Thursday, May 27, 2010

Glad to Go / Prepared to Pray - Psalm 122

"I was glad when they said to me,
'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'
Our feet are standing within your gates,
O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, that is built
as a city compact together;
to which the tribes go up,
even the tribes of the Lord -
an ordinance for Israel -
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there thrones were set for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
'May they prosper who love you .
May peace be within your walls,
and prosperity within your palaces.'
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, 'May peace be within you.'
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God
I will seek your good."
(Psalm 122)

David is glad to go to the house of God. Here is one who did private worship well - very well! Throughout the Psalms his personal prayers, meditative musings, and soulful songs are laid out for us. This is a man who knew how to spend honest, heartfelt time with his God. He glorified gladly within his own house.

Yet David knew that true religion is more than just a "personal relationship" it is also involves public practice and corporate communion. David loved gathering together with the saints in the worship of God.

Psalm 122 gives us a grand glimpse into David's love for the church of the Old Testament and it has granted me a growing groaning for the church of our own day and time. I hope it will you as well. With David, can you and I honestly say "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord"?

Two simple points jumped out at me this morning regarding David's love for the church and are serving as a catalystic hinge pin for examining my own.

David's love for the church was evidenced in the fact that he was glad to go. "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD."

When his fellow believers said, "Hey Dave, let's go and worship our God," David jumped for joy. He hopped to the head of the line. He ran eagerly to the temple. He went to worship. And he went GLADLY!!

Those that love God should react in the same manner today. We should leap for joy and be filled with gladness when our friends say to us, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."

Might I ask, are we glad to go? And if not what does that tell us either about our own heart or about our current congregation?

Oh how we should be glad to go! A biblically functioning church - a church where the word is faithfully preached, where discipline and accountability are mericfully ministered, where fellowship is sweet, where the sacraments are regularly given - is a small taste of heaven on earth. It is through the church of Christ that we find "our feet standing within [God's] gates."

A gospel church is a foretaste of glory.

"When our journey here is tedious we should comfort ourselves with this - we shall be in the heavenly Jerusalem shortly and that shall make ammends for all the fatigues of our journey." (Matthew Henry)
Are we glad to go?

David's love for the church was evidenced in his preparedness to pray. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem....I will now say, 'May peace be within you' for the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good."

David was not only glad to go, he was prepared to pray.

Our prayer life says much about our love life. (I confess that is a personally convicting statement and one that our gracious God has been mercifully dealing with me on over the course of the past year. By grace I am learning.) The things that we most love are often the things that we most meditate upon and if our devotion to them is truly God-centered, will we not dutifully lay them before His throne?

David loved the church and his spoken lip service was backed up by his active prayer service. He prayed for the peace of Jerusalem.

Several specific points of his prayer are laid out in the closing verses of Psalm 122.

1. David prayed for the prosperity of the people who loved Christ's church. "May they prosper who love you." Might I ask - are we praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we praying that God might grant them true prosperity (not particularly financial nor physical - though those are worth of our intercession). Are we praying for their prosperity that they might be used for gospel prosperity? Are we interceding for the saints?

2. David prayed for the protection of Christ's church. "May peace be within your walls." Are we praying for unity among those within her walls and safety from those without? Are we praying that the gospel church might grow and flourish and be spared from unseemly blemishes and from harrowing attacks?

3. David prayed for proper provisions of leadership in Christ's church. "May prosperity be within your palaces." Are we praying for our leaders - praying that God would raise future leaders up and sustain those who already are serving? Are we standing in the gap for our pastors, our elders, and our deacons? They often stand in the gap for us and are so regularly the objects of the fiery flaming arrows of discouragement, temptation, and exhaustion. Are we praying that God will prosper them in their efforst to prosper the Kingdom of Christ?

David owned the call to prayer. He not only exhorted others to do so but took it upon himself to hit his knees.

"I will now say, 'May peace be with you.' For the sake of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good."

He was committed to pray for the peace of the church and he did so all for the glory of God and for the good of the saints.

David was glad to go and prepared to pray. Are we?

In His glorious grace,

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