In the midst of psalms seeking God’s protection from, or revenge upon, enemies stands Psalm 87 celebrating God’s song of joy as he records the peoples of the earth, including major enemy nations and sometime allies, unbelievers everyone, as having been born in Jerusalem.
What do you suppose inspired the poet to write these words of praise for God’s welcoming embrace even of Israel’s most feared enemies? Footnotes in one of my bibles are sure that only individual converts are included in the welcome, but that requires the words of the psalm to be stretched beyond their limits.
In my imagination I see the writer rushing his new offering to the chief temple musician, all excited that he has gained a new insight into what might be included in the fullness of God’s abounding and steadfast love for the whole of his creation. And I imagine the chief musician saying, “What, are you crazy? What gives you the idea that the Taliban, Iranis, Illegal Mexicans and Hugo whathisname could possibly be included in God’s household, much less honorary citizens of our beloved capital city? Get outta here and take that drivel with you!”
What really amazes me is that it survived to be included in the canon of psalms.
On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God.
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia—
“This one was born there,” they say.
And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in it”;
for the Most High himself will establish it.
The LORD records, as he registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.”
Singers and dancers alike say,
“All my springs are in you.”