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Rejoicing

Rejoicing

Words of Faith 12-10-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 19:28 

       After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

 

       Pilgrims going to Jerusalem for the great feasts would climb the hills from the east as they ascended toward the Temple in Jerusalem.  These Psalms were said aloud and meditated upon as they made their way over each vista in the road.  

 

Psalm 122   A song of ascents.  Of David.

    I rejoiced with those who said to me,

        "Let us go to the house of the Lord."

    [2] Our feet are standing

        in your gates, O Jerusalem.

    [3] Jerusalem is built like a city

        that is closely compacted together.

    [4] That is where the tribes go up,

        the tribes of the Lord,

    to praise the name of the Lord

        according to the statute given to Israel.

    [5] There the thrones for judgment stand,

        the thrones of the house of David.

    [6] Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

        "May those who love you be secure.

    [7] May there be peace within your walls

        and security within your citadels."

    [8] For the sake of my brothers and friends,

        I will say, "Peace be within you."

    [9] For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

        I will seek your prosperity.

 

        "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?"  We know or can remember the voices from the back of the car on summertime road trips.  The anticipation of the destination is much of the fun!  This Psalm was recited on the way to the great feasts with a great sense of anticipation!  Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem. 

         Jerusalem is like no other city in the world.  It is not only the gathering place of the tribes, it is the place of ultimate judgment and justice.  The "house of the Lord" was the political center symbolized by "the thrones for judgment." In the past, the kings of Judah ruled by divine right and upheld God's kingship to the extent that they were faithful in dispensing justice. 

        But this was also a place of a hopeful future.  The New Jerusalem plays heavily in the conclusion of things at the return of Messiah.  No wonder there was rejoicing.  For Jesus it must have been and interesting mixture of images.  Jerusalem was the city of peace but soon would be a place of war.  The great confrontation between good and evil would take place there at Calvary where an ultimate and final sacrifice would be made.  The Enemy would be defeated.  But this is also the place where Jesus will return in glory.  This is the place of ultimate victory.  

         This Psalm also longs for the peace of Jerusalem.  The name Jerusalem means "city of peace" yet it had been destroyed and rebuilt many times.  The earnest prayer is that "Peace" (shalom), "security" (shalwah), and "prosperity" (tob) will benefit all the people of God, as it was in the days of David.  It is a prayer for "those who love" Jerusalem and for "my brothers and my friends.”

        But the Psalm is mostly about rejoicing.  I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."  The language here is interesting.  The opening verse can be translated as "I rejoice whenever they say to me."  There is a great sense of joy in the invitation to go to the house of the Lord. 

        In our spiritual journey, there is usually a turning point in which we discover the JOY of going to worship.  For some, it is in the moment of salvation.  This was often the case for those who were healed by Jesus. 

         For those of us growing up in church, often we were programmed to not enjoy worship.  Worship was often imposed as an obligation or motivated by guilt, neither of which stirs up joy.  Worship was often somber or so predictable that it stirs nothing very real.  We can become programmed to resist worship or to be bored by it.  It is interesting that children do not respond in this way. They usually worship easily and with great joy, but the church often quenches that joy.  By teen years the church has often created great resistance in a young person to worship.  Many people are dragged to church by family or friends. 

       But there is a turning point in which our spirit responds with JOY to the suggestion of worship.  The pilgrim is thrilled with the possibility of traveling to worship.  There is a renewal of the spirit that rises as a longing to be with the people of God and discover the peace of God.  This is not just a matter of finding a "better show" in a different venue.  Worship is not about entertainment.  It is always about our response to God's wonder and grace. 

       How is your worship life?  Faithful and regular?  That is not exactly what this is about, even though those are good qualities.  Does your heart leap with joy when someone suggests that you go to the house of the Lord for worship?  Joy is not something we "work up.”  Joy is something we find within because of the Spirit of God.  Joy is something we surrender to. 

        I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."  I said, "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?"

 

        Father God, stir in me the kind of rejoicing that cannot wait to be with God's people.  Spark in me a rejoicing that is eager to worship You at all times.  Strike me with wonder and awe.  I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the peace of God's people and God's house.  In Jesus' name.