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Friday, November 4, 2016

PSALM 122



"I was glad when they said to me,
'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'
Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, that is built
As a city that is compact together;
To which the tribes go up,
even the tribes of the Lord--
An ordinance for Israel--
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there thrones were set for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.
'May peace be within your walls.
And prosperity within your palaces.'
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say,
'May peace be within you.'
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good."



The first verse is one of the most quoted,
especially if you taught children's church or Sunday School.

I'll let you in to a little secret: Sunday mornings getting off to church in a pastor's home is one of the most disturbing and difficult times of the week.  You don't want to know the weepings and wailings trying to get everyone dressed, fed and ready to go out the door.  Why ? We have an enemy of our soul who seeks to fracture our peace to keep us from saying,"I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'"   



Just making it through the church doors sometimes was a great victory!  For all practical purposes, a pastor's wife becomes a single parent on Sunday mornings: usually her man morphs into the pastor who disappears with a poof!  After all, who could prepare to preach if they entered into such chaos? What with a diaper bag, a purse, and Sunday School supplies in bags hanging from my arms, with a preschooler hanging from each of my legs while carrying a little one in my arms, I felt like a Viking Warrior Princess conquering the journey to the House of the Lord.  That is why my husband bought me a thin-lined Bible, the lightest one he could find hoping that a Bible wouldn't be the straw that broke the camel's back. 


Every Easter and other holidays for years, I had children at home with high fevers keeping me from the House of the Lord, usually because I had a solo to sing, or a program to lead.   One time I picked up  my toddler at church only to find a bare bottom because while in a hurry to arrive, I somehow had neglected to put them on under the little Sunday dress.  It wasn't a Shalom moment.   Anyway, you get the picture.


Years later,  my autoimmune issues kept me sometimes so captive, that I had to pray all the way to church, "O Lord, give me strength to make it," knowing that I would have a classroom of little children to teach when I arrived.   There were even a couple of years when my Sjogrens dried out my throat so much that I couldn't even sing with the congregation, rather coughed all through worship and children's church.  It was a great victory to be able to say, "Our feet are standing within your gates..."
Neither sleet nor snow, wind nor rain...
the show must go on!

Of coarse, the Psalmist who wrote this had bigger issues than this.  It is obviously the song of joy "When Cyrus published an edict for their return (from the Babylonian captivity,) the very first object of their thanksgiving was the kindness of God in permitting the to return to His ordinances..  For seventy years we have been exiled from  our own land: our heart was in Jerusalem, but our feet were in Chaldea.  Now God has turned our captivity, and our feet shall shortly stand within the gates of Jerusalem.  What a transition from misery to happiness!" 



"There is the ark where the presence of God is manifested; there is the Holy of holies; and there all the tribes assembled to worship Jehovah.  He no doubt alludes to the assembling of the tribes annually a each of the three grand national festivals...thrice in the year...Exodus 23 to celebrate their deliverance from Egypt in keeping the pass-over.  The giving of the law, in the feast of Pentecost.  Their preservation in the wilderness, in the feast of the Tabernacles (a nation-wide family campout in tents or booths of branches.)."




He exhorts the tribes to pray for the peace.  "And what must we think of the wretches, who not only do not thus pray, but labour to destroy the public peace, to subvert the government of their country, to raise seditions, and to destroy all its civil and religious institutions?  Think of them! Why that hemp would be disgraced by hanging them."  Hmm.




"I will seek thy good."

"For the maintenance of true religion.  
If religion fail, the kingdom will fail;
prosperity will be at an end, the nation will be divided, distracted, destroyed. 
Religion, the true religion in a country, is the consolation of the good,
and the bridle that holds the jaws of the wicked.--
Let all pray for the prosperity of pure and undefiled  religion;
and prosperity of the state!"
(Adam Clarke)


Read that last paragraph again...

Oh my!!!  Are we there yet? 

All these quotes from Adam Clarke are from the 1700's in England, but how relevant to our times, to our current election and our relationship to Israel so we can pray,
"Shalom," peace to Jerusalem.





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