I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me—
also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia.
They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!
Regarding Jerusalem it will be said,
“Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.”
And the Most High will personally bless this city.
When the Lord registers the nations, he will say,
“They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.” Psalm 87:4-6
The quote above from the Psalms of David is one of the most surprising I’ve come across in scripture in a long time. Talk about inclusion! God is counting Egypt, Babylon, Philistia and Tyre among those who know Him? And He is going to register their citizens as citizens of Jerusalem? Imagine David being inspired by God to write this? Can’t you imagine him saying, “Are you sure, Lord? Did someone slip something into your holy water last Sabbath?” David’s been chasing and been chased by Philistines all his career as a warrior/king, and now he’s writing that the Lord is going to make them all citizens of Jerusalem? Put in the names of your most hated enemies and then count them among those who know God and it will have the same effect.
What could this mean, and what is the significance of this for us today?
God welcomes anyone who seeks Him from anywhere. Believers will come from every nation on earth, so don’t leave anyone out.
God’s plan goes through His chosen people, the Jews, and outward to the whole world. Grace turned outward has always been God’s plan of salvation for the world. God wants everyone to be saved. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
God is not against any people or people group. We are to leave no one outside the reach of God’s grace. As believers and part of God’s forever family, we are to welcome all and not change our minds when we find out who shows up. It’s the Pharisees who stand at the door of the kingdom and keep certain people out; God’s invitation went out to everyone. If you invite everyone, you can’t change your mind when everyone starts coming.
Keep an open mind when it comes to God’s grace. You never know what sort of scoundrels He’s going to make citizens of His holy city. And you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by being unwelcoming to any of God’s guests.