Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Way to Zion

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, October 26, 2013:  Jeremiah 49:23-50:46

“In those days and in that time,” says the Lord, “The children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek the Lord their God.  They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, ‘Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten.’  Jeremiah 50:4-5 (NKJV)

It seems God's people never stop moving.  Adam and Eve were thrust out of Eden.  Abram journeyed from Ur to Canaan.  The two great movements of God's people in the Old Testament are "out of Egypt" and "back from Babylon." 

In the New Testament, the Gospel moves from confinement in Jerusalem to release to the nations.  In terms of its mission, the Church is always expanding, moving, going out.  This is descriptive not only of her earthly ministry but also her spiritual journey.  Hebrews 13:14 says, "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come."  Peter calls us "sojourners and pilgrims" (I Peter 1:1 and 2:11).  We are always moving toward Zion.

Jeremiah prophesied that Israel and Judah would come back.  They would return from Babylonian captivity.  On their lips would be a request, "Please, show me the way to Zion."  This is the perennial question asked by all who seek the Lord.

Zion has a rich and layered meaning both in Scripture and history.  David won his first battle as king by reclaiming the Jebusite stronghold on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.  He renamed that stronghold the City of David (II Samuel 5:6-9).  Symbolically, Zion is where we meet and fulfil our destiny.  It is the full expression of God's kingship in our lives that vanquishes our enemies and extends His kingdom.  Historically, for the Jewish people, the term Zion means their homeland.  The Zionist movement is the return of the Jews to their home.  This is why Jerusalem holds such a dear place in the heart of all wandering Jews. 

The top of Mount Zion in Jerusalem today

It seems we are always moving.  In the will of God, we are always both "going out" and "coming in."  We are going out carrying the Good News to a world that God loves.  We are coming in by always returning to our true identity, our true destiny, our true homeplace.  We have met God but we are also meeting God.

Zion is the place of covenant.  Jeremiah calls it "a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten."  When we, as Christians, set our faces toward Zion we are moving out of our bondage and toward the manifest victory God has promised.  We are moving toward destiny and effectiveness.  We are moving toward our true homeland from which we will affect the nations.

We, like Israel and Judah, are asking the way to Zion.  This is our prayer and our aim.  We join ourselves to the Lord by covenant.  As a result, the most beautiful city the world has ever seen will be built.

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