Joshua 21:1-42; Luke 19:41-48; Psalms 89:1-16; Proverbs 20:26-27
NT: “As he approached and saw the city, he wept for it, saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come on you when your enemies will build a barricade around you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you and your children among you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in your midst, because you did not recognize the time when God visited you.” He went into the temple and began to throw out those who were selling, and he said, “It is written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to kill him, but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.” (Luke 19:41-48 CSB)
While all of the pilgrims heading to Passover were celebrating Jesus’ arrival with shouts of Hosanna, Jesus wept. He saw what no one else could see. He saw Jerusalem, the Holy City which was set apart for God glory, full of corruption, rebellion, greed, and the like. For generations, God had been sending prophet after prophet to Jerusalem, only to be rejected. The religious leadership of Israel that was headquartered in Jerusalem refused to recognize God’s visitation and His offering of peace. A temple that was supposed to be a house of prayer for all people and nations had become a place of greed, oppression, and opportunism. Jesus wept because He saw how Jerusalem and Israel had frittered away their calling. Jesus wept because He saw the inevitable judgement that would be coming to the City of God because of their refusal to welcome the Lord. He wept because those same hardened religious leaders would soon turn the crowds against Him and kill Him in order to maintain their rebellious ways. See the heart of the Father in Jesus’ tears. The Father desires for all to be saved, and it breaks His heart to see His loved ones have to suffer the consequences of their willful disobedience. Yet at the same time, He is perfectly just and perfectly loving – and in His love, does not force people to reciprocate. He simply loves and allows them to make their choice, whether that choice leads to life or death.
Psalms: “I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever; I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations with my mouth. For I will declare, “Faithful love is built up forever; you establish your faithfulness in the heavens.” The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever and build up your throne for all generations.’” Selah Lord, the heavens praise your wonders — your faithfulness also — in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies can compare with the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord?” (Psalms 89:1-6 CSB)
This Psalm, written by Ethan, appears to have been written during a time of crisis… a time when it appeared that God’s promises to David would not endure. It is possible that it was written when Egypt invaded Jerusalem during Rehoboam’s (Solomon’s son) reign and ransacked the temple. But before Ethan described the crisis and pleaded with God, he first proclaimed praise for the Lord and declared His unending faithfulness and mercy. No matter how unfaithful people are, God is always faithful… and He never forgets nor renounces His promises. We may look on our world, much like Jesus looked on Jerusalem, and be grieved. But as long as there is a remnant of faithful followers of the Lord, there is always hope… and the Father looks to and fro across the earth for those who will be faithful to His word, will, and ways that He may fulfill His promises through them.
Proverbs: “The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.” (Proverbs 20:27 CSB)
How do we stay above the fray? How do we keep ourselves from becoming corrupted by our degrading culture? How do we remain faithful to the Lord amongst a world of unfaithfulness? We open our lives up to the Lord’s light and allow Him to search our innermost parts. We allow His light to expose any darkness in us – then when it is exposed, we confess it, repent of it, and continue walking in faithfulness. If we remain clean before the Lord and allow Him to expose and expel any darkness, then we won’t be among those who do not recognize His visitation.