WITHIN THESE WALLS
Advent God, be with me in Your fullness as I journey to the stable and beyond.
Read PSALM 125
A song of ascents.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
4 Lord, do good to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
5 But those who turn to crooked ways
the Lord will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be on Israel.
Settle yourself into a favorite armchair. Feel the comfort, the security. Relax.
Jerusalem, like many strategic cities, originated within a landscape that provides natural fortifications. Hills rise on every side, ensuring that approaches to the city can be easily defended. So those who trust in the Lord are similarly protected, secure in the surrounding love of the Father, not just for now but for evermore. Yet there is moral accountability required on the part of those who are within the walls of the Lord’s community. In this psalm we are given the sense that over the land hovers an influence, a temptation to turn in the direction of crooked ways. Like a Trojan horse allowed to enter the stronghold, like a fifth column active within, this influence can cause even the righteous to slip into unrighteous activities.
It’s reassuring to belong to a strong local church. There is practical support, caring relationships, inspiring worship, and prayerful intervention. Yet there is also a moral accountability applicable to each one of us. The temptations are there. Many of us will be able to illustrate them: close, intimate friendships have been known to undermine marriages. Leadership giftings have given way to power struggles between factions. The loudest voice has dominated, while the quiet voice has gone unheard. Finances have mysteriously been spent. Gossip and the revelation of confidential details in the context of prayer ministry have caused immeasurable hurt. Even within the walls there is the risk of turning aside from God’s righteousness.
The psalm ends with a blessing, a benediction and an invitation for God’s peace, harmony, security, and wholeness to rest not only in Jerusalem but across the whole of Israel.
Pray against the influence within your church of the three primary temptations: money, sex, and power. Thank God for all who contribute to making you feel safe and secure there.
Gracious Father, You do not change and You are my dwelling place. I praise You that I am able to stand firm in You.