Tag: God our helper

Jerusalem–city of God

Scripture reading for June 28th: Psalms 120-127

Today’s reading is a set of psalms that were known as the “songs of ascent”.   These were songs sung by pilgrims as they traveled on their three required yearly visits to the temple for the celebrations of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.  The pilgrims came up the road from Jericho to Jerusalem and experienced  an elevation change from 1200 feet below sea level in Jericho area to over 2600 feet above sea level in Jerusalem.  The climb was difficult for several reasons.  It was a dry area with little water and the terrain was rough.  It was also an area known to be inhabited by robbers and marauders who would prey on the pilgrims.

The first psalm in this series begins with the pilgrim in distress.  He is living among those who hate peace.  They are deceitful people and have lying tongues.  He is far from God’s house and God’s people and realizes his need to call on the Lord as he begins his journey to the city of God.  This journey may be what you need today, take time to call on the Lord and decide to move towards Him!

Psalm 121 is a favorite psalm of many.  I memorized it as a child in Sunday School.  As the psalmist begins the journey upward to Jerusalem, his eyes see the hills and he realizes that this journey is impossible in his own strength!  The climb is difficult and there are many dangers. He confesses that his help comes from the Lord, who is Maker of heaven and earth.  (Psalm 121:2)  No matter what obstacle, hazard or mountain of difficulty, God is with us!

The central goal of the journey is Jerusalem, the city of God!  It’s a city closely compacted, a tight-knit community centered around the temple and worship of the Lord!  The tribes go up to praise the Lord according to His statutes! (Psalm 122:4)  Jerusalem is the city of  ‘peace’ and all are encouraged to pray for the peace of the city.  In a world where war, hatred, lying and deceitful tongues form the social context of where we live, peace is the norm in God’s city. Take time today to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

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Looking for a city!

Scripture reading for November 16th: Hebrews 13:1-25

“For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)  Jews in the land of Israel viewed the city of Jerusalem as the city of God’s house.  They felt that God would protect this city forever and that it would be safe. But  God did allow the city to be captured and destroyed by the Babylonians.   The writer of Hebrews was telling these Jewish believers that this city of Jerusalem was not the permanent city that God had prepared.  This city and temple was now obsolete and passing away. Jesus had warned of it’s destruction because of the Jews rejection of Him.  (Matthew 23:37-39)   Faith looked ahead to God’s ultimate city that He was preparing for them!

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he didn’t know where he was going.  . .  .he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8, 9b, 10)  Abraham knew of this heavenly city and even as he lived in a tent in the promised land was looking with faith to this heavenly city to be constructed by God Himself.  His offspring also had this hope!

“All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  . .Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-14, 16)  All those early pioneers of the Jewish faith understood about the heavenly city and promise of a permanent dwelling place with God.  This faith pleased God and in Jesus Christ has prepared this heavenly city!  Some of Jesus last instructions to His disciples included the promise that in Father’s house were many rooms and He was preparing a place for them!  He is coming back to take all His followers to be with Him in that beautiful place!

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