NOTE: We’ve been in Jerusalem for a few days now so this seems like a great time for this reminder 🙂 Grace and shalom!
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.” –Psalm 122:6
It wasn’t intended as a suggestion.
But it’s also not an obligation. It’s an invitation.
The idea of praying for Jerusalem–praying for Israel–it’s not a duty, its a privilege for those who love Jesus. Because if you love someone, you want to love what they love. You want to know what’s on their mind. You want to know what’s in their heart. You want to share their dreams; their desires. You want to know what moves them.
And if you want to know what moves God–look no further than Jerusalem.
Why does one city–one nation–one people group–move his heart so? I don’t really know. I don’t suppose anyone does. There are, of course, many “theological” answers, but they aren’t fully satisfactory. They aren’t fully satisfactory, because God’s love for Israel isn’t merely a matter of theology …
It’s a matter of the heart.
And Israel will always have a place in the heart of God reserved for no other.
Israel is God’s first-born nation. Israel is the means through which God has chosen to reveal himself to all the nations of the earth. And Israel–specifically Jerusalem–is the one place on this planet God has declared he will establish his eternal throne.
So here’s the deal, whether you realize it or not, you have a vested interest in God’s dealings with Israel. That’s because God has made promises to Israel–lots of promises. Sure, some of those promises were conditional and voided by Israel’s disobedience, others have already been fulfilled, and still others will find a future fulfillment amongst all of God’s people (both Jewish and Gentile believers). But–and it’s a big “but”–God made his covenant with Abraham long before he gave the law to Moses (which was fulfilled in Jesus). God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional and irrevocable. In other words, it stands today. And if it stands today, that means it’s important to us today.
It’s important, because if we can’t trust God to be faithful to Israel, how can we possibly trust him to be faithful to us?
I think that’s why there is a blessing promised to those who “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” When you set your face toward Jerusalem; when you set your heart toward loving what he loves; when you pray for his longing to be fulfilled–your own heart becomes more secure. When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you’re not only aligning with God’s heart–you’re putting your faith in action. You’re acknowledging him to be the One who is forever faithful.
So pray for the peace of Jerusalem …
As you do, you just might find yourself resting a bit more secure in his promises to you.
Lord, I do pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I pray for your kingdom to come and your will to be done throughout Israel. I ask, Lord, that you will be a shield around that city and around the entire nation of Israel. You are, and forever will be, the God Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–the Holy One of Israel. Thank you for your great faithfulness! Protect “the apple of your eye” from those who would rail against her. Awaken your church to your heart’s desire for Israel that we might love those you love. And as we remember your love for, and faithfulness to, Israel, may we rest evermore secure in your unchanging love for us. ~ Amen.