This majestic hymn has always been a family favorite. Beautiful tenor voice.
The lyrics are full of imagery and praise.
Charlene’s Source: youtube
This majestic hymn has always been a family favorite. Beautiful tenor voice.
The lyrics are full of imagery and praise.
Charlene’s Source: youtube
The LORD gave me Psalm 87 this morning. This is a Psalm that can be hard to decipher, so I looked for an inspired explanation of this Psalm. Isn’t it awesome how so much of GOD’s holiness can be found in so few words.
Be in Christ Jesus, Charlene
The Two Jerusalems
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 87
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.
Jesus said, “You must be born again”. (John 3:7)
(This is) a song with music, for the sons of *Korah.
v1 He built it on the mountains of *holiness.
v2 The *LORD loves the gates of Zion.
He loves them more than all the places where *Jacob lives.
v3 (People say) *wonderful things about you, city of God. *SELAH
v4 I will remember the people that I know, from Rahab and Babylon;
also from Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia.
I will remember that this man was born there.
v5 They will say in Zion, “A man … this man … was born there”.
So he … the *Most High … will build her up.
v6 The *LORD will write in his book (the name of) everyone that says,
“This man was born there”. *SELAH
v7 The singers and the *musicians (will say),
“All my *springs are in you”.
The Story of Psalm 87
This is an important psalm but we do not know who wrote it. It was for the sons of *Korah. This is probably the name of the *musicians in the *temple in Jerusalem. The *temple was the house of God that Solomon built. Solomon was the son of David. He was the third king of Israel.
The psalm is about Jerusalem. The psalm calls Jerusalem by the name Zion. Really, Zion was the name of the hill on which Solomon built the *temple. The *Jews thought that God lived on this hill. It was his home on earth. Because they thought that God was *holy (or very, very good) they thought that Zion was *holy also. So they called the hill of Zion a “mountain of *holiness”.
But the psalm is really the story of two Jerusalems! Verses 1-3 are about Jerusalem on earth, the capital city of the *Jews. Verses 4-6 are about another Jerusalem. We can see this very clearly in the translation from the *Greek Bible below. (The translation above is from the *Hebrew Bible.) 250 years before Jesus came to the earth, the *Jews translated their Bible into *Greek.
This meant that more people could understand it. In some places, the two Bibles are different. We do not know why. We do believe that both translations teach us what is true.
What Psalm 87 means
Verses 1-3 are about Jerusalem, the capital city of the *Jews. Verses 4-6 are about the *Church. The *Church is the City of God, the New Jerusalem. The person that wrote Psalm 87 did not know this. But God inspired them to write verses 4-6. “Inspired” means “gave them words to say”. The person that wrote the psalm thought that Jerusalem would become the most important city on earth. God knew that the NEW Jerusalem would be the most important city! But it would not be on earth, but in *heaven where God lives.
Verses 1 – 2: These verses are about the Jerusalem that is on earth. To give you help to understand this difficult psalm we have shown it like this:
He built it on the mountains of *holiness
the *LORD loves the gates of Zion
He loves them more than the places where *Jacob lives
To the left it is about the *LORD God; to the right it is about the Jerusalem on earth, the capital of Israel. The “mountains of *holiness” are the hills on which they built Jerusalem. They were *holy because they thought that God lived there. “The gates of Zion” means the whole city of Jerusalem. *Jacob is another name for Israel, and the land where the *Jews lived.
Verses 4 – 6: These verses are about the *Church. The person that wrote the psalm did not know about our *Church. He thought that people from all over the world were becoming *Jews. This was probably true. But the *New Testament of the Bible repeats Psalm 87:5 and says that it is about the *Church (Galatians 4:26). People come to it from all over the world: Rahab (Egypt), Babylon (Iraq), Philistia, Tyre (Lebanon) and Ethiopia (Sudan) were countries near Israel.
We think that God is speaking in verses 4-6. He says that everyone that is born in Jerusalem is in his book. What does “born in Jerusalem” mean? We believe that it means “born again”. This is another way of saying “becoming a Christian”. The name of every Christian is in God’s book. He will not forget any of them. They are all included in those that say, “this man was born there”. In verse 6, this means “I was born there”. Here is Psalm 87:5 in another translation. It is not from the *Hebrew Bible. It is from the *Greek Bible:
“A man will say, ‘Zion is my mother’. This man was born in her. So he … the *Most High … will build her up”.
It is the translation from the *Greek Bible that the *New Testament uses. In Galatians 4:26 Paul wrote, “the Jerusalem that is above … is our mother”. Remember, Jerusalem and Zion are the same place.
What does all this mean? It means that when we are born again (or become Christians) we are born in a place called Jerusalem. This is not the Jerusalem that is on earth. It is a Jerusalem that is in *heaven, where God lives. The people that live there are all the people that have become Christians. The Jerusalem that is in *heaven is made up of people, not buildings.
Verse 7: This verse is difficult to translate. It probably means one of:
· the singers and *musicians must use music that is called “All my *springs are in you”
· the singers and *musicians all say that their *springs are in Jerusalem (this means that Jerusalem gives them new life)
Something To Do
1. If you have a Bible, read Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 11:13-16, and Hebrews 12:22-24.
2. Ask God to put your name into his Book of Life!
Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.
church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.
covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.
Greek ~ a language.
heaven ~ the home of God.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.
holiness ~ something that is very good; in Psalm 87, a place where God is.
holy ~ very, very good; only God is really *holy, the land where he lives with his people is also *holy because he is there.
Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson).
Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.
Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Korah ~ look in the Introduction in Book 3 of the Psalms of David.
like ~ another word for “as”.
Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or “master”; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.
LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.
Most High ~ a name for God.
musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.
musicians ~ people that make music. They sing, or play *musical instruments.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].
SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.
springs ~ another word for “wells” (of water) in Psalm 87.
temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.
wonderful ~ great and surprising.
worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.
Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like “I am” or “always alive”.
© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
Visit our website: www.easyenglish.info
There are times in our lives when we must make a decision to either place GOD above all things, or to allow ourselves to be tempted to exalt ourselves above His authority. Each of these actions will yield results, but the results nor the rewards will be equals.
To illustrate this point, I will be using what I perceive as a correlation between King David and King Uzziah as we read about King David in 2 Samuel 6 and King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26. This correlation is founded in them both approaching the altar of the LORD, but receiving a different response based upon the LORD’s perception of their hearts. King David chose to do what was honorable before the LORD, so his offering was accepted, while King Uzziah chose to promote himself above the LORD, which resulted in rejection. They each received their own reward from a just GOD.
12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
King David had respect and reverent awe for the LORD GOD Almighty. He understood the importance of the Ark of the Covenant, and he gave offerings and sacrifice as they brought the Ark from the house of Obed-Edom. He danced and gave praise to the LORD as they journeyed and entered Jerusalem. King David had an humble heart, and even though he was despised by Michal, his wife, King David chose to honor GOD above all others.
King David consecrated a place of worship for the LORD and burned sacrificial and fellowship offerings unto the LORD after bringing the ark triumphantly into the City of David. He showed humbleness before the LORD as he blessed the people, and his reward was more prosperity. Again, because he danced before the LORD and acted clamorously foolish, and reaped the disrespect of Michal his wife –his humble heart had led him to do so. GOD blessed him mightily. Michal was given a barren womb because of her disrespect for GOD and for her husband. Sometimes we forget who controls the universe and who has the power to make changes in His creation.
1 “Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah. 2 He was the one who rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah after Amaziah rested with his ancestors.
3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.
6 He went to war against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod. He then rebuilt towns near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. 7 God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabs who lived in Gur Baal and against the Meunites. 8 The Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful.
9 Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate and at the angle of the wall, and he fortified them. 10 He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, because he had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain. He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil.
11 Uzziah had a well-trained army, ready to go out by divisions according to their numbers as mustered by Jeiel the secretary and Maaseiah the officer under the direction of Hananiah, one of the royal officials. 12 The total number of family leaders over the fighting men was 2,600. 13 Under their command was an army of 307,500 men trained for war, a powerful force to support the king against his enemies. 14 Uzziah provided shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and slingstones for the entire army. 15 In Jerusalem he made devices invented for use on the towers and on the corner defenses so that soldiers could shoot arrows and hurl large stones from the walls. His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.
16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
21 King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
22 The other events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23 Uzziah rested with his ancestors and was buried near them in a cemetery that belonged to the kings, for people said, “He had leprosy.” And Jotham his son succeeded him as king.”
King Uzziah went into the temple and attempted to burn incense upon the altar. Was this a bad thing? Yes, because his heart was filled with arrogance, not awe for the LORD GOD, and this was not his appointed task.
King Uzziah had reigned for many years, and he was blessed mightily by GOD in numerous ways. Where the dilemma came was in his inability to listen to the voice of humility, to the Holy Spirit. King Uzziah became puffed up in his own importance because of his prosperity. It is hard to hear GOD when you have no needs. There is less desire to seek GOD when nothing is amiss. It is a human trait, this inability to remain humble and contrite in our successful times, yet we do have the strength to overcome temptation provided by GOD’s Spirit.
When is it necessary to hunker down and look to GOD for deliverance? During our times of prosperity. Our eyes can be blinded and our ears stopped up, and our hearts can be hardened by prosperity. King Uzziah lost his kingdom due to arrogance. He was struck down with leprosy. Let us try to do better.
Always keep your spiritual guard up during the prosperous times. Remember that GOD gives and that He can take away.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.