Read: Psalm 87:1; Isaiah 2:2, 54:10; Psalm 24:2; Matthew 7:24 – 27; 16:18;
1 Corinthians 3:10 -12
Psalm 87, which celebrates the glories of the earthly Jerusalem, is also a prophetic view of the spiritual Jerusalem, the church of Jesus Christ. In contrast to the “world” which is founded upon the seas, and the cities of the plain, like Sodom and Babylon, Jerusalem was built on the eternal hills, founded on the solid rock.
Think About It: What are some examples of worldly foundations today? On what sorts of foundations do unbelievers build their lives? What is the importance of a firm foundation? What is the foundation of my life?
Prayer: Thank God for providing a firm foundation for my life.
Read: Psalm 87:2; Hebrews 10:24 – 25; Matthew 18:19 – 20
Psalm 87:2 asserts that the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Since Zion (Jerusalem) was the site of corporate worship, this verse is usually interpreted to mean that while God is honored by individual worship and by the prayers offered up in homes by families, He prefers above all the corporate worship of His people. Psalm 87:2 refutes those who claim there is no need to attend church because they can worship God on their own. God loves individual worship, but He prefers above all the corporate worship of His people. We should not fail to offer Him what He says He prefers.
Think About It: What are the inherent benefits, for the worshiper, of corporate worship? Am I faithful, and enthusiastic, in my participation in corporate worship?
Prayer: Commitment to private and corporate worship.
Read: Psalm 87:3; Psalm 48:2; 2 Timothy 2:20; Matthew 13:1; 16:18; Revelation 21
Glorious things were spoken of Jerusalem, especially in the days of Hezekiah (when Psalm 87 is supposed by many to have been written) after the miraculous defeat of Sennacherib. The situation was analogous to the end of a long unbeaten streak in today’s sports world– a powerhouse team (the Assyrians) humbled by an unranked team (the Jews). Much more glorious than earthly Jerusalem is the church, even in her current state, with all her failings, and more glorious still in her future, glorified state.
Think About It: How do I talk about the church? Do I reflect her glories, or her failings? What are some good things that can be said about the church in general today? What good things can I say about the congregation to which I belong?
Prayer: Praise God for what He is doing through the church.
Read: Psalm 87:4; Ephesians 2:11 – 22; Acts 2:5 – 8
Psalm 87:4 is usually interpreted as a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles to faith in God. Two great rival nations, superpowers of the ancient world, Rahab (symbolic of Egypt) and Babylon, are mentioned as being converted. Philistia will be reconciled, in spite of ancient animosities; Tyre will be saved, in spite of the distractions of materialism and commerce; Ethiopia will be redeemed, in spite of its remoteness. The sense of the Hebrew, difficult to reflect in translation, is that all these nations will be reckoned as born into Zion, and therefore as being part of God’s people.
Think About It: How has this prophecy found fulfillment over the centuries?
Prayer: Thank God that I have been included in His plan of salvation.
Read: Psalm 87:5; Ephesians 1:3 – 14; Psalm 116:15; Isaiah 43:3, 4; John 14:1 – 6
“This man was born in her.” The Hebrew term used for “man” is the one reserved for persons of eminence, excellence, and honor. As this verse is interpreted prophetically to apply to the church, it highlights the truth that everyone born again into the church of Jesus Christ is precious in God’s sight.
Think About It: How does God demonstrate that each soul is precious in His sight?
Prayer: Thank God that I am precious in His sight.
Read: Psalm 87:6; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5, 21:27
“The Lord shall count, when He writes up the people.” The Lord has written the names of those He saves in the book of life. The fact that the Lord tallies us up in His book provides assurance of salvation. None shall be lost to whom the Lord has ordained life. The individual tally the Lord makes indicates that while sinfulness is a condition of all humanity, salvation is an individual matter.
Think About It: How can I be sure my name is written in the Book of Life?
Prayer: Thank God for assurance of salvation.
Read: Psalm 87:7; Psalm 36:9; Jeremiah 2:13; John 4:13 – 14; Acts 4:12
In Psalm 87:7 the psalmist envisioned a musical celebration in Jerusalem. As a prophetic picture, this verse foresees the eternal praise of the church for Christ (Ephesians 3:21). The last phrase of the psalm is helpfully translated in the New American Standard as “all my springs of joy are in you.” The phrase refers to the “living water” of salvation which is found only in Christ; there is no other name by which we must be saved.
Think About It: What might be some examples of “empty cisterns” that people hew out to provide salvation for themselves? Is Christ my source of joy?
Prayer: Praise God that there is joy in Jesus, joy in His church.