shepherding the shepherd
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (v. 22). There before us, all around us, is not only the city of the living God but our true home. Here is the “city with foundations” that our faithful forefathers yearned to see. And here is the bright backdrop to the voice that calls for our holiness.
To most people holiness is a foreign, incomprehensible word. If it weren’t for foolish oaths, I can’t imagine the word holy ever passing their lips. But holiness is our daily, lifelong work. We guard and nourish those whom God has made holy—set apart as his own—through Christ Jesus.
Here was a prayer handed to the whole beleaguered nation on a silver platter. Handed to us, too, and all our churches, a fore-prayer of the one Jesus taught us. To ask God to bless us is to pray for grace, for God to freely give us more than we deserve and what we could never earn. For us, all the blessed promises of God are now Yes in Christ.
A false security system got Israel in deep trouble. “They were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness” (1 Chron. 9:1). When God eventually allowed them to return to their homes they needed to reconnect to his protection. That’s why the Chronicler taught them Jabez’s prayer…
God’s hand connotes something more active than God’s presence. God’s hand “shattered the enemy.” It is also our hiding place. When Moses blessed Israel for the last time he said, “All the holy ones are in your hand” (Deut.33:3). Jesus promised, “no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).