Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To the Hearer of Prayer All Flesh Will Come

Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion;
And to You the vow shall be performed.
O You who hear prayer,
To You all flesh will come.
(Psalm 65:1-2)
The Hebrew word for “awaiting” literally means “silence.” As it is used here, it signifies the stillness of anticipation and yieldedness to the God of Zion. “Vows” are the dedications and commitments made to God.

Zion’s God is called, “Hearer of Prayer” (Hebrew, shama tephillah). Not as one who hears idly or indifferently. Rather, what is implied is that God hears with great regard and answers the prayers of all those who come to Him. It is for this reason, when word of it gets out, that all humanity will come before Him and, finding Him to be the Hearer of Prayer, will commit themselves to Him without reserve.

Does it sound na├»ve today to think that all humanity will come to Yahweh, God of Zion, when there is so much conflict in the world against the people of Yahweh? Yet back when this psalm was written, the situation was considerably worse. The surrounding nations were exceedingly vicious towards Israel. But God’s plan all along has been to reach out to the nations through the descendents of Abraham and bring His goodness, His salvation, His shalom into all the earth.
Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants —
Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And holds fast My covenant —
Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.
(Isaiah 56:6-7)
Jesus was passionate for this cause. It was why He cleared the moneychangers out of the court of the Temple that was reserved for the Gentiles (the nations) to come and worship the Lord. “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Mark 11:17).

That physical structure, however, was destroyed in AD 70, just as Jesus predicted (Matthew 24). It was only a type and a shadow, whose function and purpose is now fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah:
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)
And now there is a new temple, one not made of dead stones but of living flesh, not made by human hands but by the hand of hand of God. 
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)
It is a living house of prayer for all nations, for everyone who will come and believe the promise. This is why, before He ascended to His throne at the right hand of the Father, King Jesus sent out His disciples with this commission:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
This commission will not fail but will do just as Jesus said. The nations will come. In the end, there is the song of praise sung to the One who sits at the right hand of the Father:
You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.
(Revelation 5:9-10)
The time is coming, and already is, when all flesh will come to the God of Zion. From every tribe and tongue and nation, they will come in faith to the Hearer of Prayer, to be discipled as kings and priests before Him.