Monday, May 23, 2011

Psalm 122

Pray for the Peace of Jersusalem

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within Your walls.
~ Ps. 122:6-7
photo taken in Jerusalem, Israel    2011

This psalm was written for the people to sing at the times of their going up to Jerusalem for the holy feasts.  It is a reminder to us today of the importance of gathering together as God's people to bring Him praise and bear Him testimony.  Spurgeon notes:
The Israelites went up to the holy city to hear and to bear testimony. Everything in the temple was a testimony unto the Lord, and the annual journeys of the tribes to the hallowed shrine partook of the same testifying character, for these journeys were Israel's open avowal that Jehovah was their God, and that He was the one only living and true God.
When as Christians we assemble on the Sabbath, a large part of our business is giving out and receiving testimony: we are God's witnesses; all the tribes of the one church of Jesus Christ bear witness unto the Lord.
We traveled to Israel earlier this year, and spent the final 3 days of our trip in Jerusalem.  As our bus reached the city limits, the tour guide had this song playing loudly:

Last night I lay a-sleeping,
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem,
Beside the Temple there.
I heard the children singing,
And ever as they sang,
Methought the voice of angels
From Heav'n in answer rang.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Lift up your gates and sing;
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to your King.

And then methought my dream was changed,
The streets no longer rang.
But with a glad Hosanna
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill,
But the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Hark, how the angels sing
Hosanna through the ages,
Hosanna to your King.

Then once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the timeless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide;
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon nor stars by night
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Sing for the night is o'er;
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna for ever more.
~ Jerusalem, The Holy City
F. E. Weatherly

It truly was an incredibly powerful & moving moment, and I felt chills as I beheld the City of God, the Holy City that I had read about in my Bible for all my life . . . the city where Christ actually walked, the city that He wept over, the city where He died. 

Dr. James B. Lemeir notes this:
It is quite probable that Jesus of Nazareth prayed this same psalm as He ascended the hill leading to Jerusalem. As the story is told in Luke's Gospel, Jesus was also full of emotion, and perhaps His eyes were full of tears, too. It had been a long journey through Galilee, Samaria and Judea-a long journey of teaching, healing, controversy and opposition. But now, but now He beholds His destination.
Jerusalem. Jerusalem. He was there, at last. The journey was reaching its culmination. Here He was, beholding the city that is the mirror of God's life, love and Shalom-the city that symbolizes God's people, their hopes and their dreams, their history and their future.

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying,
"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace."
~ Luke 19:42

My Bible notes that Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because He knew what lay ahead for Him there - that He would be rejected by the majority of the people, and because He knew that destruction lay ahead for them.

We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, bearing in mind that the peace Christ gives is more than the world can imagine!

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God dwells among His people - He dwelt between the cherubim in Jerusalem, and He dwells in our hearts today through His Holy Spirit
  • God's peace has come to us through His Son, Jesus Christ
  • It is God's design for His people to come together corporately and regularly to worship Him
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God for His presence . . . in Jerusalem, and in Memphis!
  • I praise God for His church . . . and that I live in a country where I am free to worship without fear of persecution
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, I pray for
Your one church,
the members of which are
scattered in many different denominations
and over the wide world.
We who are one with You
must be one with each other;
but grant that our unity
may stand revealed
and confessed
so that all people may believe.

Giver of Peace!
May peace be in this house;
peace be in the homes of those who love me;
peace be with the tired workers
and lonely pilgrims
and sin-weary hearts;
Your peace, Heavenly Father!
~ F. B. Meyer

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