“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
“The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.” – Psalm 87:5, 6
The eighty-seventh Psalm, from which our text is taken, is a song of praise to the Lord for His church. In Zechariah we read, “I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Here Jerusalem is the city of truth and Zion the holy mountain. Zion represents a state of love and those in whom love to the Lord reigns. So the Psalmist writes, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion,” and again, “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” It is not the material city and mountain that are here meant. Again, the angels of heaven were seen in vision by John on Mount Zion: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” The Father is the Lord as to His Divine love, and His name written on the forehead is His truth inscribed in the will. Zion was the highest part of Jerusalem; so our Psalm continues with the words, “The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” The gates of Zion are the truths which lead men to states of love. These are precious in the Lord’s sight, more than all the speculations of science or any other knowledge. For without the possession of heavenly love, no other grace is truly valuable. Love is the fulfilling of the law; it disposes the heart to believe and rejoice in the truth.
The Zion, then, whose gates the Lord loves, and of which it shall be said, when He counts up His people, “This man was born there,” is no material city, but a state of life. We naturally have an affection for the place where we were born, where our childhood days were spent. But as the Lord is no respecter of persons, He will certainly be no respecter of cities, or of any one place over another on His beautiful earth. The place of one’s natural birth does not confer any special benefit. A good man is a good man wherever he may have been born.