Friday, March 07, 2008

Psalms of Ascent

Psalms of Ascent

Psalm 124 rang with poignancy and prophecy as I read it this morning.
My husband and I have just returned from Israel. The experience of being there is overwhelming in many ways. You are constantly reminded of the country’s history and its future, constantly reminded of God’s hand at work. Having read Epicentre, by Joel Rosenberg, just before going there, the echoes of past, present and future were everywhere.

Our tour guide, a very knowledgeable and respectful man named Moshe (Moses), often referred to a phrase that rings with determination in the Jewish mind – “Never again.” Never again will the Jews be persecuted in the way they were during WW2; never again will the Jews allow their people to be isolated and abandoned. Men like Moshe believe it is their military might and human skill that will save them. But Psalm 124 says - “If the Lord had not been on our side – let Israel say … if the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive…” (vs. 1-3).

As I left Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, I could not help but fear that, as Rosenberg believes, Israel will one day be isolated and abandoned once again – perhaps very soon. Her military might and human skill will not be enough to save her.

Standing on the heights of Megiddo and looking out on the Jezreel Valley, (see photo), I was chilled not only by the cool breeze but by the echo of prophecy that says that the enemies of Israel will descend upon them. But God will protect them. The Bible tells us thousands will die that day and all of Israel will know it was the hand of God.

But in the meantime there are wars and rumours of wars – death in the villages of Gaza and the Israeli towns bordering it and death in the city of Jerusalem itself.

Psalm 122 tells us, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem … may there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” (v.6,7).

Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to take those words to heart.

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