Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
“I was glad when they said to me, Let us go unto the house of The Lord. Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together. Where the tribes go up, the tribes of The Lord, to the Testimony of Israel to give thanks to the Name of the Lord for throes are set there for judgment. The thrones of the house of David. ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions I will now say ‘Peace be in You.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.” Psalm 122 A song of Ascents.
The “songs of Ascents” are literally the songs that were sung as the tribes made their way up to Jerusalem for the 3 feasts (Passover, Shavuot or weeks or Pentecost, and Sukkot or feast of tabernacles) that contain the command for all of the men of Israel to come up and worship here. They were to bring their offerings and to give thanks and be blessed. These songs are STILL sung today, both traditionally and even in music heard on the radio. And yes, as people still make their way up to Jerusalem during the feasts.
As I read this Psalm this morning as part of my regular devotions I thought first about Jerusalem being built as a “city that is compacted together.” I blurted out, “Why, Lord, did you bring me of all people to a city so compacted together when You made me one who longs for the quiet places?”
Yep, feeling low today. I still haven’t been feeling well and even missed kehila (our fellowship) last night. Indeed a rare event for me.
But His answer came quickly and without rebuke: “Write…tell them…see, hear, tell them…for I’m building My temple even here…My body is being built into a holy temple fit for My Presence…be My eyes and ears and witness for what I AM doing.”
“For the sake of my brethren and companions I will now say ‘Peace be in You.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.”
I thought about His body here (His house according to scripture), thinking of each face and of each one’s struggles. It isn’t easy being part of His body here and it can be lonely, although we are “a city compacted together,” we are also busy busy bees and very much spread out one from another.
Then I thought of each of you and those who I am NOT in contact with, but whom I have loved over the years, parts of His body, being built together for His glory into heavenly Jerusalem. Never an easy walk. For if we are truly being built together, we are being chiseled away and dropped deep into the Refiners fire.
So, enough of feeling low! Repent, brush it off and get busy doing what He told me to do and leave the rest to Him.
What DO my eyes and ears see here in Jerusalem at this time?
I imagine that most of you are pretty caught up in your own rapidly moving events during this world changing time. Well, yesterday a 25 year old Israeli was killed and another wounded as they returned from a hike. A Palestinian stopped them to ask for help, but after asking if they were Jewish he fired at point blank range. And just now a soldier was stabbed in the neck at the Old City’s Damascus Gate not too far from here. He is reported as fighting for his life.
The Iranian deal that our government has cried out against (to the irritation of the rest of the world) is looming before us. The boycott, divest, sanction movement against Israel has also forced itself into our daily reality as it is growing as an aggressive cancer worldwide. It really has become rather alarming in that it somehow legitimized the ugliest forms of anti-semitism, seemingly dead or at least stifled since WWII.
We are again inundated with weighty dignitaries from all over Europe seeking to and threatening to apply all sorts of pressure to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, restoring the indefensible ’67 borders, releasing prisoners, dividing Jerusalem and so forth. The Syrian war – so sad! – inches ever closer to us and the tension between the US leadership and the Israeli leadership continues to approach freezing levels. Plus, it’s Ramadan.
Not the most encouraging news.
I was thinking of that as I read a different portion in the scriptures this morning: John 7:42-53.
At one point the Pharisees quote the scriptures concerning the place of Messiah’s birth, but they did not apparently know that He had been born in Bethlehem. Later, they said, with Nicodemus present, “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him?” Although in several places as I read John it has already said that some of the leaders believed, but kept it quiet.
It made me think, really with trembling, that WE KNOW NOTHING except by THE DISCERNMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! It seems to me that The Lord has made us in a way that we CAN not discern His way BUT by The Spirit AND The Word working TOGETHER in our lives.
I’m saying this because as The Lord reminds me to be a witness to what I see, even that has to be weighed in the Light of His Word by His Spirit. The more I read The Word I wonder how I could have missed for so many years the centrality of His plans and purposes concerning the Jews and Israel in His heart. I DID miss it however, until He, by His Spirit, began planting a God-given hunger in me until He could speak more and more clearly and make me a better follower of Him.
But even in that, I don’t claim to have the entire picture: just the part that He has given me. Part of my part is to beg anyone who listens to me to SEEK HIS SPIRIT WITH HIS WORD. I’m pretty sure that you all know this and do it, and I’m probably as annoying as Netanyahu is when constantly says that the Iranian deal is a bad one. But it just seems to me that as the days get more and more dangerous, we need His discernment more and more. I hear so many who seem to be off on bunny-trails. May we major in Knowing Him and trust Him to lead us by His Spirit into all Truth; AND TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE TRUTH THAT WE HAVE.
So, Jerusalem is compacted together. Ha!
I came home from work on Thursday to see that the city had, for some reason TOTALLY unknown to me, lobbed off the large leafy limbs of the one tree in front of our apartment that thankfully had blocked my view (and somewhat muffled the noise) of the train, the traffic and the buildings. I was NOT happy!
There at the foot of the trunk laid a huge pile of greenery that I had DELIGHTED in. Possibly the thing that I enjoyed most about our apartment. I loved watching the birds right in front of my face as I looked out of the window or the balcony (merapeset), and they enjoyed me. Now there it was: our apartment, naked to the sight of everyone as the train stopped in front. My mouth fell open.
I wailed to my husband when I walked in the house, “WHY DID THEY DO THAT TO ME?”
“Huh?” he answered. “Who did what to you?” He hadn’t noticed. Different priorities.
‘Oh Lord, You have my attention! It’s noisy! It’s even LESS pretty here! So, here I am…Your servant… Yours to do with as You wish. Get glory…and HELP ME TO MEAN THAT”
As if to mock my prayer the dying branches laid in an ugly pile below my window. He answers prayer, but in His time. He brought us here for His purposes, and not for my comfort.
So, enough thoughts and comments. God bless you and encourage you in Him. I send my love,
Your sister J