“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” pens the songwriter in Psalm 122. As he stood within Jerusalem’s gates he was overwhelmed and compelled to pray, and to ask others to pray, for the security and prosperity of the blessed place on a hill. He would desire that the city would know shalom. He would seek the city’s good.
And not because of its location. Not because of its architecture. Only to a lesser extent because it was the seat of government, the place were “the thrones of judgment were set.” But because of what was present within the walls of the favored city of Jerusalem.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
(Psalm 122:1-2 ESV)
Jerusalem was holy ground because within it was the house of God. A special place because of a special presence.
And I have a bit of that sense this morning as I wrap up a week of hanging out with some special people.
The place is Cedar Canyon Camp and Retreat center just outside of Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s been a special place. It’s been a peaceful place. It’s been a holy place because on its red dirt has stood the house of God. Not great stones hand chiseled and fitted together to create towering walls, but living stones joined and knit together by the hand of God to create a living temple where He has dwelt through His Spirit.
Been hanging out with, and somewhat in a awe of, a bunch of Village Missions missionary pastors and their families this week. (Not that I’m one of them, just privileged to have a small part in serving them). Been hanging out with the family of God. Have been standing within the gates of Cedar Canyon Camp and have been, like the songwriter, glad to be with the house of the LORD.
Something revitalizing about being with God’s people, singing of God’s gospel, hearing from God’s word, rejoicing in God’s faithfulness, even as we talk about the realities and hardships of trying to do God’s calling. Something about being with the house of God within the gates of His grace that causes you to be refreshed as you remember His goodness. Cut off somewhat from the world and its day-to-day, being with the saints and continually focused on our salvation has a way of renewing our thirst for that day when we will be together again with the Savior.
Heading home today. Leaving this holy place.
And looking forward to being back with the saints in another place on Sunday. Another location where His peace dwells. Another place where His glory resides.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Might we know the psalmist’s longing anticipation to hang out with the house of the LORD, His set apart yet imperfect people, this weekend. Might we be in a bit of awe as to the wonders of grace that takes sinners and makes them saints. That takes those who once had hearts of stone and makes them into a living temple for the Creator. That takes the ordinary, the works in progress, and makes them His holy habitation.
Let us be glad for the house of God.
Because of grace. For His glory.