Why have so many wars been waged over Jerusalem? What is it about this city that so many have died for, and even today, continue to guard with their lives? Why, after thousands of years, do people still care about Jerusalem?
While leading my most recent tour here in Israel, I pointed out something that all ancient synagogues outside of Jerusalem shared: they all faced Jerusalem. As I was sharing with the group, I raised the question, “Where is Jerusalem for you?” I believe Jerusalem ought to hold a special place in the heart of every follower of Messiah. Why? Simply, because He loves Jerusalem, and we are to love what He loves.
The depth of Messiah’s love for Jerusalem is evident when he wept over Jerusalem because her inhabitants were unwilling to recognize Him, and He knew of her coming destruction:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
The Psalmist echoed God’s love for Jerusalem in Psalm 137:
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” Psalm 137:5-6
I believe the key word here is “if”; it reveals an assumption the Psalmist had that every person who loves the LORD already has a love for Jerusalem in his heart. Every person who believes in the one and only true God loves the things of God and should understand the importance of God’s city. Why do I call it “God’s city”? Well, this is the city where He chose to put His name:
“Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ 2 Chronicles 6:5,6 (emphasis mine)
Jerusalem is the city in which He chose to dwell, and it is the city to which He will return when He stands on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4). May we never forget Jerusalem! Forgetting Jerusalem is tantamount to forgetting how to speak, or how to work, or do anything skilled. That would be a terrible thing! If it’s so important to God, don’t you think it ought to be important to us, too?
Where is Jerusalem for you?
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Jerusalem is that beautiful city, the capital of Israel, that I was privileged to visit in 2013. It is the city and the country that I long to visit again. One day, I pray the Lord will give me that privilege . The Lord bless you. June Clapp.