July 18, 2006

Making Out New Birth Certificates

Psalm 87

"I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me ..." Psalm 87:4


A birth certificate is a small but important piece of paper. It tells everyone where you were born and entitles you to full rights as a citizen.

Psalm 87 is about birth certificates. With supernatural vision, the psalmist gets a glimpse of the future of God's people. Looking around ancient Jerusalem with its temple of the Lord on Mount Zion, the psalmist sees the surrounding peoples of Philistia and Tyre, Babylon and Cush--all coming to God's city! But these people are not invading; they are becoming citizens of God's kingdom.

The next scene pictures God seated in some kind of royal registry with books open before him. He is making out birth certificates for people of all nations, and each one says, "This one was born in Zion."

These documents testify to the new birth that comes to all who believe in Christ, the Savior. As Paul puts it, "[In Christ] you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household" (Ephesians 2:19). In Christ we have, amazingly, the full rights of any member of God's family.

The process of bringing in the nations is a birthing process. It's a struggle in which God chooses to include us. And since birth is both painful and glorious, we should not be surprised to find that pain and glory are part of the process as people come into God's kingdom.

Dear Father, we cannot express to you the privilege we feel to be included as part of your family. Help us to be open to brothers and sisters you are yet bringing in. Amen.

About the author — Tim Holwerda

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