Where are your fountains?

A stronghold overtaken - Fifth in a series

Were you born in Zion? Were you born to Christian parents and taught from infancy that God loves you and Jesus Christ is Lord? If so, you have received an immense advantage. You were born in Zion!

I was baptized as an infant and later taught that one should only be baptized once. Many Christians believe one should only be baptized after a conscious decision to follow Christ. Each side has good points, but remarking here on denominational differences is not the point.

Some are born in Zion in later life. We could say the thief on the cross who hung alongside Jesus was born there that day. (Luke 23:43) I would like to see some friends born there. I wish more people in our ravaged culture and nation would be.

There is a physical birth and also a spiritual birth, for whosoever believes, (John 3:16) and we receive the Holy Spirit without whom we cannot grow up in Christ. But does anyone ever receive Him fully? That is our greatest need.

Psalm 87 celebrates being born in Zion: And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; for the Most High himself will establish her. The LORD records as he registers the peoples, "This one was born there." (Ps 87:5)

This Psalm speaks of outsiders being born in Zion, even people from Babylon and even Philistines, the heritage of Delilah. (Ps 87:4) How or when this will occur only God knows, but assuredly, we from every nation, tribe, people and language, will be united in a new life. (Rev 5:9; 7:9)

God knows the ones who belong to him (2Tim 2:19) and their names are written in his book (Luke 10:20), a registration that supercedes any baptism or denominational confirmation.

For the Zionist — in the Christian sense of the word, there is no place like home. "All my fountains are in thee." (Ps 87:7)

Have you been delayed on your way to Zion?

A stronghold overtaken - Fourth in a series

David determined that the ark of the covenant should be in Zion. The ark contained the book of the law. (Deut 31:25, 26) Moreover, it was Israel's special treasure.

He shared this desire with his people, consulting with every leader and gathering all Israel together. (1 Ch 13:1-5) And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. (1 Ch 13:3)

David knew the importance of the ark, that it had traveled through the wilderness with God's people: when the ark set forward, Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel. (Num 10:35, 36) A cloud covered the tabernacle that sheltered the ark, And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys. (Ex 40:36).

But David was a man of action. From a shepherd guarding his flock from lions and bears to a troop in a succession of battlefields, he was a warrior. Did he have opportunity to read the book of the law which was the more detailed testimony given to Moses relating all the regulations for the people of God?

Perhaps he only knew about it, but not exactly what was in it. He knew the ark had preceeded the Israelites as they crossed over the Jordan River into their promised land, and the waters had parted for the Levites who carried it. It had been in the procession around Jericho, assisting to win the battle, but he did not know the rules for how it was to be carried.

With the best of intentions, he gathered 30,000 "chosen men of Israel" (2 Sam 6:1) and with them, went to Kirjathjearim where it had been taken in the days of Samuel, after the Philistines returned it.

How long had it been there? The Bible does not make this clear, but it was many decades, and David was not yet born when it was removed from the tabernacle at Shiloh; the ark had not been in a proper place of worship for a very long time.

As the ark was carried along to Zion on a cart, the oxen shook it and a man put his hand on it to steady it, and was struck dead by God. This spoiled David's plans, and the goal to bring the ark to Zion was delayed for a time.

Indeed, an aspect of the ark's design were the rings of gold on its four corners which held the staves (poles) overlaid with gold, so that the Levites could carry it without touching it. After David studied to learn this, he pursued the goal a second time, and succeeded.

Like David, in our efforts to please the Lord we may take steps forward and then backward. Yet, if we are open to correction, we will make progress on our way to Zion, the beautiful city of God.

Set your sights on obedience

A stronghold overtaken - Third in a series

We have asked: Why did David take Goliath’s head to Jerusalem? The short answer is: it belonged where God's victories would be proclaimed— in Zion.

Next, David would bring the ark there. The place of government should have the law which was contained in the ark. And the ark meant so much more.

The ark of the covenant had been captured by the Philistines and later returned, but not to Shiloh, for the Lord was seeking out a new residence. Eventually, it was brought to Kirjathjearim in Judah where it remained for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:2), and was also there throughout Samuel's and Saul's lifetimes.

During those years David was anointed King of Israel and warred against Saul's men and the Canaanite nations. He set his sights on capturing Zion, the "sunny mountain" fortress occupied by the Jebusites.

As a Judean (from the tribe of Judah), David had tribal memory of his family's inheritance of Jerusalem. Caleb, who, with Joshua, had searched and spied on Canaan and insisted that the Israelites could possess it, was 85 when he reminded Joshua that Moses had sworn then, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. (Jos 14:9)

Caleb lived to see his boundaries reflect his faith in God's promises, except for one city in his territory. Misery of miseries, As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day. (Jos 15:63)

So David knew what to do. The command was to take ALL of the land. (Num 33:52-55; Deut 20:17). He would complete the conquest; taking the head of Goliath there confirmed his intention. And as we have noted, David would bring the ark of the covenant there, making it the city of God.

God speaks through this story to the Christian: It is not God's plan for our lives to give place to the enemy. We must drive out the Jebusites, the deriding, mocking jeers that undermine our courage and confidence.

Set your foot down; be firm in your intentions, wholly devoted, zealous (2Ch 16:9), not lukewarm and half-hearted (Rev 3:16).

Build upon your victories. Your instructions are clear.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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