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God’s Word for You

Psalm 87:6-7 All my fountains

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, January 4, 2019

6 The LORD will write in the register of the peoples:
  “This one was born in Zion.”    Selah

The one who writes our names in heaven is the LORD God himself, and for this we praise him in all humility. The Sons of Korah want us to dwell on this and ponder it, and they accomplish this with selah, a word that we are pretty certain means an interlude of some kind in the music of the Psalm.

What is “the register of the peoples” (Greek, γραφῇ λαῶν)? It is the “book of life,” the list in God’s heart of all who have faith in him. It is not a physical book with pages and binding, for books deteriorate over time. It is not a computer file, for files become corrupted and can be more easily lost than any solid book. It is not carved in stone, for even stone is subject to wear and weather and destruction. The book of life, the register of the peoples, is the divine list of all our names, all who have faith in Christ, recorded baptism by baptism, profession of faith by profession of faith, moment of trust by moment of trust, and even death by death. The names of Adam and Eve are first, and when you look into the eyes of Jesus on the day of the resurrection you will see that your name is written there too, in the smiling eyes of your welcoming Savior. But between now and then, you can still be certain of your own place there because you trust in Jesus your Savior, and “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

David prayed that God would blot out of the book of life all his haters, those who opposed God’s word and God’s plan, and he prophesied that some of them would even offer Christ gall mixed with vinegar during his torment on the cross (Psalm 69:21,28).

Paul praises his co-workers and all who share in the ministry of the gospel of forgiveness and proclaims: “Their names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3).

Finally, there are six references to the book of life in Revelation. The book of life will be opened on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:12). There are those who are saved, with their names written there in God’s heart (Revelation 3:5, 21:27) and those who are blotted out or were never there at all, those who will be forever damned (Revelation 13:8, 17:8, 20:15).

Praise God that your name is there. The one who was born in Zion is you.

7 There will be singing and dancing!
  All my fountains are in you.

The first line of this verse is not easy to translate. It begins with two participles: Singing (or “singers”) and dancing (or “dancers”). Then there is the phrase, “All my fountains are in you.” That’s it. The NIV’s translation, “As they make music they will sing” is a fine attempt. I have taken the participles as the objects of an understood impersonal verb, “There will be.” Either way, we see that there will be singing and dancing in heaven for all eternity. The singing is well-attested throughout the many glimpses of heaven in the Bible, such as the great chorus: “In a loud voice they sang, ‘Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing’” (Revelation 5:12, KJV). There are few thrills greater than to stand in a vast chorus while singing those words with G.F. Handel’s music. But God also promises dancing in eternity: “You will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful” (Jeremiah 31:4). I promise my wife that my dancing will be better in eternity than it is here, and I will do it less reluctantly.

The fountains in heaven are all “in you,” in the Lord Jesus himself, who is the source of the Living Water. “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). And the Bible warns that there is no other source but Christ. God said, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Any religion that does not cling to Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation “cannot hold water.” They are empty, useless, and give no help at all.

But Christ gives life. “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name” (Zechariah 14:8-9). Everything we need for faith comes from Christ, and everything we will ever need in eternity will come from Christ. That’s what we mean when we dance and sing, “All my fountains are in you.”

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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