Standing in Your Gates

“Our feet are standing in your gates,

Jerusalem.”

(Psalm 122:2)

At first, this might sound like a pretty mundane statement—of course your feet would stand within the gates of Jerusalem—they would do so several times each year when you went down to Jerusalem for the festivals.  But there is more to this statement than the literal image of the psalmist physically standing in Jerusalem’s gates.  To begin with, the idea of standing carries with it some theological significance.  Where one “stands” marks with whom one will be numbered.  King David begins Psalm 1 with  the statement that those who do not “stand” in the way of sinners will be blessed.  Psalm 76:7 (76:8 in the Hebrew text) declares, “who can stand before you from the onset of your anger.”  Again, this speaks not only of physically standing up (though that is included), but also speaks of one being able to stand upright and without blame before the judge of creation coming in wrath over sin.

Thus, when the psalmist speaks with joy of standing in the gates of Jerusalem, it speaks of how he was being numbered amongst the other people who belong to God’s great city.  The psalmist is proclaiming not simply that he has made the trek up to Jerusalem but he belongs there and that sense of belonging is a good thing for he is numbered amongst other faithful pilgrims who also belong to this great city.

In a sense, we can once again parallel the heart of this passage with our place in the church.  All too often people “go to church” but never feel a sense of belonging to the church.  How we need to change that mindset in our culture.  Not only must we strive to be numbered amongst the righteous by God’s own grace, but also to be seen as amongst those who really belong to Jesus Christ by word and action and that our feet would indeed be numbered amongst those who stand in the gates of the church of Jesus Christ.

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