Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Born in Zion

One of the Sons of Korah sang a song now recorded for its powerful and shocking refrain, "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,"'" (Ps 87:3-4).

Here is a beautiful and remarkable prophecy of God's future adoption of children from all nations, including those historically opposed to God and God's people like Babylon, Philistia and Cush (Egypt). Imagine the shock of an Israelite hearing God say He would rewrite the birth certificate of a Babylonian as if he were "born in Zion," the city of God. The redone birth certificate symbolizes the new life in Jesus Christ through faith for the forgiveness of sins. Paul explained it this way, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor 5:17). The shock of "anyone" in Paul's day was that the previously accepted barriers of foreign pagans had been broken down and torn in two by the shed blood of Christ. Anyone - Jewish, Samaritan, Greek, Roman, or Barbarian - could receive forgiveness for their sin through faith in Christ Jesus, and have their eternal birth certificates signed that they were born again in the City of God. Knowing that at the time my ancestors were on a far away island to the west, among the "barbarians", I praise God that His grace extended over mountains and across cultures. It is by His Sovereign Grace that I know my heavenly birth certificate says by my name, "This one was born in Zion."

Give Me an Undivided Heart

In Psalm 86:11, David prayed, "Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

God made all things and owns all things. As owner, He has full rights to rule over everything and everyone and to evaluate the actions of all of the creatures He owns (including me). His rule and evaluation extend both deep and wide. In width over all existence. In depth over my actions, my words, my thoughts, and even my nature. David, rather than rebelling against God's control of his own heart, relished the thought and asked that the Sovereign Lord gracious grant him an undivided heart so that he might fear God alone and not men. Naturally, no man from his sinful heart chooses God. It takes God's mighty and tender hand to soften our naturally stony hearts, so that we will want to trust and follow him. That is why Jesus said to Nicodemus "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again," (John 3:3). Instead of objecting against God's rightful role as King and Judge, we ought to come humbly to our good and gracious King, asking to be granted a heart to know and love Him fully. God through your indwelling Holy Spirit illuminate in my mind your words, reveal my false thinking, and convict me to repent. In my heart make your words precious to me, reveal my sinful desires, and convict me to repent. Take hold of my will until I submit to you wholly and joyfully. I love you Lord.