Sunday, September 14, 2008

pSunday Psalms: PSALM 122

Psalms 120-122 are like a mini-collection within the Psalms of Ascent, taking us from the pilgrim's home, then along the road until he arrives at the place he is going.
  • Psalm 120 describes where the pilgrim lives and establishes his hunger for God’s shalom.
  • Psalm 121 foresees the pilgrim’s journey and expresses the assurance that God will keep him through all its challenges.
  • Psalm 122 anticipates the pilgrim’s destination and looks forward to the shalom and good that come to those who arrive there.
Psalm 122 focuses on Jerusalem, the destination of the righteous pilgrim. Jerusalem is described here as:
  • The place where the house of Lord is
  • The place where God’s people dwell together
  • The place where all Israel goes to give thanks to God
  • The place where God’s Davidic King rules and renders judgment
If, as is likely, this collection in its final form was meant to encourage the exiles returning from captivity, the second part of the psalm makes perfect sense as an expression of their longing for peace and prosperity within the city which had been ruined but was now being restored.

Jerusalem is a powerful image in Scripture. From Genesis, as the place where the priest-king Melchizedek appears, to the Book of Revelation, which describes a New Jerusalem, this city upon Mt. Zion has been at the heart and center of God’s plan for history. King David established it as the place of God’s rule, and his son, Jesus, faced the climactic events of his ministry there, weeping over the city that crucified him.

According to the Bible, the destination of the Christ-following pilgrim is the New Jerusalem, the city that will one day descend from heaven and fill the earth with God’s glory. On that day people from all nations will flow to the mountain of the Lord to worship and learn from the King of kings. The world will be put to rights and peace will cover the globe.

Today, as so often through history, Jerusalem is a place where conflict and strife reign—it represents the rest of the world that is groaning as it awaits its deliverance. And so, on our journey through this world, we continue to pray and work for the things that Jerusalem has always idealized, and that the New Jerusalem will bring to fulfillment—the worship of God through his Messiah, the unity of all nations, justice, true prosperity and goodness, and above all, shalom.

No comments: