“You will no longer be forsaken and hated, a city deserted and desolate. I will make you great and beautiful, a place of joy for ever and ever”.
Isa 60:15 GNB
Some cities engender affection and warmth. In World War II the British coined a song that went, “When you see Big Ben you’re home again, home where you belong”. And some Scots happily sing, “I belong to Glasgow, dear old Glasgow town”. Paris is affectionately known as “The City of Love”. Its connection with three world religions has earned Jerusalem the title “Holy City”. And the sight of faithful Jews earnestly praying at “The Wailing Wall” is enough to stir many emotions and hopes.
The prophet Isaiah knew the sentiments that surged in the hearts of the Israelites as God promised hope and resuscitation for the city that was home to them all. But it was also because it was here, so they believed, that God dwelt – in the sense that he was nearer to them there more than anywhere else. Here they worshipped God. Here they offered animals to God in sacrifice for their sins. This was their capital. And it was the city of David, the king who had once made them a military force to be reckoned with. It was to be great and beautiful because God was there, it was the symbol of their national pride, and because it symbolised their hope for the coming Messiah, national salvation and restoration. Little did they know that here their Messiah would perform miracles, be crucified and would rise again and that the Holy Spirit would change the people of God for ever. Nor did they know that many would come to regard it as the centre of the world – because of him.
Lord, help me to know you anywhere and everywhere.