Sunday, January 15, 2017


verses 11-14

To build the wall or not to build the wall,
that is the question...

"The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For He has strengthened the bars of your gates,
He has blessed your sons within you.
He makes peace in your borders;
He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat."

Do live acknowledging the favor of the Lord?
Are you waiting for His lovingkindness?
He is waiting for your praise.

The King James says,
"The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him,
in those that hope in His mercy.

This is the bright picture contrasted to the darker shades of the previous verses which depict  what God does not take pleasure in, warlike preparations that represent relying on our own strength for the battle instead of trusting in His help, His mercy, His lovingkindness.  He wants us to hope, have confidence in Him.  Even more, He desires our love that bursts forth in praise.

Adam Clarke says, "To praise God is pleasant because it proceeds from love."

One reason we should praise Him is that He offers defense and security, peace, and abundant sustenance.  The literature translation of Jerusalem means "the vision of peace."  Wow, contrast that with the threats against the nation of Israel today! However, it tells us to align ourselves with the winning side, Israel.

Some say this was written after the Captivity, after Jerusalem was rebuilt starting with the walls for protection.  Remember Nehemiah assigned families to guard different sections of the wall with a weapon in one hand and a trowel in the other until the was rebuilt and until peace finally came to Jerusalem.  God strengthens the gates, not just for us, but for our sons, as a continuation of the blessing.

Matthew Henry says, "Just as they had gates and kept their gates barred in times of danger; but that would not have been an effectual security to them if God had not strengthened the bars of the gates and fortified their fortifications.  He makes peace in their borders.  For great plenty, the common effect of peace: the best wheat... The land of Israel was not enriched with precious stones not spices, but with the finest wheat, with bread that strengthens man's heart."

The name Bethlehem means "House of Bread."  Bethlehem is the birthplace of David.  It is also the birthplace of Christ.  The prophetic life of David points to the true bread that comes down out of heaven, the finest of wheat, the plenteous grace of God given in His Son, the grain of wheat that would die to produce a harvest.  We take the bread which represents the broken body of Christ, in remembrance of Him in communion. 

The question is, are we satisfied with this wheat?  Or do we crave, have insatiable desires that lead away from the true peace.  We need to let God fortify the gates of our heart so that we will dwell in His love and blessings.  So which side of the gate do you dwell?

Since taking part in the Daniel fast a few years ago, surviving mostly on grains, I became so sick for months that it finally led to a diagnosis of celiac disease meaning I cannot have wheat.  I know what it is to crave wheat, sour dough bread and homemade yeast sweet rolls! Even more than these physical pleasures, I crave the divine bread from heaven and am fed by His Word.

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