Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
by James Smith, 1860
To the Jew, there was a charm in the very name of "Jerusalem", it was to him the holy city, and the object of his warmest love. And that name has by use, become so associated with Christian churches, and our heavenly home, that it is almost as precious to us Christians. Indeed, with many of us, when Jerusalem is mentioned, we think, not of an earthly city — but of Christian privileges, or the glory that is to be revealed. Heaven is our Jerusalem, in the highest sense of the word, for there we shall have perfect peace. Where the Lord's spiritual people meet for worship — is our Jerusalem, in a subordinate sense, for there we enjoy the peace of God in the conscience, and are at peace one with another. I have just been reading the exhortation of the Psalmist, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you shall prosper." Psalm 122:6. And my mind at once reverted to the church of God at large, and then to the little hill where I meet with the brethren to worship; and as I did so, I thought of —
The Exhortation.The object to be prayed for is, "Jerusalem," which represents the church of God in four things:
1. Here the king resides. Yes, Jesus, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, not only meets with his people — but he dwells among them. They have his presence with them always, and when they meet for worship, he manifests himself to them. How often have we seen the goings of our God, the goings of our king in the sanctuary.
2. Here authority is exercised. The laws of Jesus are enforced, and godly discipline is kept up. Not only so — but there is authority in the word preached, which convinces, condemns, absolves, and sets at liberty, all who believe in his name.
3. Here the tribes meet. From different parts, and
places, the people come up. They meet . . .
as pilgrims, to enjoy rest;
as brethren, to enjoy communion;
and as the people of God to worship.
4. Here favors are conferred. The choicest, richest favors, which God can give!
The guilty, receive a pardon;
the hungry, obtain food;
the feeble, are strengthened and invigorated;
the ignorant, are instructed and informed;
the sorrowful, are comforted and cheered;
the miserable, find mercy; and
the necessitous, receive grace to help them in time of need.
Here it is, that the Lord . . .
satisfies the hungry with good things,
blesses the provision of his house,
and fills his poor with bread.
The blessing to be sought is "peace." Peace is the soul of both domestic and social happiness.
Peace! that is, freedom from foes. Especially from foes within.
Peace! that is union and cooperation, the body one, the members all working in harmony and love.
Peace, that is, brotherly affection, each looking upon all as brethren, and each loving the other, with fraternal love.
Peace! that includes, plentiful supplies. Supplies of temporal good, and supplies of spiritual blessings.
Pray then for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray alone, and in private. Pray together, in the family, and in the house of God. Pray, and pray with energy and fervor. Pray, and pray in faith. Pray, and pray with importunity. Pray, as for an object beloved. Pray, as for necessary and invaluable blessings!
The Inducement."Those who love you shall prosper." Here is a promise, a glorious promise, for all who love, serve, and intercede for the church of God. If we love the saints, we shall sympathize with them; and if we sympathize with them, we shall pray for them. As the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed, not for himself — but for his friends; so the Lord often grants us a peculiar blessing, when we are interceding for others, and employing our talents on their behalf.
Those who love and pray for God's people shall prosper;
the prosperity may not be temporal, though it often is — but it shall
be spiritual, and it frequently includes both. They shall . . .
grow in grace,
be strong in faith,
enjoy delightful fellowship,
realize solid happiness, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Let us ask then: Are we citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem? Do we love, pray for, and strive to aid the prosperity of the holy city? Are we enjoying the blessing of prosperity — soul prosperity? If not — why? God has promised, and he meant what he said. He has fulfilled his promise in the experience of thousands, then why not in ours? If we love Jerusalem, pray for her peace, and seek her good — we shall enjoy prosperity. This is God's highway to prosperity, let us therefore walk in it!