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Our Jerusalem Connection (part 3)

Post Title: David's Passion for Presence

David is a model of how to pursue God and his purposes—the restoration of Israel and the church's maturation. Our Father, whose name is holy, wants shalom for his people. He wants to equip you to rise up in your high calling for such a time as this.

There are fifteen Psalms of Ascent (120-134) sung by pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem. They anticipate worshipping at the house of the LORD during the great festivals. Psalm 132 is a fascinating psalm that relates both to the restoration of Israel and the perfecting of the church. It has two movements: the first part recalls David's pledge (vv. 1-10), and the last part remembers Yahweh's promise (vv. 11-16).

The people petition ...

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,

and let your saints shout for joy. (9)

The priests echo the prophetic response ...

Her priests I will clothe with salvation,

and her saints will shout for joy. (16)

If you are a pilgrim who wants to go up to Jerusalem—into the power and presence of the Lord—then yours must be the way of passion.

David was passionate. He wasn't perfect, far from it. But he was devoted, described as a man after God's heart. Yahweh is described as a passionate God. This word is rendered as jealous and is always used in the context of Israel's betrothal to him. God is jealous for his bride; he is passionate for his people. Likewise, we must be passionate for him.

Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place,

you and the ark of your might. (Ps 132:8)

As David brought the ark into Jerusalem, he humiliated himself by taking off his royal garments and dancing before the Lord with all his might. Some of us come from a heritage in which we are afraid of our emotions. That is part of our Greco-Roman heritage. We tend to think of the spiritual world—the immaterial, the abstract—as being the godly, the true, and the perfect in contrast with this material world which is fleshly and fallen.

Dear friends, our God is a passionate God, his Son Jesus was a passionate man, and we too must be a passionate people. There is nothing intrinsically unholy about our emotions. The issue is how they are channeled and expressed. We must be devoted with all of our being to pursue the building up of a holy habitation for God.

When we are passionate for God, his priorities become our preoccupations.

It is very easy in the world in which we live to be hyper-stressed, our mind totally pre-occupied with the cares of life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things. Dr. Richard Swenson, in his excellent book Margin, details how we are all living under a historically unprecedented amount of stress that is doing damage to us as the people of God.

David models that the way of pilgrimage for us in this world is to make God's priorities our preoccupations. (For more on this singular focus, we recommend you read First, the Kingdom).

This is the essence of what Jesus taught us to pray. The moment we recognize that God is our Father in heaven, then our first utterance should be, May your name be sanctified by the way I conduct myself in this world; not just by my confession but by my conduct may I bring honor and glory to you. May your kingship be established, may your will be done!

David's passion was to honor God by doing his will, to see his glory revealed in the earth.

God is passionate for his church, so passionate that he gave his very Son for it. The church is not perfect because it comprises people like you and me. It is not perfect, but it is extremely important and we should be passionate about building it up. When your roots give you a taste of something deeper, it is easy to become critical of the church; to stand outside of it and cast stones, to show where it has failed at this point and at that point.

To have a heart after God means we are preoccupied with building up not tearing down. God is so passionate for a people that he gave his Son to die. Then surely those of us who value our Hebraic heritage in Yeshua—who claim that the God of Israel is our God and the Jewish Jesus is our Lord—should be at the forefront of building up his body.

David also models that to be a pilgrim means you go up to the house of the LORD in community.

We must turn away from this western individualism, this autonomous self so esteemed in our society. God is looking for a people; he wants us to be joined together as pilgrims on a holy journey. Remember how I showed you the importance of the revelation that gentiles enter the family of God through Jesus? (See the previous post, No Longer Strangers). Here is another extraordinary statement made by the apostle Paul in Ephesians.

He says in verses 19-22 that we are members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Notice how the whole building is being built, joined together, fitly compact, just like Jerusalem is compacted together of stones. And just as it rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. The word dwelling refers to that concept of the shekinah of God. It is the glory that comes and dwells over the ark between the cherubim in the holy of holies.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles, especially Peter and Paul, do something that we often miss. They compare the church of Jesus Christ—made up of Jewish and gentile believers—as a type of Jerusalem. Why? Because they saw the community of faith as the eschatological realization—in part—of promises about the restoration of Israel.


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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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