NYC #1 – Looking at Cities
We live and work in or near NYC, which is made up of 8.4 million plus people.
We’re familiar with houses, businesses, schools, stores, skyscrapers, highways, apartments, parks, warehouses, subways, restaurants, religious buildings, museums, and so on.
Did you know that the word “city” is used 724 times in the NIV Bible, and the plural “cities” is used 154 times? This tells us that cities are important to God. God loves the cities. God cares for the cities. God has compassion for NYC.
One important city in the Bible is Jerusalem. Psalm 48 describes Jerusalem this way:
“Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King” (Psalm 48:1-2).
Every Israelite would know that these verses were talking about Jerusalem, even though in 42 English words, and even the whole chapter, “Jerusalem” is never even mentioned by name!
God set up the city of Jerusalem to be a city of peace and praise. The name Jerusalem means “City of Peace.” That is the way God would look at it.
But its history has been anything but peaceful. Jerusalem has been captured, destroyed, rebuilt, captured again, despoiled, and was under Roman rule during Jesus’ time.
When we look at Jerusalem today, what do we see? We see it as a place of tension and conflict. Jerusalem is where God’s character is continuously misrepresented through religious controversy.
Today just the “Old City” of Jerusalem – less than one square kilometer – is divided into four quarters. It’s roughly divided between the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter.
The point is that the way God looks at a city may be different from the way we tend to look at a city.
We could look at NYC or any city geographically, demographically, culturally, or ethnically. Sociologists, statisticians, and anthropologists could offer their insights. And we could learn from them.
Over the next few devotionals we’ll be looking at how God views the cities spiritually.
~ Pastor Dave