Even though we have lived away from our hometown for almost three decades, we still say “we are originally from Oklahoma”. We were born there, grew to adulthood, married and birthed three children in our hometown. Randy and I taught elementary school in our hometown before going into ministry. God led us to pastor the church we grew up in even though others advised against that at the time. Our mentor affirmed what God was doing in us in our hometown, however, and advised to stay for “such a time as this”, so we did. Then God led us to leave for ministry assignments elsewhere. So, we left our physical hometown.
There are things you miss from your hometown adventures. For us, it’s eating Braum’s ice cream in warmer weather. When you make visits back to your hometown, the first activities on the agenda are eating the foods you miss, going to places that bring pleasant memories or looking up former friends that grew up with you and remained in your hometown. Memories usually get better with age. (Smiling.)
God’s hometown on earth, the city of Jerusalem, is described by the psalmist as the place he loves to dwell for it is the place His people come to be reborn, recommitting their love for Him! But let’s take a closer look for understanding. The writer 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 (86:9; Isa. 2:1-5), and it is also a picture of the heavenly Zion where the children of God have their spiritual citizenship (Luke 10:20; Gal. 4:21-31; Phil. 3:20-21; Heb. 12:18-24). Old and New Covenants come together in this simple psalm of praise to God where all are saved from death by believing that He is who He says He is.
He is God and we are not. No one loves like our God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). When we believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to redeem us, we are reborn and adopted as God’s children to live in His “hometown” of heaven with Him forever!
GOING DEEPER STILL…
Warren Weirsbe, Commentator, helps to understand the connection between Zion and God’s eternal “hometown”.
“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.”
Jerusalem is God’s hometown on earth. 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!
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. Like Paul, they will be citizens by birth (Acts 22:25-29) and not by purchase. The phrase “them that know me” indicates more than an intellectual appreciation of the Lord. It describes a personal relationship with Him, like that of husband and wife (Gen. 4:1; 19:8; 1 Sam. 2:12; 3:7).
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. Be born again into the Kingdom of God. “Believe and you will be saved”…(Acts 16:31) Every person is invited to God’s hometown and claim it as their own!
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 87, The Message
A Korah Psalm
87 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!”
TRUTH: God’s loves his hometown but He loves His created even more! Believe, love God back, begin a seriously committed relationship with the God who loves us beyond human capabilities. Believe and God’s hometown is ours, too!
Proverb 27:19, The Message
“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”
WISDOM: “Hometown” is where the heart is.
We ponder the memories of our hometown and they cannot compare to residing in the hometown of your salvation and redemption. Thank you, Jesus, for the invitation to dwell in Your Presence, seek Your wisdom, and to live as a member of Your family forever. Thank you for hope, joy, and peace through good times and bad. Thank you for loving us the way you do. Thank you for helping us grow in our relationship with you as “joint heirs” in your forever hometown Kingdom. There is no one like You. Great are you Lord. Praise will forever be on my lips for I have been reborn into your hometown! Thank you, Lord. If home is where the heart is then I’m home with you.
In Jesus Name, Amen