Longing for God in Zion

Error message

  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/gobibletranslations.org/sites/all/modules/css_injector/css_injector.module).
  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/gobibletranslations.org/sites/all/modules/css_injector/css_injector.module).
(Psalms 24, 122, 125, Revelation 21)
Lesson Number: 



Lesson 11

Longing for God in Zion

(Psalms 84, 122, 125, Revelation 21)

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: “Next year in Jerusalem” are the last words of a traditional Passover Seder. When I first learned of this I thought, “What a wonder prayer for Christians. Imagine if we seriously prayed that next year we would be living in the New Jerusalem!” Our study of Psalms this week is a greater development of this idea. These Psalms talk about the Jewish sanctuary, our glorious God, the return to Zion, and how this applies to us today and in the future. Let’s jump into this study of hope for the future!

  1. Our Goal
    1. Read Psalm 84:1-2. Notice that this Psalm is attributed to the “Sons of Korah.” Do you know who they were? (They were the doorkeepers and musicians in the temple of Jerusalem.)
      1. Can you imagine that those who work in the temple love to express how wonderful it is? (It must have been great. If you work in a grand place you can grow accustomed to it.)
    2. Read Psalm 84:3-4. Can everyone find room in God’s temple? (We are told that birds find homes there - even the lowly sparrow. There is room for us.)
    3. Read Psalm 84:5-7. How has the point of view of the writer changed? Is this still the viewpoint of someone who works in the temple? (No. These verses speak about the journey to the temple. These people live somewhere else.)
      1. Many commentators believe that the “Valley of Baca” refers a valley of weeping. How much crying is taking place? (The text says that the crying “make it” a place of springs. That would be a lot of tears!)
      2. Notice that verse seven says that they “go from strength to strength.” How is that possible? If you are weeping are you strong? (Verse five says that those on this journey to Jerusalem have their strength in God. If on life’s journey you face terrible sadness, keeping your heart set on the journey to God’s temple in Jerusalem allows you to live strong.)
    4. Read Psalm 84:8-9. We have another change in the writer’s point of view. What new element enters into this journey? (We now have a “shield,” but this seems to be against God.)
      1. Why would we need to be shielded from God? (Even though we are on the journey to God, we are terrible sinners. He is a perfect God. Even weeping so heavily shows weakness. Our “anointed” (who has a face) is Jesus. He stands in our place before God. He shields us.)
    5. Read Psalm 84:10. Do you understand the emotion behind this statement? Don’t we talk about (and know) the pleasures of sin? (This shows that we need the Holy Spirit to change our attitude. The statement is true, we need to enter into a mind set that allows us to say that one day in Jerusalem is better than a thousand days in sin.)
      1. Is understanding the “one day is better than a thousand” statement something that we can only truly know when we are in the New Jerusalem?
    6. Read Psalm 84:11-12. When we enter into a right relationship with God what can we expect? (Do you like to stand in the warmth of the sun? Do you enjoy favor and honor? This is what God does for us when we “walk uprightly.”)
  2. Peace in the Gates
    1. Read Psalm 122:1-4. Where is David standing when he writes this Psalm? (He is standing within “your gates, O Jerusalem!”)
      1. What does verse four tell us about the journey to Jerusalem? (Read Deuteronomy 16:16. This is a reference to the three annual feasts in which God’s people would travel to Jerusalem to give thanks.)
    2. Read Psalm 122:5-8. Notice that three times in these four verses we see the word “peace.” How is this related to “thrones for judgment?” (Do you think about the fact that our courts are to avoid combat? Instead of the strong winning, the courts resolve disputes based on agreed upon legal rules.)
      1. Is this peace only about disputes among God’s people? (I once read a book about the history of Jerusalem and it recounted all the different groups that conquered it. Peace against external forces is important even today.)
      2. Recall earlier I asked you about the pleasures of sin versus the joy of one day in Jerusalem? Have you ever gotten into trouble and desperately wished you had peace instead of trouble?
      3. A story is unfolding in which a religious leader faces criminal charges and perhaps going to jail. How many days of wrongdoing do you think this religious leader would trade for one day of peace? (I suspect he would give up all (alleged) wrongdoing to have peace now.)
      4. Apply this to your life. What “pleasure” would you trade for eternal life?
      5. We have discussed the idea of wrongdoing interfering with peace. Have you felt a lack of peace when no wrongdoing has taken place? (Family relationships often interfere with peace. Showing God’s love, as will be the case for all in the New Jerusalem, gives us peace in interpersonal relationships.)
  3. The City Mountain
    1. Read Psalm 99:9, Micah 4:1-2, and Isaiah 2:2. Do these texts make any sense? How do you think the New Jerusalem will be the highest of mountains? Will God relocate it from the present Jerusalem? Will the ground on which the current Jerusalem sits suddenly rise up as a great mountain?
      1. Did you notice that these texts do not refer to Jerusalem sitting atop the highest mountain? They speak of the house of God being a mountain. How is that possible?
    2. Read Revelation 21:15-17. What is the shape of the New Jerusalem? (It does not look like any current city, it is shaped like a cube. It looks like a giant condominium!)
      1. This text says that the New Jerusalem cube is 12,000 stadia on each side. What does this mean in terms of current measurements? (The conversion is 1,400 miles or 2,253 kilometers, or 7,392,000 feet.)
      2. Using those distances, would the top of the New Jerusalem be above any current mountains? (Commercial airlines fligh at 33,000 feet. You reach outer space at 380,000 feet. Most of the New Jerusalem cube is in outer space! The texts we just read give us no idea of the extent to which the New Jerusalem towers over everything on earth.)
    3. Read Psalm 125:1-2. Given the size of the New Jerusalem, do you think it is easily moved? (Once God plants it on the earth made new, it is not being moved by anyone. Instead, its size creates all sorts of theoretical problems: what kind of foundation would such a building require? Will it interfere with the rotation of the earth? How is it pressurized since most of it is in outer space?)
  4. Eternal Peace
    1. Read Psalm 125:3-4. Have you ever thought about whether the problem of sin can arise again in heaven (the earth made new)?
      1. If your answer is, “Yes,” what do you think will protect against that? Will God limit our free choice? Will the bitter taste of sin remain strong for eternity, so that we are never tempted to turn back?
      2. Does the psalmist worry about this?
    2. Look again at Psalm 125:3. This tells us there is a concern about the righteous stretching out “their hands to do wrong.” What do you think is meant by “the scepter of wickedness?” What role does it play in future wrongdoing? (I think scepter means the rule or power of evil. In heaven we will not have a predisposition to evil as we have now. We will have a perfect mind and emotions. We will not tempt ourselves and we will not be tempted by an external power.)
      1. Consider how Lucifer fell into sin in a perfect heaven. What prevents that from happening again? (Look again at Psalm 125:2. This tells us that we are “surrounded” by God. We have the history of evil to restrain us - and if we forget I’m sure the Holy Spirit will remind us. Beyond these answers, we must trust the superior wisdom and intellect of God. I’m certain He has carefully thought through this potential problem.)
    3. Friend, would you like next year to be in the New Jerusalem? Why not focus your mind on that? If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not do that right now? It will put you on the path to peace now and forever.
  5. Next week: Worship That Never Ends.