Psa 122:1 A song of ascents. Of David. I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Psa 122:2 Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.
Psa 122:3 Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.
Psa 122:4 That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.
Psa 122:5 There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David.
Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem – This is a favourite expression of Christian Zionists, who urge all Christians to simply obey the command, and pray for the city, so troubled and divided to this very day. Indeed, it is sometimes implied that if Christians do not do this, then they are living, in a rather fundamental way, out of God’s will and purpose. Citing this verse, Hagee claims that ‘the scriptural principle of prosperity is tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem.’ Hagee illustrates this claim with reference to Lk 7:5.
Now, Psa 122 is not quoted in the NT, but we can discern the relevance of this psalm to Christians today by noting how the NT handles certain related themes. Firstly, the Psalmist’s concern for Jerusalem is motivated by the fact that the Davidic kingship is located there (v5). The Davidic kingship is fulfilled in Christ, Lk 1:32f; on him has been bestowed kingly rule, Jn 5:27; Rom 2:16. Secondly, the temple is a vital factor in this psalm (v9). But we are now to see Jesus as the temple, the dwelling place of God. We obey the injunction as we pray for the peace of citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, 1 Cor. 15:23-25, Gal. 4:26, Phil. 3:20, Rev. 21:22-27. Of course it is right to pray for peace in Israel, but that is not the teaching of the psalm for Christians today. (See this article by Steve Motyer).
Kidner comments: ‘What Jerusalem was to the Israelite, the church is to the Christian. Here are his closest ties, his brethren and companions, known and unknown, drawn with him to the one centre as fellow-pilgrims … And whatever the limitations of its citizens, Jerusalem was where God saw fit to build his House. The simple”] response to this, I will seek your good, was the lest that such a fact demanded; and it had no upper limit. For the Christian it has, besides, no territorial boundary. For the inspiring implications of this, see Heb 12:22-24; for its immediate application, Heb 13:1-3.’ (Kidner)
Barnes: ‘To us now it inculcates the duty of praying for the church:—its peace; its unity; its prosperity; its increase; its influence on our country and on the world at large. It is a prayer that the church may not be divided by schism or heresy; that its members may cherish for each other right feelings; that there may be no jealousies, no envyings, and no jars; that the different branches of the church may regard and treat each other with kindness, with respect, and with mutual recognition; that prosperity may attend them all.’
Gurnall: ‘By praying for Jerusalem’s peace is meant such serene times wherein the people of God might enjoy his pure worship without disturbance. The Church has always had her vicissitudes, sometimes fair, and sometimes foul weather; but her winter commonly longer than her summer; yea, at the same time that the Sun of peace brings day to one part of it, another is wrapped up in the night of persecution. Universal peace over all the churches is a great rarity.’
Psa 122:7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
Psa 122:8 For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
Psa 122:9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.