Tag: City of peace

The Peace of Jerusalem!

Scripture reading for June 29th: Psalms 120-127

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the House of the Lord.”  Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.  That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise the name of the Lord according to the statute given to Israel.” (Psalm 122:1-4)

Psalm 120-134 form a series of writings called the “Song of Ascents”.   These psalms were sung or chanted by the Israelites as they made their way from their homes to Jerusalem for the annual feasts at the temple of the Lord.  Many of these pilgrims had to travel from the north and others from the south climbing from Jericho through the winding road that climbs nearly 3000 feet in about 20 miles.  There were dangers of robbers and wild animals.  They left their homes behind and joined others climbing to worship their Lord and God.

The psalmist was glad to go to the “House of the Lord”.  God’s presence was and is something to treasure.  It is as if the psalmist could envision his feet standing inside the walls of the city and feel the joy and security of being in God’s presence with God’s people.  Although God had commanded them to gather there to meet with Him, this was a willing journey done in faith with joyful anticipation.  All the tribes of God’s family would join in unity there, packed into the walls of Jerusalem for worship, sacrifice and joyful festival!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  “May those who love you be secure.  May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”  For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”  For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.” (Psalm 122:6-9)

Prayer is the great privilege of God’s people.  The psalmist knows that only through prayer can all these tribes and individuals be unified and remain at peace with one another.  Brothers and friends sometimes fight and have issues.  Conflicts still break out among the family of God.  Peace must be prayed for and sought after for others’ sake and for the sake of God’s house!  Would you take time today and obey this ancient psalm on your journey to the “House of the Lord”?

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Sunday Rest and Reflection: Jerusalem!

Dear Friends,

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

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