Sunday Rest and Reflection: Jerusalem!
Greetings on this day of rest! The beauty of the Christian faith is the rest we have because of God’s grace through the finished work of Jesus Christ! We have been adopted into God’s family and made heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We have been declared righteous and have been justified in God’s sight. We can only rest in what Jesus Christ has provided and need not add another thing. In fact, we must be faithful to enter that rest by faith or we will miss out entirely!
As I reflected on the readings this week, I immediately thought of Zechariah’s final discourse on Jerusalem and the importance of this city in the plans and purposes of God. Jerusalem was known as the city of David, the beloved king of Israel, who took the city from the Jebusites. It was there that David made plans to build a house for God and purchased the threshing floor of Araunah for a place of sacrifice. (1st Chronicles 21:18-30) Solomon, David’s son, actually built the temple and Israel enjoyed a time of peace for 40 years during his tenure. (2nd Chronicles 7:1-3) As he dedicated the temple, the glory of the Lord filled the house so that the priests could not enter!
Several hundred years later, God’s people had slipped into idolatry and a shallow religion that brought about their captivity. The beautiful temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonian invaders and God’s people went into captivity. After 7o years, Daniel the prophet read the prophecy of Jeremiah and saw that the time was nearly over and began to pray and fast. (Jeremiah 25:11-12) Jerusalem would be rebuilt and the temple again would stand. Nehemiah and Zerubbabel led the rebuilding efforts and the work went forward. God moved miraculously on the heart of King Cyrus and he supplied the authority and finances.
Prophets Haggai and Zechariah both urged the workers to rebuild the city and temple. God had plans for a greater purpose and glory yet to come! (Haggai 2:9) ( Zechariah 8:1-3) According to Zechariah, Jerusalem would be pivotal for God’s end-time program of judging the nations. (Zechariah 12:1-3) The nations will gather around Jerusalem to seek to destroy it in a final battle. In fact, Jesus Christ is coming back to Jerusalem and will again place His feet on the Mt. of Olives, causing it to split and form a way of escape for God’s people. (Zechariah 14:4-5) Following this great battle, the Lord will be king over all the earth and rule from Jerusalem! (Zechariah 14:9)
Jerusalem is the joy of the whole earth because it is the city of the Great King! Psalm 48 was composed by the sons of Korah to extol the virtues of Jerusalem and God’s presence and protection of His people forever! We surely should pray for the peace of Jerusalem! It is the home of our Great King!
“Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. It is beautiful in loftiness, the joy of the whole earth!” Psalm 48:1-2