Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Jerusalem's future, Jesus and your prayers ..."

Day #168

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 122 - 124 …

Have you ever prayed for the peace of Jerusalem?  Why would you do that?  Though many in the church believe Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has been replaced by the Church, God says otherwise, as we shall see.  What does that have to do with you and me?  Put simply, if God does not keep His promises to the Jews as a people and if the events leading up to and surrounding the return of Jesus do not happen as God says they will, how can we believe anything else the Bible has to say?  But knowing that God has kept and will keep every promise He has ever made gives us hope, strength and courage as we face the many uncertainties in our lives and in the world.

In the days of David, Jerusalem was the "City of Peace."  God had blessed David and Israel with power and wealth beyond any nation on the earth because they were His chosen people.  The temple stood in Jerusalem as a testament to the one true God, the "LORD," the great "I AM!"  He alone is God and His power had accompanied Israel in defeating all their enemies and establishing them firmly in the land God had promised to their forefathers.  "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD" were more than just words to David, they were the air that he breathed!  His prayers for the peace of Jerusalem were personal and heartfelt:  "May those who love you be secure.  May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels" (122:7).

As we watch the events in the Middle East, the time is coming when this prayer will be answered … but … before we get to that, Psalm 123 expresses thoughts in words that could have been penned yesterday or today by those who live in Jerusalem, who are Jewish believers … those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and who know the true God:  "I lift my eyes to You, to You whose throne is in heaven. … our eyes look to the LORD our God, till He shows us mercy. … we have endured much contempt.  We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant" (123:1-4).  It can truthfully be said that no other people, no other nation on earth, has endured what these people have endured and continue to endure.  Why? Because they are, as a people, the chosen people of the one true God!

Those who claim today that God's plans for the Jews as a people are finished … that the church has completely replaced Israel in God's plans for the future … are WRONG!!  The TRUE "peace of Jerusalem" will come when Jesus Himself is standing on Mt. Zion!  It is at His return that Jesus will bring TRUE peace to Jerusalem.  It will come in no other way.  Speaking through the prophet Zechariah, God says, "I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child … On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great!" (Zechariah 12:10-11).  "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity" (Zechariah 13:1).

"Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.  On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem …  On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem …  The LORD will be King over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one LORD, and His name the only name" (Zechariah 14:3-9).  God has said it and He will do it!  There WILL BE peace in Jerusalem!

Which brings us to Psalm 124:  "If the LORD had not been on our side - let Israel say - if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away" (124:1-5).  That was true in the days of David, that has been true throughout the history of this people, that is true today and it will be true in the future.  When you and I pray for the peace of Jerusalem it must be more than a man-made peace that we pray for.  We must pray that the Spirit of God would call those whom God has chosen to be His remnant among the Jews at this time (which is happening even now!), and we must pray for the return of Jesus Christ to come soon.

Jesus promised us that He would be with us "until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).  The end of this age is approaching.  With those who believe from Israel, all who are truly followers of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the promised "Seed" of Abraham, the One descended from Judah, from the line of David … we declare, "Our help is in the Name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (124:8).  We have nowhere else to turn, nor do we need anywhere else to turn.  He is OUR God and we are HIS people, by grace through faith in Jesus.  We testify with those who first believed: "'The stone you builders rejected, is the capstone!'  And salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved!" (Acts 4:11-12).

Jesus is on His throne and we rest in this fact:  "God exalted HIM to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).

No other name but Jesus!  HE IS the "PEACE of Jerusalem!" 

"Heavenly Father, I know that You alone are God and that all You reveal in Your Word will come to pass just as You have said.  I pray for the true peace of Jerusalem, for the pouring out of Your Spirit even now upon those whom You have chosen to be the remnant, the true seed of Abraham.  I pray for Your Church, those from the nations who have called upon the name of Jesus to be saved and who will be gathered together when the trumpet sounds to praise You forever and ever.  Help me to stand firm and to declare Your praises as I join Your people in enduring, in persevering and in testifying to You, our God, until He comes who will bring PEACE on earth!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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