“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” Though the people of God might find themselves far from the Promised Land, as they made their journey to the appointed place of worship they could rightly say, “Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” They loved the city that the Lord chose as the site for His temple. Their hearts longed to come together with other pilgrims from far-off lands who would meet again in the presence of the Lord on the top of Mount Zion.
The Lord had a special plan for Jerusalem that was made known in the days of King David. God had revealed to David the exact location for His temple. Sacrifices would be offered to Him on that mountain. Men from all the tribes would gather there according to His command. They would “give thanks to the Name of the Lord.” David would also reign from Jerusalem over a united kingdom. He and His descendants would execute justice in that great city according to the Word of the Lord.
When the Lord’s people were dwelling in far off lands, they might say about their neighbors in the words of Psalm 120:7, “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!” But in Jerusalem the peace of God was to reign over all the citizens of God’s chosen nation. This was the earnest desire of all who truly called upon the Name of the God of Israel, and they were to encourage one another to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” The people who loved the Lord, no matter what difficulties they found among the Gentiles, were to come home again to God in Jerusalem and experience true peace and security.
Peace was possible in the city of God only when the Lord counted the temple as “the house of God.” If the blood of the atoning sacrifice was not acceptable to the Lord, then there could be no lasting peace between God and man. But now the perfect sacrifice has come, and a new worldwide temple of God has been established in the body of Christ. Jesus has accomplished all that was required for us to have peace with God. We are the “house” of God because of our connection to Him.
We still pray for the peace of Jerusalem, not only for the one city where David once longed to build a great temple to the Lord, but also for the church of Jesus Christ throughout the earth. We look for that day when the “holy city” will come down out of heaven from God. Even now, though we live in places of strife, our feet are standing within the gates of that new Jerusalem.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, we long for Your presence. We thank You for the blessing of worship in Your temple even now. Your Son is full of the Holy Spirit. In Him there is full peace. We are united to Him, and we are the temple of Your Spirit.