Sunday, September 21, 2014

God will take delight in Jerusalem

You (Jerusalem) shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her. Isaiah 62:4.

Jacob’s children are chained to this city and the land of Israel. Through nearly two thousand years of dispossession and oppression their Passover lament was ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’ Nations have ravaged the city throughout history. Today it is still a centre for international dilemma and anxiety. Jesus wept over it. At the same time He knew it had a brighter destiny. Matthew 23:37-39.

The story of Jerusalem is a love story between the Covenant keeping Lord and a fickle and faithless people. Why would the Lord endure such unfaithfulness and disobedience? ‘For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.’ (Romans 11:29. We should take heart from this and the Lord’s patience and discipline on Jerusalem. Why? Because the Church isn’t any better behaved! Also, there are many of us who have been wanderers from the ‘straight and narrow path.’ We enjoy stressing the wonder of the promise nothing is able to separate us from the Love of God in Romans 8:35-39. On what do we base such an awesome hope? The apostle Paul gives an unequalled illustration in Romans 9-11. It is the Lord God’s unchanging commitment to Israel based upon His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Jerusalem has a great destiny foreshadowed in Scripture. Why then did Jesus weep over it? Because He knew their obstinate, unbelieving heart and the hatred of the Gentile Nations would bring calamity before fulfilment. But the suffering Servant’s love for His city knew the prophetic writings. Did you grasp the significance of two words in the opening verse?  ‘No more’. When you read the prophets take note of these and similar words such as ‘never’ ‘never again’. They are a statement of the Suffering Servant having redeemed men and women ushering in the final aspect of His mission. The Messiah will reclaim Israel as His own. To do that Jesus Christ will be the Lord God of Hosts, the Warrior Lord.

You will understand such unmistakeable declarations do not go unchallenged. Unbelief mixed with hardened, corrupt and deceived minds will seek to occupy and destroy Jerusalem.  Such opposition endeavours to deny the Lord the city praised as the place of the great King. (Psalm 48) The sad laughter of God in Psalm 2 over their folly is recorded to warn against joining their ranks.

Isaiah 62:1 pictures the Lord God as restless. He has His own timeline for the coming events. However, the Lord waits impatiently for it to be time. He delays so that all the preparations will be completed. As with the first coming being in the fullness of time, so it will also be with His return. God’s ‘delay’ is giving men and women round the world time to move to His side. Jesus couldn’t put it any plainer than ‘if you’re not with me you are against Me.’ (Matthew 12:30)

Isaiah’s picture of the Lord God’s plan for Jerusalem is to make ‘her a crown of beauty … and a ‘royal diadem in the hand of your God.’ This will not be a secret affair It will be the God of Heaven’s vindication of His choice in placing His name in that city. We live in a World of instant news. We read of the volatile situations in the Middle East and scratch our heads about how things will ever work out. Unbelief will tell us the Bible has it wrong. It is too impossible to accept the future portrayed for Jerusalem and the Land. People said that about Bethlehem and Calvary and the return of Israel to the Land. We do not have to understand the ‘How’ but we must stand firm on the ‘Will.’

‘Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts shall be called the holy mountain.’ (Zechariah 8:3) ‘I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in my people…’ (Isaiah 65:19) (Emphasis added)



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