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Church Talk: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

Friday 13 October 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


Church Talk: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Members of the Cook Islands group that visited Jerusalem to observe the Feast of the Tabernacle. HANNAH ROSENBERG/23101209

The peace of Jerusalem must not be disturbed because if it does, those who disturb her peace deserve to suffer the consequences and those who sustain it win great blessing, writes Reverend Vakaroto Ngaro of Ekalesia Avarua (Cook Islands Christian Church).

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” (Psalm 122:6-7).

David exhorted pilgrims coming to the Holy City to pray for the peace of the city. The pilgrimage was a time refreshing and reflection for Israelites returning home for their annual festivals. The prayer included a blessing for those who love the city, and a direct request for peace and prosperity for the city. They are the proper fruits of justice, the subject of verse 5.

The word prosper conveys an idea which is not in the original. The Hebrew word means to be secure, tranquil, at rest, spoken especially of one who enjoys quiet prosperity. The essential idea is that of quietness or rest; and the meaning here is, that those who love Zion will have peace. This is the form of prayer that they are to use – May prosperity ever reside within thy walls, on all the people that dwell there; and tranquillity within thy palaces or high places, among the and governors of the people.

Jerusalem’s name itself marks it as a city of peace, but in reality, it has known much war and conflict, which continue to this day. There is war in Israel today and it has dominated the media, which also affected nationalities everywhere. Surely, Israel is forced to use every available manpower they have, and they will fight their own war until they have crushed their own enemies. Let us also be reminded what the Lord said: “For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)   

The peace of Jerusalem must not be disturbed because if it does, those who disturb her peace deserve to suffer the consequences and those who sustain it win great blessing. God had already offered direct warnings in history because He had promised Israel as David had said: “The battle is the Lord’s.” This warning is repeated many times in the scripture. In Exodus 14:14 this is what he said: “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”David himself made the same the same statement to Goliath: “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies … today the Lord will conquer you ...” (1 Samuel 17:45, 46) 

Israel is already on the winning and our part today is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. David prayed for blessings for those who loved and prayed for Jerusalem, but the blessing was not only for the individual but for the community of those who cared for the peace of Jerusalem, those who said, “Peace be within you.” The repetition of the desire displays the high valuation of the blessing mentioned; he would not again and again have invoked peace had he not perceived its extreme desirableness. David understood that the gladness and goodness of the pilgrim toward God’s city was not primarily political in nature. It wasn’t because of loyalty to a political party, leader, or philosophy. It was because the house of the Lord was established there.

The Psalmist declareth the two motives, which induced him to utter his best wishes, and use his best endeavours, for the prosperity of Jerusalem; namely, love of his brethren, whose happiness was involved in that of their city; and love of God, who had fixed the residence of his glory. Through it all it is evident that the glory of city and Temple consists in the fact that they are the city and house of Jehovah. It is not a song of buildings or of material magnificence. It is rather the song of assembly, of testimony, of judgment, of peace, of prosperity. These all issue from the supreme fact of Jehovah’s presence. This has a special application for the Christian under the New Covenant.

What makes Jerusalem special is that it is God’s habitation, His house. His presence makes it special. Ancient Jerusalem had political, economic, and social importance. Yet the most important reason to love and care for Jerusalem was because of the house of the Lord. Christians should have the same great care for and focus upon the work of God’s house. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.