Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem

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I have been praying daily for God to show me deeper things in His Word – things I have probably read multiple times, yet not really made a connection on.  Has He ever delivered. 

So I was on lesson 5 in my Beth Moore Psalms of Ascent study last night.  This lesson dealt with Psalm 122.

Psalm 122 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

A Prayer for Jerusalem
A Davidic song of ascents.

 1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”    2 Our feet are standing
    within your gates, Jerusalem —

    3 Jerusalem, built as a city [should be],
    solidly joined together,

    4 where the tribes, the tribes of the LORD, go up
    to give thanks to the name of the LORD
    (This is an ordinance for Israel.)

    5 There, thrones for judgment are placed,
    thrones of the house of David.

    6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May those who love you prosper;

    7 may there be peace within your walls,
    prosperity within your fortresses.”

    8 Because of my brothers and friends,
    I will say, “Peace be with you.”

    9 Because of the house of the LORD our God,
    I will seek your good.

Part of our “assignment” for our daily study is underlining phrases that stick out to us.  Beth has also included a second version of the same Psalm from either another translation or the Message and asks us to draw parallels between phrases in the two that stick out to us.  The translation she picked for the 2nd version of this verse was the New Living Translation.

Psalm 122 (New Living Translation)

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
 1 I was glad when they said to me,
      “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
 2 And now here we are,
      standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
 3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
      its seamless walls cannot be breached.
 4 All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—
      make their pilgrimage here.
   They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
      as the law requires of Israel.
 5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
      the thrones of the dynasty of David. 
 
6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
      May all who love this city prosper.
 7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
      and prosperity in your palaces.
 8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
      “May you have peace.”
 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
      I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

I have always heard that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  And I have done this regularly in prayer.  But I had always, up until today, prayed for the peace of Jerusalem NOW in this time.  After reading Psalm 122 in the HCSB, I still was thinking that way.  Then, when I read verse 5 translated in the New Living Translation, it was like a light bulb went off.  One word made a WORLD of difference. 

In the HCSB translation, verse 5’s wording made me think of the earthly kings of Israel in the lineage of David.  But, in the NLT, the word dynasty made me instantly think of Christ.  I have never associated Christ with this passage before.  It just dropped into my head.  Dynasty makes me think of the whole line of kings, not just the ones at that particular instance about which the psalmist was writing.  I have been reading through Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.  All throughout those books God keeps telling David that he will always have a descendent on the throne of Israel.  Matthew 1:1 calls Jesus a “THE (emphasis mine) Son of David.”  In Luke 2 we are told that Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem because he was from the “house and lineage of David.”  In Romans 1:3, Paul describes Jesus as “a descendant of David.” 

Beth wanted us to look at Ephesians 2:11-21 and see how it paralleled this psalm.  Among the many things that related back to this passage, one phrase jumped off the page at me.  “He is our peace.”  (verse 14)

Then I had a “duh!” moment.  I flipped over to Revelations and found the description of Christ’s earthly kingdom in chapters 21 and 22.  In chapter 21:2-8, it says:

2 I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,  prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

    3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

    Look! God’s dwelling is with men,

    and He will live with them.

    They will be His people, 

    and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

    4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

    Death will exist no longer;

    grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,

    because the previous things have passed away.

    5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”

6 And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will give to the thirsty from the spring of living water as a gift. 

7 The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.

8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

9 Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

10 He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

11 arrayed with God’s glory.

 Revelation 22:3b-5 then says:

3b The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him.

4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 

5 Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

I realized then that when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, whether we know it or not, we are praying for the return of Christ.  There will never be peace in Jerusalem, or anywhere else, until that day.  It seems so clear and simple, but it just had never dawned on me before.

Then Isaiah’s “prince of peace” passage popped into my head.  A quick search for those terms brought up Isaiah 9.  Looking at that after finding all of the above was just amazing. 

 Isaiah 9 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Birth of the Prince of Peace
 1  Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future He will bring honor to the Way of the Sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations.   
2  The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light; 
    on those living in the land of darkness, 
    a light has dawned.

    3 You have enlarged the nation
    and increased its joy. 
    [The people] have rejoiced before You
    as they rejoice at harvest time
    and as they rejoice when dividing spoils.

    4 For You have shattered their burdensome yoke 
    and the rod on their shoulders,
    the staff of their oppressor,
    just as [You did] on the day of Midian.

    5 For the trampling boot of battle
    and the bloodied garments of war
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.

    6 For a child will be born for us,
    a son will be given to us,
    and the government will be on His shoulders. 
    He will be named
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
    Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

    7 The dominion will be vast,
    and its prosperity will never end. 
    He will reign on the throne of David
    and over his kingdom
,
    to establish and sustain it
    with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
    The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.

It amazes me that God used men several hundred years apart to foreshadow an event that they knew absolutely nothing about.  I don’t know if they had any idea why they were impressed to write the words they wrote.  Isaiah probably knew he was writing about the Messiah, but the psalmist was probably like me, thinking in terms of the “here and now.”  But God knew all along the deeper things they were conveying, and how we who would be searching thousands of years later would put 2 and 2 together and get the One.

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3 thoughts on “Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem

  1. Pingback: Seek and You Will Find - Part II « Pilgrim Wanderings

  2. Pingback: Psalms of Ascent - Psalm 122 - Pray for Peace in Our Community « Pilgrim Wanderings

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