4/10/2016 8:37:54 AM
A Reflection on David and Jerusalem
Jerusalem wasn't always an Israelite city. Even after the Israelites moved into the Promised Land (Canaan), Jerusalem remained a city in someone else's hands. When David arrives at the gates of the city, it is own by the Jebusites. Not much is known about them but scholars believe they were not the original founders of the city and probably lived in the city only a short time before David arrived. David, after a successful series of military victories, is crowned king at the city of Hebron. Although Scripture doesn't tell us initially why he marched to Jerusalem, later chapters will make evident that David was being politically astute in this choice. He picked a city that no one tribe had claim over. The city, also, is close to the traditional border between the Northern and Southern tribes and is also very defensible. With the city secure, David begins to fortify his new capital, turning Jerusalem into the city of David.
With Jerusalem's capture, the city begins to be the political and religious center for ancient Israel. Even after a later civil war and the splitting of the kingdom into two (The Kingdom of Judah, centered around Jerusalem, and the Kingdom of Israel centered in the North), the religious focus for the rest of scripture is Jerusalem. Even when we meet prophets who preach only in the Northern Kingdom, we read their stories with Jerusalem-oriented eyes. As Christians, we hold Jerusalem close because it was the site of Jesus' death, resurrection, and where the early church community first gathered. We also see in Jerusalem a hope for tomorrow. The end of Revelation, the last book in our scriptures, points to the heavenly Jerusalem descending to the earth.
Jerusalem is more than a city. Jerusalem is where Jesus walked and God promises to dwell. Jerusalem is a city of hope, a vision of what God is working in us and in our world through Jesus Christ. David's capture of Jerusalem is leading us to the vision of Revelation 21, the new Jerusalem, where God dwells among us. This vision of the future isn't only for the future. It's also a vision for the present. We aren't only Christians. We are also a people of the Resurrection and of God's unfolding future. Jesus isn't just for tomorrow. Jesus is also here, today, in our world and in our lives. The heavenly Jerusalem started with David's work but continues in us because we are, through baptism, bound with the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The new Jerusalem is here so let's live like it truly is.