I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."2Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.3Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.4That 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.5There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David.6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who loveyou be secure.7May there be peacewithin your walls and security within your citadels."8For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you."9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity. NIV
There were three great pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Passover, Weeks and Tents or Booths each one depicting a great moment in the history of Gods children. On each trip to these great festivals there was a time of rejoicing, great community spirit as each person rubbed shoulders with each other in the procession up to Gods temple in Jerusalem. I could imagine it was a time that each family and community would have planned for over many months. There would have been great excitement and anticipation. Can you picture yourself walking together singing and rejoicing, camping under the stars , songs around the camp fire.
Your thoughts and eyes would always be turned towards Jerusalem; hearts bubbling over with joy and happiness. Such pilgrimages must have been the epitome of a Jews life.
Picture a street festival or carnival traveling through the country side – does the festive mood capture your hearts?
I was glad when they said lets go the Jerusalem. But are we when we read and hear of the news concerning Gods holy city on our nightly news programmes as we sit in our comfortable homes in the USA or New Zealand?
For eons the church has looked upon the Jews and Jerusalem with some sort of disdain. Historically the church has maintained an attitude of 'hatred' towards the Jews, beginning in the first millennium of the Christian era. It was taught that all Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ; the destruction of the Temple by the Romans and the scattering of the Jewish people was punishment both for past transgressions and for continued failure to abandon their faith and accept Christianity. In desperate times, Jews often became scapegoats for many natural catastrophes.
I write these words with great shame for God's word says 'lets us be glad to go to Jerusalem and pray for her peace.' We are exhorted to have a positive and joyful relationship with Gods holy city.
As I was preparing this blog, as I always do, I looked at the many commentaries written by well known colossus church writers and they all without fail relegated this Psalm to refer to the Church. I must confess I was swept along by this view for some time but of late God is seeping into my heart another understanding of the role Israel with play in the end times.
I believe Gods word to us today is have a sense of joy in our hearts as God un folds his plan for the earthly Jerusalem and to be glad and rejoice at the faithfulness of God over his city. God has not shifted his blessings and allegiances from his chosen people to the church, leaving his people whom he called through Abraham abandoned and lost. God established a covenant with Abraham and if we claim God as Lord and faithful to his promises why do we believe that all of the references in the end times concerning Israel now refer to the church?
I believe there is a movement of Gods spirit that is calling the church, those whom he has brought out of darkness into the light, to earnestly pray for the welfare and peace of his Holy city. Let us be glad with joy in our hearts when we think of the land of Israel, Jerusalem and Gods plans for his people.
Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2
The time has come I believe that this promise is being fulfilled in our generation for as we turn our thoughts to Jerusalem with joyful and gladness of heart we will be open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit who will instruct us in new ways and pathways that God has planned before time for us to walk in.
As for me I wish to be part of this new pilgrimage to Gods holy city.
I hold the same view as you do. We need to pray for Jerusalem.
Amen, Amen, Amen