Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Psalms 122-124
We continue our study of the Psalms titled under the heading, “A Song of Degrees” (Psalms 120-134). As mentioned in an earlier devotional, the word “degrees” has been a subject of debate with some suggesting it may refer to our modern concept of musical keys. I believe the opening verse of Psalm 122 makes a good case that the “degrees” refer to one’s ascent to Jerusalem. It is believed this psalm was written by David and sung by pilgrims going to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the holy feasts. David writes,
Psalm 122:6-7 – “Pray for the peace [shalom; happiness; welfare; health] of Jerusalem: they shall prosper [be safe; tranquil; secure; at rest] that love [befriend; be loving] thee. 7 Peace [shalom; happiness; welfare; health] be within thy walls, and prosperity [abundance; quietness; security] within thy palaces [citadel; castle; fortified buildings].”
There is an irony that Jerusalem, a city whose very name means “peace” or “possession of peace”, has known so little peace over three millenniums of human history. Even in our day, Jerusalem is a city of perpetual turmoil, the target of terrorist attacks and bombings. Surely if David were alive today he would encourage us to pray, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6a).
The call to pray for Jerusalem’s peace comes with a promise: “…they shall prosper [be safe; tranquil; secure; at rest] that love [befriend; be loving] thee” (Psalm 122:6b).
Some will argue the call to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the promise of rest and prosperity to those who love the Jewish people and their land and capital city is not applicable in our day. I feel; however, the history of humanity is proof enough God blesses and prospers those nations that seek the peace of Jerusalem. Those nations that oppress the Jewish people and hate their land and capital city have been laid waste in times of war.
Ancient Assyria, Chaldea, Greece, Rome, and the Ottoman Turks, all enemies of the Jews, are nothing more than a footnote in history. 20th century nations that oppressed the Jews are no exception; Germany, Italy and the former Soviet Union, all devastated by war and their great cities left in ruin.
In contrast, the United States has historically been the friend of Israel and unquestionably the most prosperous nation in the world. In my opinion, much of the trouble and turmoil dividing the United States can be credited to God withdrawing His blessing from America because of President Obama’s eight-year courtship with Israel’s Middle East enemies and that administration’s isolation of Israel.
We know from the scriptures Jerusalem, Israel and the world will not experience lasting peace until the Prince of Peace returns and establishes His kingdom. Isaiah prophesied, the Christ-child would be born whose names and titles indicate He would be God, “called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). However, Isaiah 9:7, promising “his government and peace there shall be no end” has yet to be fulfilled.
Praying for the “peace of Jerusalem” is in fact, a prayer for the LORD Jesus Christ to come and establish His millennial kingdom.
The LORD promised, “Surely I come quickly” (Rev. 22:20); John responded with the words I pray every time Hillsdale observes the LORD’s Supper, “Even so, come, LORD Jesus” (Rev. 22:20b).
Are you ready for His coming?
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith