Our psalmist is looking at the city of Jerusalem; the city which bore the name of the Lord. “Peace be within you for the sake of the Lord.”
I did a little paraphrasing there. I believe I kept the original intent though. Jerusalem was a VERY special city to the people of Israel as it was the site of the House of the Lord. For that reason alone it was regarded with honor.
Jerusalem was where the first permanent structure was made to house the presence of God. Before this, there was the Tabernacle which traveled about with the people. After Joshua and the children of Israel conquered the land, the Tabernacle was set up at Shiloh. This is where it remained until Eli’s sons carried the Ark of the Lord into battle and lost it to the Philistines. Sometime later, the empty Tabernacle was moved to Nob. We know this because this is where it was during the reign of King Saul. This is where he had the priests slaughtered after David received help there.
During David’s reign he had the Ark brought into another tent that he had set up for it in Jerusalem. God had returned His Ark to His people over 20 years ago but it remained in a single man’s house where it rested; the home of Abinadab. It never again occupied the Tabernacle. Once David had it brought to Jerusalem, I believe this became where the people of Israel would seek their Lord. The Tabernacle remained the place for required sacrifices but God’s presence was in Jerusalem.
When Solomon completed the first Temple the Tabernacle was taken down and stored within the Temple. The two parts had become one again. Jerusalem was now the official place for God’s people to seek Him. This city was special and holy. God’s people prayed for its safety and for peace within her walls. That’s our psalmist’s prayer too. Not for the fame of its name but for the fact that this was the place God chose to meet with His people.
The Temple was built, destroyed, and rebuilt three times. The final time was 70 years after Jesus’ work on the cross. God waited until the church was established in the hearts of His people, both Jews and Gentiles, before removing it. His home is now in the hearts of His children. No longer is there one specific place to seek Him.
This does not diminish the historical importance of Jerusalem. Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Israel had the very presence of God dwelling among them but they still sought after idols. There were even times that those idols were brought into the very heart of God’s House! God would NOT let that stand. He will not tolerate idols in His new habitation either.
As our psalmist prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, we need to pray for that same peace in God’s new dwelling place. And that peace starts with having Him wholly on His throne. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is peace. There was no peace in Jerusalem when the idols present. There is no peace in our hearts when idols reside there too.
God has plans to redeem Jerusalem. This will be the site of Jesus’ earthly throne. This is where our prayers need to be directed concerning that city now. Prepare the hearts of her people for His return. This necessitates praying that they recognize Jesus as their Savior first.
Father God, prepare and clean my heart too. Remove ANYTHING that resides within me that tries to set itself in Your place. Help me have a right attitude towards all the historic places of Your word. I would like to someday see the places where Jesus walked but I don’t want to idolize them. I certainly don’t want to forget the lessons learned on those very streets!
I do pray for the peace of the people in Jerusalem. I pray they receive the peace that comes from You. A peace that man cannot give or understand. Guard the hearts of You children living in that area and speak to the hearts of those searching for truth. I realize there probably won’t be physical peace until in that area of the world until Jesus returns but His people can have peace in their hearts anyway. Thank You for that peace.