Israel’s sworn enemies. Both had enslaved God’s people for a time. Yet this psalm prophesies a remarkable day when they will know the LORD, confessing him as God and Saviour.
The psalm continues: “Philistia and Tyre, with Cush—this one was born there” (v. 4), born in Zion. These were three more nations who had long tormented Israel, and now they are said to be born in God’s holy city.
And if they’re born there, it means they are given all the rights and benefits of belonging to God’s people. They belong, just as much as the children of Abraham. To emphasize how certain this, God says that he has recorded all of them on his register (v. 6), counted among God’s people by God himself!
What would have been impossible for Israel to understand has now come to pass. Jesus Christ came to take away the sins of the world, and he tells his church to announce this wondrous gospel to all nations without discrimination.
A powerful first instance of this was at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit made it possible for people from many different countries to hear the gospel in their own language. There is no longer any distinction, for now people from all nations “are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). These all are born in Zion!
This is an immense privilege for us who are Gentiles by birth. Take time today to praise God for including you in his covenant people! Take time to thank him for his Holy Spirit, who makes it possible for you to be saved by faith in Christ.
And think about how you can spread this gospel to all nations, even to your neighbour, whether they were born in India or Lebanon or Uganda or Canada.
For it may well be God’s will that they too, are born in Zion, and are citizens of Christ’s glorious kingdom.