A United Jerusalem of Shalom
After the celebration of Psalm 121, described as a poetic and “perfect expression of trust in God” (A.Cohen), we step up to the next psalm, which also begins in Hebrew with the word שיר – shir – song. We know with assurance that the Almighty is with us as we steadily draw closer on our ascent to His City, where His Presence and Holy Name are housed in a supernatural and yet in a real and physical way.
Psalm 122 opens a window, as it were, on the uniqueness of Jerusalem and describes how one’s heart is drawn to “go up to the House of the Lord”. What joy is experienced when “our feet are standing in her gates.” Yeshua had a great love for Jerusalem. Whenever he was in the city, he constantly visited the Temple , which he referred to as “my Father’s House.”
Why did God choose this particular mount? The Bible, together with both Jewish and Christian commentary and literature, offers many reasons. Here, Adam was created, God summoned Abraham to offer his son Isaac. Jacob was stopped here on his journey of escape from Esau and, as he slept with a stone as a pillow, had the dream/vision of the ladder reaching Heaven and awoke with the revelation that this was the Place of God. This is where, according to King David’s design, in accord with the blueprint of God, the Holy Temple was built. This, then, is the mount God chose to be His dwelling place on earth forever; the place where physical and spiritual would merge and meet in a unique way, as in an intimate kiss from the Beloved.
Verse 5 makes a sudden and dramatic prophetic proclamation, which places the Psalm in the future setting of the Messianic Age when Messiah the Son of David will be reigning from the city,
“Indeed, there were set the thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.”*
The knowledge of the One God of Israel will then be filling the earth as the waters cover the seabed (Isaiah 11:9) and all nations will be streaming up to Jerusalem. We, today, are privileged to be witnesses to the beginnings of this fulfilment.
With this awareness in mind, we then are exhorted in verse 6 to: “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” – שאלו שלום ירושלים – Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim. The repetition of the ‘sh’ of the letter ‘shin’ in the opening phrase is a lovely shushing sound; like waves lapping on the shore or the sound a mother makes as she gently calms and lulls her baby to sleep in her arms. The verse concludes with Yishlahv ohava’tayich – ישלהו אהבתיך – “May those who love you find tranquility- shalvah” .
Those who love her, and are united with her, and pray for Jerusalem’s peace, indeed are blessed with peace and tranquility of spirit in return; for such is the heart and will of our Father for His House.
Todah Abba! Thank You Father!
* Translation, Benjamin J.Segal, ‘A New Psalm’