Do you look forward to going to church to worship God? David did. In this psalm, another in the series composing the Songs of Ascent and the Great Hallel, David shared his delight in going up to the temple to worship the Lord. David saw standing within the gates of God’s chosen city as a great honor and glorious privilege. He sought to enter the House of the Lord with joy!
Jerusalem was the place where the Lord met with His people. God had blessed Jerusalem, giving it a large and dense population. Jerusalem served as the center of national life and as the heart of worship, especially during festive occasions like the annual feasts during which the Songs of Ascent served as an integral part of the celebration. In this psalm, David calls on the people to pray for God’s continued favor over the city. He exhorts the people to pray for peace and prosperity over the city that the house of God called home.
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, Yahweh’s tribes, go up
to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.
(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.
In these manic, distressful times we need unity more than ever. While technology has made communication easier than ever before, we suffer from a lack of understanding. Everybody seems to be talking. Nobody appears to really be listening. In a generation marked by connectivity, there are individuals living among us who feel more isolated than ever before. They think the world doesn’t see them and that they are invisible. They go unseen and unheard. They believe they have no value and that their lives don’t really matter. They ask, “Who would miss me if I’m gone?” We must attempt to reach out to them. They are lost and lacking hope. They’ve fallen short of this world’s standards rather than seeing themselves how God sees them: worth Christ dying for. I encounter people like this all the time during my daily adventures as a chaplain. They long to be seen. They yearn to be heard. They are desperate to be loved.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You and I have the power to encourage others and to lift people up by demonstrating the same love that Christ showed us. We don’t have to be part of the discourse that continues to divide us and seems hellbent on destroying us while continually spewing from different points of leadership, ignoring what really matters. See them. Hear them. Love them.
Our nation and our houses of worship need our prayers for peace and protection. Too many times, particularly in the House of God, we stand divided. In His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.” (John 17:21-22 HCSB)
In what ways can we demonstrate the essence of Christ’s prayer for oneness as we go about our daily lives?
Like David, I exhort you and ask you to join me in praying for our country and our churches. As believers, we need to be bold witnesses for Christ, demonstrating love, and speaking truth, unlike any generation that preceded us. We need to communicate our love for God and for people. They need to know that they are seen, heard, and loved.
May our voices continue to sing with joy as we enter the House of the Lord.
As always, thanks for reading. A special shout out to everyone who has read, liked, commented, and shared Monday’s post about my personal journey of recovery. You guys rock. Much love!!!
The Devotional Guy™
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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
Blackaby, Henry, and King, Claude A. (1994). Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Broadman and Holman Publishers. Nashville, Tennessee.
Getz, Gene A. (2011). Life Essentials Bible: Principles to Live By. Holman Bible Publishers. Nashville, Tennessee.
Lockyer, Herbert (1966). All the Books and Chapters of the Bible. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Randel, Don Michael (2003) The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Tomlin, Chris, and Whitehead, David. (2017). Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship. Thomas Nelson Publishing. Nashville, Tennessee.
White, James F. (1993) A Brief History of Christian Worship. Abingdon Press. Nashville.