Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
Any time we read the Bible we need to remember that polytheism was the norm when it was written. Particularly in America that can be easy to forget, but that is dangerous, because Allah is not the same as Yahweh. In English terms, “God” was not a capitalized word, and was often plural. This Psalm is a pean to Jerusalem, but it is in terms of her being the city of Yahweh, who sets her apart from every other city. That is precisely why, when it began to look like the Jews might get their own nation again, back at the beginning of the 20th Century, Islamists took notice and started claiming Jerusalem as their own “holy city,” which they had never done previously. These days, the statement that Jerusalem is “holy to the world’s three great religions” is undisputed, when 150 years ago hardly anyone would have said it. During the Crusades, the Moslems tried to hang onto Jerusalem just to keep it from the Jews and the Christians. The irony in all of that is that Jesus Himself said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem,” (John 4:21) going on to explain that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) It’s not that Jerusalem isn’t special, but our worship of Yahweh is not at all limited geographically. The same could be said of veneration of the Vatican, or for that matter, any limitation to a specific church building. A place of worship is special not because of the place, but because of Whom we worship.
My desire to see the Museum of Egyptology in Cairo was the deciding factor in my family going by way of Egypt rather than Israel when we were on our way back to Japan in 1959, but I’m sure I would choose differently today, given the option. Even so, I am well aware that God is just as real in Omura, Japan, as He is in Jerusalem. My relationship with Him is spiritual rather than temporal. That said, I do pray for the peace of Jerusalem, (Psalm 122:6) and I remain convinced that the Jews are a vital part of what God is doing in these End Times. I remember that Pyongyang, the current capital of North Korea, was at one time called “the Jerusalem of the East,” because of the revival that was going on there. God is not limited geographically, but He does use specific locations for specific purposes at times. It is the vision of this church that Omura would again be the foremost Christian city in Japan, as it was 450 years ago, but that is an empty goal if it doesn’t include the Gospel going out to the rest of the nation and the world. I am to pray as Jesus taught us, that the Father’s rule and reign would be established throughout the world, and His will be done as perfectly everywhere as it is before His throne in heaven.
Father, thank You for this reminder. There are so many important truths that we are so prone to forget. Help me recognize Your thoughts and think them after You, not leaning on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) but following You in everything, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!