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Psalm 122: Joy in going to the house of the Lord

Psalm 122
Many believers understand the joy of going to church, but some do not. To some people, church is a chore or a bore. Some people consider church unnecessary because they commune with God in nature or in their own homes. Some believers also have had bad experiences with cruel or judgmental church people. But there is joy in being with God's people.

In the Bible, believers are told to not forsake the assembling of themselves together. There is, however, no law saying one must go to the house of the Lord every week. Nor does the Bible explicitly order Christian believers go to a temple specifically to worship God. The worship commandment is simply that one rests on the Sabbath. One worships God by refraining from one's own work, one's own righteousness, one's own life. In that way, one enters into the riches of God's own righteousness and into God's finished work.

The idea of entering into a building every week is not required. Yet, there is a blessing in meeting regularly with other believers in Christ. The sad truth is that the world's rules and ways are so different from God's ways that believers need continual communication with each other. Going to church is very much like meeting other sojourners from one's home country. Being with other Christians help to reinforce our citizenship in that heavenly country.

In the psalm, the psalmist moves from speaking about the House of the Lord to discussing God's true home - God's temple: Holy Jerusalem. The psalmist looks back on Jewish feast days in Jerusalem and looks ahead to the day when Israel will live securely. The psalmist calls for all his hearers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Why should believers all around the world pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Because God said that all the world would be blessed because of Israel. This is very true. Twenty-percent of Nobel scientists are Jewish. A large proportion of inventors, artists, and creatives are Jewish. Even when a Jewish person rejects his God, the blessing that God gave Jews to have the ability to affect and influence the world remains: hence even Marx and other Jewish atheists have influenced the world. No other people have blessed the world as much as the Jews have.

There's a kind of trendy hipster anti-Semitism nowadays which one must be careful of. Israel is by no means a perfect country, but no country is. Therefore let us Christians continue to pray for Jerusalem, the city of the Jews, because they are the people whose Scripture God has used to reveal Himself, the people through whom our Messiah Jesus was born, the people who preserved God's words for us, the people through whom all the world is blessed.

God has many temples: Believers are His temples. His Spirit resides in us. But His Spirit also calls us to our ultimate home, a building made without hands, the spiritual Jerusalem, our future heavenly home which we will in inhabit and which we now inhabit in spiritual ways we don't quite understand. As Paul wrote, we are seated in Christ in heavenly places.

1I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.