"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May they prosper who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!' For my brothers and companions' sake, I will now say, 'Peace be within you.' Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good" (Ps. 122:6-9).
David wrote Psalm 122. In this particular chapter, he implores us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This makes sense because David actually lived in the city of Jerusalem. He received the plans and made preparations for the temple that would later be built by Solomon in the city (1 Chron. 22-29). Obviously David would want peace in the city where God's house would be built.
If we think more about David's life, we realize God actually used Him to bring peace to Jerusalem. He conquered the city, and it was firmly established by God. The kingdom of Israel was so secure that his son Solomon dwelt in safety. "For he had dominion over all the region on this side of the River from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings on this side of the River, and he had peace on all borders of his land. Judah and Israel lived safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba all the days of Solomon" (I Kings 4:24-25).
Could Psalm 122 be a prophecy about a future time when Jerusalem would need prayers for peace? Jerusalem has been threatened or attacked many times in history. In 586 B.C., the city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Between 168-165 B.C., the city and surrounding area was severely persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes. In A.D. 70, the city was destroyed by the Romans. Between A.D. 135 and 138, Hadrian banned all the Jewish people from Jerusalem. Later, there were sorrows during the Muslim and Crusader occupations of the city.
In 1948, the nation of Israel was re-established. In 1967, the Jewish people retook the city of Jerusalem. From that time until now, the city of Jerusalem has been in constant danger. Terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda routinely make threats to carry out dreadful attacks. Recently, the leader of Hezbollah said he wanted to free Jerusalem from Israeli control. Almost daily the Jewish people are under warnings about rocket attacks from Palestinians.
Even countries are calling for action against Jerusalem. Turkey's president recently asked Muslims to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque as often as possible and called for an end to the Jewish "occupation" of Jerusalem. When the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt, the then President Mohammed Morsi called for Jerusalem to be made the capital of a new Palestinian state. Iran also announces threats to the Jewish people.
As we can see from these few examples, Jerusalem is under distress. Individuals and groups want to attack, supplant or destroy the city as long as God's people dwell within its walls. Perhaps more now than ever, Jerusalem needs prayer for peace.
We will explore this more in the next article and explain the special significance Psalm 122 has for Christians.
Kelly McDonald Jr. is an ordained evangelist at Hungry Hearts Ministries in Jackson, Tennessee. He has written over 40 books and booklets on pursing Christ, Hebrew roots and end-times prophecy. He is currently president of the Bible Sabbath Association (BSA). You can follow him at kellymcdonaldjr.com.
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