Although it’s short, Psalm 87 nevertheless has a way of taking my breath away. Listen:
Glorious things are said of you, city of God:
—–“I will record Rahab and Babylon
—–among those who acknowledge me –
———-Philistia, too, and Tyre, along with Cush –
—–and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”
The name Rahab here is a poetic name for Egypt, which, when you add that to the other countries listed, means that the psalmist is referring to Israel’s enemies as ones who will be called “born in Zion!” The Egyptians enslaved Israel and God warned them never to return. In the time of Daniel, The Babylonians scooped up Judah and carried God’s people away in exile. The Philistines repeatedly proved themselves to be a pain in the neck for Israel (think, for one example, of David vs. Goliath).
Yet one day, promises the psalmist, these enemies will be counted as fellow citizens in Zion, God’s holy city! How surprising! How scandalous! And how humbling to realize that God is calling a lot of people to Himself that are not at all like me! Furthermore, in ways I cannot (yet) comprehend, God is at work in people who I’m tempted to think are the least likely candidates for His Kingdom.
God’s Kingdom is already and will continue to be filled with all sorts of people of different ethnicities, different languages, different customs, different views on things, different traditions. I’m challenged afresh never to write anyone off, even if their differences make me uncomfortable. In fact, their “difference” may be exactly what my corner of God’s Kingdom needs.
I wrote this for Trinity CRC’s “Grace Encounters” newsletter,
a publication of our Outreach Team. Graphic found via Google.