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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The God of this City (Isaiah 30:19)

"O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you."

The capital of Israel is the center of Judaism, the birthplace of Christianity and Islam's holy city. Jerusalem has known numerouse wars. It has been destroyed numerous times only to be rebuilt time and again. The promises of God and the temple mount (where Solomon's temple sat which housed the Ark of the Covenant) set apart the ancient city of Jerusalem from all other ancient cities. One noted scholar describes Jerusalem:
At its highest peak sits "Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount, [which] is 130 feet above the City of David and provides for a central holy place. This was the ‘threshing floor of Arauna’ (2 Sam. 24) and probably had been a Jebusite holy area as well. The tabernacle was set here and the Ark brought to rest in its Holy of Holies. Given its dual function as administrative center and holy place for the entire nation, Jerusalem prospered. The resulting symbol of unity was paradoxical. A poorly endowed village had become a crucial religious and political center. Its central holy place was even lower than the hills about it. God’s exaltation of this common place became an important motif in Israelite theology" (Ps. 68:15-16; Ezek. 16:1-10) Achtemeier, Paul J. ; Harper & Row, Publishers ; Society of Biblical Literature: Harper's Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. San Francisco : Harper & Row, 1985, S. 466
Jesus mourns over Jerusalem, "“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing" (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34).

Wars have been fought over this arid piece of property and it has known little peace through the centuries. Isaiah, however, prophecies of a coming day when the inhabitants of Jerusalem will know peace and no longer weep. The Psalmist promises blessings to those who pray of its peace, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you" (Psalm 122:6). We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The following song, The God of this City, written by Bluetree about an Asian city also captures the heart of God for the city of Jerusalem:
[Verse 1]You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are
[Verse 2]You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
You are
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
[Chorus]For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

God has marked Jerusalem for Himself. He is the God of that city. 

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Isaiah 29:1-32:20
  • What reason is given to explain why the scroll can't be read?
  • How are the inhabitants of Jerusalem described?
  • Isaiah mentions a day when the scroll is read. What will happen to those who hear its words?
  • According to Revelation 5:1-10 who is the only one who can open and read this scroll?
  • Why does the Lord pronounce a woe against Israel?
  • What is the Lord's attitude toward those who cry out to Him and trust in Him?
  • What is the penalty for trusting in others instead of trusting in the Lord?
  • What does the Lord promise the Spirit will do for Israel?
Turning truth into prayer
Pray for the city of Jerusalem. Pray for her people. Pray that she will embrace her Messiah.