Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fountains and People Groups

(Psalm 87:1-7 NIV)
(1) Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. A song. He has set his foundation on the holy mountain;
(2) the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
(3) Glorious things are said of you, O city of God: Selah
(4) "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.'"
(5) Indeed, of Zion it will be said, "This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her."
(6) The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: "This one was born in Zion." Selah
(7) As they make music they will sing, "All my fountains are in you."

Every year when I read through Psalms, this one sneaks up on me.

David and the other psalmists love to recall God's faithfulness to Israel, and so many of the Psalms in essence form a worship history of that nation. Other Psalms are forward-looking, Messianic in nature, looking forward to a perfect king who will reign in righteousness and justice. Many are very personal, reminding the author and us that God cares about the details of our lives as well, letting us know that our immediate needs are not lost in the midst of His big-picture purposes.

And then there is Psalm 87.

In Psalm 87 we learn that God has a special book. We often learn early in our walk that he has the "Lamb's book of life" recording the names of every individual who trusts in Jesus for salvation, and books recording the deeds every person has committed, whether good or bad. But the sons of Korah describe another book: "the register of the peoples."  "Peoples" here is a word that is used to refer to different tribes, people with the same kinsmen or family members, or other similar features. We might say, "people groups".

Think abou that. God keeps a book in which He registers those people groups who are "born in Zion" - those who come to know Him for who He truly is. Those who are reborn. Those who know Him. The sons of Korah even list some specific "people groups" outside of Israel whom God will record in his book when specific individuals from that group come to Him. The individual's name goes in the Lamb's Book of Life, and his or her people group is recorded in the Register of the Peoples.

Matthew 24:14 records Jesus saying "And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come." Again, "nations" is a word that refers not to political entities but to people groups - ethne,from which we get our word ethnic. Jesus says He won't be coming back until all people groups hear the Good News. Why? Revelation 7:9 tells us:

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.

He will have some from every single people group around the throne. They will be worshipping. As Psalm 87:7 records, they will know Him as the source of all their fountains. The King who is the Fountain will be their focus - and ours. It will happen because he is faithful to His Word. And every sacrifice you are making today, every bit of struggle and every late night prayer, everything you have given up for the sake of the Kingdom, will pale in comparison. It will be worth it.

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