Monday, May 31, 2010

6/1/10- Preparation day 7 (to go)- Psalm 122

Preparation Day -7 (6/1) Psalm 122

1 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, 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 stand the thrones for judgment, 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 friends and of all the people, I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.

(Damascus Gate- and Beautiful/Golden Gate- now plugged. Jesus used the Beautiful Gate often).

This is a Psalm of rejoicing for the pilgrims who finally arrive in Jerusalem. They are marveling about Jerusalem- the way the houses are close together, and the wonder of finally being in the gates of the Holy City. The gates were the place for the judgment thrones. For those of us not there yet, standing in the gates of Jerusalem is something to look forward to. A second theme is here- it is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Jerusalem (literally the city of peace) has often been a city in conflict. Caleb conquered it in about 1300 B.C. David Conquered it about 1050 B.C. The Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks sacked it. It has been destroyed twice: by the Babylonians in 561 B.C. and the Romans in 70 A.D. Overall, Jerusalem has been besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 638. Crusaders in 1099. The Muslims under Saladdin re-conquered it in 1167. In 1917 Ottomon rule of Jerusalem ended and British rule began. In 1948 the State of Israel began. In 1967 during the six-day war, the Jews gained control of all of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been involved in many wars by some of the world’s greatest powers. Jesus talked about its being at the center of the last great war (Armageddon) at the end of history. This week there is tension over Gaza- it is a good time to pray. So, we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for Jerusalem’s peace often means the peace of the world.

Prayer: Lord, we look forward to standing in the gates of Jerusalem. We pray for a peaceful trip, and for the peace of Jerusalem.

5/31- Lift Up My Eyes to the Mountains Psalm 121

Preparation Day -8 (5/31) Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

(Jerusalem from the mount of Olives)

Which mountains is the Psalmist talking about- "I lift up my eyes to the mountains"? Jerusalem is formed on two mountains- Mt. Zion and Mt. Moriah. Traditionally, God’s help comes down from his presence at the temple. Again, this is a pilgrim’s psalm (Psalm of ascent). It promises that God will help us, not let our foot slip as we travel (give us travelling mercies/safety), watch over us to comfort us as we travel (shade by day, and guard us at night). He will watch over our coming to Jerusalem and going back home- and the promise was not just for thousands of years ago, but for our time as well. This is one of my favorite Psalms.

Prayer: Thank you, God that you watch over us, and give us help.

5/30/10- Psalm 120

WHY A DAILY DEVOTIONAL? Pilgrimage is an ancient practice. God even commanded that his people (if they could) go to Jerusalem each year for the Passover and Feast of Booths. A strong tradition grew up, and Psalms were written for these pilgrimages. Psalm 84 is an example, but Psalms 120-127 are called “Psalms of Ascent.” They were read (probably sung and memorized) as people ascended (climbed) the temple mount- Mt. Moriah. They also were read as people traveled many hundreds or thousands of miles to come to Jerusalem. If even scripture sees the need for devotionals as people come, then it makes sense that we do too- for our particular trip. It is a blessing that we have computers and can tailor make our trip and out devotionals to suit. I hope this devotional will help you get more out of each day of our trip and you will be drawn closer to God, seeing the invisible underneath the visible.

Preparation Day -9 Psalm 120 (5/30)
Preparation Day -8 Psalm 121 (5/31)
Preparation Day -7 Psalm 122 (6/1)
Preparation Day -6 Psalm 123 (6/2)
Preparation Day -5 Psalm 124 (6/3)
Preparation Day -4 Psalm 125 (6/4)
Preparation Day -3 Psalm 126 (6/5)
Preparation Day -2- Psalm 127 (6/6)
Preparation Day- -1 Psalm 84 (6/7)
DAY 1- (6/8) Traveling Psalm 139
Day 2- (6/9) Isaiah 9:1-3;
Day 3- (6/10) Matthew 5; Matthew 11:20-24
Day 4- (6/11) John 4; Lk. 4:24-30
Day 5- (6/12) Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-15
Day 6- (6/13) Matthew 23:37-39
Day 7- (6/14) Luke 21:5,6; John 5:1-8
Day 8- (6/15) 1 Samuel 23;9; Ezek. 47:8,9
Day 9- (6/16) Isaiah 56:5 (Yad Vashem)
Day 10- (6/17) Arrival Back- Psalm 137:5,6; Matthew 28:18-20
Preparation Day -9 (5/30) Psalm 120

1 I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
2 Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
3 What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
4 He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush. 5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

(Tents of Kedar- Kurdish tents)

How is this a Psalm of going to Jerusalem? It expresses two deep felt ideas: 1) That we need to be saved or escape from those who speak evil of us; and 2) That those who are for peace should seek Him.
It expresses the desire/need to get away from those who do evil and speak evil of us when we do good. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael. The Meshek were descendants of the sixth son of Japheth (Gen. 10:2)- who many say become the Moscovites in Russia. In other words, his pilgrimage was from very far away (thousands of miles). – But also he was saying too long has he lived among his tents. His real home (not a tent) was with the people of God. He meant he had lived among those who didn’t believe in his God, and spoke of him in derogatory and even persecuting ways.
He also says he seeks peace. The word “Jerusalem” literally means “foundation of peace.” To go to Jerusalem means to seek peace with God- away from those who are for destruction and sin.

Prayer: Lord, be my refuge, my shelter, my rock, my still waters, green pastures, quiet peace. As I prepare to travel to the land you chose long ago for your people, grant me your peace and strength.