A Deeper Look at Psalm 122: Verse 1

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Pull up a chair, friends.  Scripture commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, so we’re digging into the familiar passage, Psalm 122.  Let’s consider verse 1:

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

As mentioned yesterday, Jewish pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the feasts recited this song of ascent (along with several others).  It is also significant to know that Jerusalem sits on a hill, thus one is always going “up” to Jerusalem, regardless of which direction it is approached.  So there is a physical “going up” to Jerusalem.

But there is also a spiritual “going up” connotation. Jerusalem has been called the port city of eternity.  It is not a “super spiritual” city in and of itself.  After all, it and its Temple were both destroyed on two occasions, and even today, the population is largely secular.  Yet, the city is holy because God chose it!

Just as He chose the Jewish people for a special and unique role (vehicle of world redemption), He also chose this city as the place of the Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection to accomplish redemption for us!

Just as importantly, King Jesus will one day return to that city at the invitation of His chosen people (Matthew 23:39), to redeem them.  The city of Jerusalem holds eternal significance, so let’s pray for the Prince of Peace to return and introduce true peace!

Pray today…then join us again tomorrow!  See you then!

A Deeper Look at Psalm 122: A Brief Overview

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Hi friends!  Today we’ll jump into another short series called A Deeper Look at Psalm 122.  Scripture teaches us to stand with and support Israel, and perhaps the most important way to do that is to pray for her.  Often on this blog, we are encouraged to do just that, and Psalm 122 is often referenced.

So, let’s ask the Lord to give us deeper understanding of that familiar passage.  Here it is:

1I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, that is built
As a city that is compact together;
To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord
An ordinance for Israel—
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there thrones were set for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
“May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

A bit of foundation: Psalm 122 is one of several songs of ascent that were customarily recited as the Jewish people made their way to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts.  It was a song of great joy, written by King David after Jerusalem had been captured from the Jebusites (see 2 Samuel 5), and the tabernacle and ark had returned to the Holy City.

This is the city upon which God placed His name.  It is a special place marked by God as the center of the world.  It is the city God knew would ultimately be a stumbling block to the entire world.  Is it any wonder we are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

We’ll take it verse-by-verse to mine the nuggets of God’s Word concerning this prayer this week, so stick with us!  Meanwhile, just do as the passage instructs: pray!  See you tomorrow!

Week 9 – Bring the King Home!

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Study friends, you are really hanging in there!  Kudos to you!  We’re diving into week 9 and I hope sliding your chair up to our virtual study table is a blessing to you.  I would love to hear your thoughts (good, bad or indifferent!), so leave me a comment!

To set the stage, we just finished a week discussing 3 Great Covenants (Abrahamic, Mosaic and New), recognizing that all three covenants are very necessary to God’s plan of salvation for us.  We also found that the New Covenant has a reward which is found in the Davidic Covenant!  So, that’s where we’re headed this week!

First, let’s be reminded of God’s promises regarding the Abrahamic Covenant:

He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
He has remembered His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the portion of your inheritance.”
~Psalm 105:7-11

Indeed, God remembers His covenant forever, and God’s covenants will culminate at the return of Jesus our Lord!  In fact, Hebrews teaches us specifically that Jesus is the guarantee and mediator of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22, 8:6) which is to come.

But, what is that “better covenant?”  Great question!  It is the Davidic Covenant…the covenant of TRIUMPH! 1 Chronicles 17 describes that covenant, including David’s longing to build a dwelling place (temple) for the Lord.  But God, through the prophet Nathan, told David he was not to build the temple.  But He also reminded him that God had been with David all along, and that He would appoint a place for His people forever.

Then, in verses 11-15, we see God’s repeated promise to establish the throne of David’s descendant forever, and to establish His house and His kingdom forever.  Jesus was that descendant, though He didn’t look like what the Jewish people expected!  They were seeking an earthly king to deliver them from the oppression of Roman rule, yet Jesus rules a kingdom much greater than that.  The Jews were looking for a “forever” king, yet missed His appearing.

But hope is not lost, my friends!  God has not forgotten His people, and He has not forgotten His promises to them!  Jesus will reign one day, and the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled!

Tomorrow we’ll talk about 3 conditions necessary for Jesus to reign.  The study this week will build to a beautiful crescendo late in the week, so be sure to stick with us!  The really exciting part is still to come!

Blessings friends!

Understanding Tisha B’Av

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The saddest day on the Jewish calendar will commence tonight at sundown and extend through sundown tomorrow.  Jews around the world will commemorate Tisha B’av (the ninth of the Hebrew month, Av) by fasting and refraining from any sort of pleasure or enjoyment.

But what exactly are they commemorating?  The destruction of both the first and second temples, as well as all the other tragedy the Jewish people have faced.  Ironically, both temples were destroyed on the same calendar day…Tisha B’av.  Moreover, tragedy of all kinds has also befallen the Jewish people on this day.  Here are some examples:

  • Spies sent into the Promise Land returned with bad news.
  • Final defeat of the Bar Kockhba Rebellion in which the Romans squashed the last Jewish attempt to retain their sovereignty by killing 500,000 Jews.
  • British King Edward’s edict to banish the Jews from England in 1290 AD.
  • Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.
  • Germany declared war on Russia in 1914, which launched WWI, which then led to WWII and the Holocaust.

Tragedy upon tragedy.  Yet, notice that, though it is a day of extreme mourning, it is also a day of hope.  How and why?  Because the Jewish people anxiously await HaMashiach…the Messiah!  Their hope!

I have now heard multiple highly-respected Israelis (including Messianic believers) say there is an increase of talk in Israel about the coming Messiah.  They are beginning to look for Him.  Instinctively, they know their hope is found in their Messiah, and that Sovereign God is working out His plan for them, despite the hardships.

I think back to our lesson entitled, The Suffering Call, in which we considered the vultures attacking and God throwing open a window to allow Abraham to see what tragedy would befall his people.  In that, the Lord laid out what is commemorated in Tisha B’Av!

I will end with two things.  First, if you would like to hear an American Jewish rabbi describe Tisha B’Av, click here.  (Keep in mind this is purely a Jewish perspective.)  Secondly, Amir Tsarfati (a Messianic Jew from Israel) also provides commentary here.

Mourning for a season, but soon comes rejoicing!  The Blessed Hope of Israel is coming soon!

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