Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
We’re marching to Zion
Beautiful, beautiful Zion
We’re marching onward to Zion
The beautiful city of God!
I hear this chorus ring in my memory from childhood as I read our next psalm of praise and victory in knowing God and meeting Him on His terms.
The psalmist was not indulging in arrogant nationalism but only seeking to glorify the God of Israel and the blessings He bestows. The psalm must be read on two levels. It is a prophecy of the future kingdom, when all nations will come to Jerusalem to worship, and it is also a picture of the heavenly Zion where the children of God have their spiritual citizenship. When we come to know Christ and follow Him as Lord, our name goes in The Book of the heavenly Zion where God resides and where we will live forever with Him. Hallelujah!
We’re marching onward to Zion…the beautiful city of God!
Psalm 86, The Message
A Korah Psalm
1-3 He founded Zion on the Holy Mountain—
and oh, how God loves his home!
Loves it far better than all
the homes of Jacob put together!
everyone there is talking about you!
4 I name them off, those among whom I’m famous:
Egypt and Babylon,
even Tyre, along with Cush.
Word’s getting around; they point them out:
“This one was born again here!”
5 The word’s getting out on Zion:
“Men and women, right and left,
get born again in her!”
6 God registers their names in his book:
“This one, this one, and this one—
born again, right here.”
7 Singers and dancers give credit to Zion:
“All my springs are in you!”
THINK ABOUT IT…
The psalmist shares three wonderful truths about the city of Jerusalem. Comments by Warren Wiersbe help us to understand the full extent of the meaning and importance of Zion, “the city of God”.
1. The City Is Built by God (vv. 1-3).
David chose Jerusalem for his capital city (2 Sam. 5:6-10), and the Lord validated that choice by putting His temple there. The nation of Israel was to be separate from the other nations both politically (Num. 23:9) and geographically. That is why God called Jerusalem “my city” (Isa. 45:13) and “the Holy City” (Isa. 48:2; 52:1) and Zion “my holy mountain” (Isa. 11:9; 56:7; 57:13). It is “the joy of the whole earth … the city of the great King” (48:2).
It is His foundation from which He has built His great work of redemption (Isa. 14:32). “Salvation is of the Jews,” said Jesus (John 4:22); and were it not for Israel, the world would not have the knowledge of the true and living God, the inspired Scriptures, or the Savior. Jesus died and rose again outside the walls of Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended on the church meeting in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and it was from Jerusalem that the early Jewish believers scattered to carry the gospel to the nations.
*NOTE: We do not worship the place of God but The One and Only God of the place. (Just thought I would throw that in for clarity.) Too many people worship where they were saved, like church campgrounds or at “the little church in the woods”, instead of the God of salvation through Jesus, His Son. Be careful.
The phrase “the gates of Zion” refers to the city itself, a city God loves above all cities in the Holy Land. (See Deut. 7:6-9; 2 Chron. 6:5-6; Isa. 60:11-12; Zech. 1:14.) In Jerusalem was not only the temple of the true God, but also the throne of David, and it would be the Davidic line that would give us the Savior, Jesus Christ.
In the end times, Jerusalem will be a center of controversy and conflict, but the Lord will rescue His beloved city (Zech. 12:1–13:1). But the prophets have written some “glorious things” about the future Jerusalem, and the apostles have written even more glorious things about the heavenly Jerusalem!
2. The City Is Inhabited by His Children (vv. 4-6).
The Lord is described as a king taking a royal census and registering individual names (“this one … that one …”), but the remarkable thing is that these people are Gentiles and that God is making them His own children and citizens of His Holy City! Even more, the nations named are the avowed enemies of the Jews! The emphasis in all three verses is on birth, indicating that the people who enter the future glorious kingdom will experience a “new birth” and belong to the family of God.
The Old Testament prophets promised that believers from all the nations of the earth would be included in Messiah’s reign and so did the psalmists “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14 nkjv)
3. The City Enjoys His Abundant Blessings (v. 7).
As citizens of Zion and the children of God, the Jews and Gentiles not only live together, but they also sing together and play musical instruments as they rejoice in God’s blessings.
Why is Zion, Jerusalem, so cherished by the Jews? What future will Jerusalem and its inhabitants ultimately enjoy?
Why is the place where you were “born again” and decided to follow Jesus so important to you? Do you remember the people who pointed the way to Jesus for you? Who are they? Name them one by one…and thank God for them.
Jesus provides living water for His followers. Describe the satisfaction you have in Jesus, and contrast it with the thirst unbelievers experience. If not born again…to whom are we marching?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are indeed marching to Zion…to You. Thank you for saving us, making us whole, restoring the joy and peace Your salvation gives. Thank you for your plan that was created with your creation! Thank you for life eternal in the city of You! Keep me focused and on the right road to You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing…We’re Marching to Zion (by Isaac Watts, 1707)
Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.
We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.
The sorrows of the mind
Be banished from the place;
Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.
Let those refuse to sing,
Who never knew our God;
But children of the heav’nly King
May speak their joys abroad.
The men of grace have found
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow.
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heav’nly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high.