Do me a favor and please read Psalm 87.
Our psalm today is a short and somewhat obscure one, but most commentators harken it back to psalm 86:9 in that some day ALL the nations will worship the Lord. So when we read, in verse 4, that God will one day “record Rahab and ______…..” it means that these people will be with God on his “register” (vs 6) as people that recognize him as the Lord. This is the hope we all have, this is the “mission” of the church and the message of evangelism and yet how much of this do we actually ingest?
How many times do we witness a believers proclaiming word of the reign of God over all people – and yet we then see that same person discriminate, hate, and spew vitriol among other people, nations, and cultures? How often do we see and read the truth in the Word of God and yet put caveats on that same truth being spoken to others? Since this psalm speaks of other nations, how often do we close OUR DOORS to people of other beliefs BECAUSE they believe differently? Does this psalm not declare that all people will be on God’s register and under his name? Did Christ not come to open God’s covenant to you and me and the rest of the Gentiles and non-Jews? Was not the Great Commission to be proclaimed to all children, all nations, all people, and all corners of the earth? Will not the New Jerusalem (New Earth) that comes down have gates open for all people? How often do we allow hate, anger, fear, and “self-preservation” to dictate love, hope, peace, and safety?
Or maybe we should keep it even simpler: When we think of others are our thoughts God’s thoughts? Are the hopes we have the hopes of God? Does our love match God’s love? If we answer “no” to any of those – then we need to spend a little more time with scripture. If we answer “no” to any one of those than we will be in for a huge surprise. While nobody expects you or I to be God nor have the complete and full heart of him we are called to still try.
Maybe this will help. The Lord declares that he will “register” and “record” these other tribes (Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush) – who were they? They were the enemies of the Israelites. Rahab…also known as the Egyptians. Babylon? Philistia? Tyre? Cush? All enemies that the Israelites consistently battled against and had loved ones killed by. And what does the psalmist declare? That even these people, these “enemies”, will speak of the splendor of God. That even these non-covenantal people of God will be with God, enjoy his presence, and drink in his love.
We need to remember that God’s love is bigger than you and that God declares in one simple breath that all things are his. His world, his creation, his work, his grace, and his redemption by his Son. You and I need to move past any and all issues we have with other people and embrace the simple hope of Christ. Embrace the simple love of God. Drink in the covenant of the blood of Christ that was poured out for all who declare his name. Oh, and remember…it’s not about you – it’s about God. It’s about God’s story of redemption, God’s story of love, God’s story of Christ and his opening the gates and inviting his people in. The beauty of the New Jerusalem is that we will rejoice with people of all nations, tribes, tongues, colors, and cultures.
– Pastor Kelly