a meditation on peace and prosperity

Psalm 147:12-20
For Sunday, January 4, 2009
Second Sunday after Christmas Day

As Israeli bombs fall on Gaza and financial stocks are down over 50% what comfort to know that the Lord yet offers us peace and prosperity. These are the themes of Psalm 147.

“Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat” (vv 12-14).

What are the keys to realizing this blessing? “The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground” (v. 6). “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in a better investment strategy” (v. 11). Oops, amend that: “… who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

“But,” you might object, “isn’t this promise just for Jerusalem?” This is what the text says (v. 12). The underlying question though is who is Jerusalem? In the New Testament it becomes explicit that ‘Jerusalem’ connotes more than just a geographic city in Israel. The Apostle Paul points this out to the Galatians when he says, “. . . But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother” (Gal. 4:26). The author to the Hebrews concurs: “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God . . . to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven . . . to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 12:22-24).

Let us therefore humble ourselves on this first day of 2009. Let us commit our way to the Lord and see if the result does not turn out better than the result of 2008. Let us put our hope in his unfailing love and see if our borders are not strengthened and our pantries filled with the finest of wheat.

Happy New Year.

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