“May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 51:18 NIVUK)
Adherents of three world religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – all look upon Jerusalem as a Holy City. And, without doubt, anyone who has visited its walls and wayside markets, spending time with its people (despite the many challenges they face daily), cannot fail to be impressed by the inherent spirituality of that place. So much of what is there resonates with the life and ministry, the death and resurrection, of Jesus two thousand years ago. And, long before that, in the time of King David, the city was already a central focus for God’s people. Mention of its walls in this verse is a reference to its safety and security, acting as a haven for the oppressed. Furthermore, use of the name, “Zion” is a way of speaking in the present and future tenses. Historically, Zion was the mountain of God and a metonym for Solomon’s Temple. Prophetically, the term looks forward to the eternal Kingdom of God and the coming of Messiah. David seems to understand that the themes of sin and salvation, repentance and redemption, which he develops in this great Psalm, do not relate to him alone, but to everyone, past, present and future. This is a message that spans millennia, crosses cultures, and offers unfailing hope to all who believe in the LORD.