Not long ago, on a New Year’s Eve, my congregation here in Jerusalem took part in a gathering on Narkiss Street at Beit HaKehilot (literally, House of Congregations; formerly known as the Baptist House). It was a citywide gathering of all the congregations in Jerusalem; however, this one was different. This time we came together believing that God had ordained that night as a night of salvation, healing, and deliverance. But beyond that night, we were believing that the set time had come for the Lord to have mercy on Zion, to have mercy on Jerusalem during its time of great affliction.
A few months before that gathering, the pastors and elders of the city met in Kiryat Yearim, that special place northwest of Jerusalem where the ark of the covenant once sat. As we sought the face of the Lord for two full days, the Lord led us to Isaiah 61:1-3 where it says:
1 “‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.’ ”
So we came out of Kiryat Yearim believing that it was time for the Spirit of the Lord to come upon Jerusalem; it was time that we, the Lord’s own body, walk in the authority and anointing that Yeshua had. For it was Yeshua who had said to his disciples in John 14:12, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
It’s interesting to see what follows the words of Isaiah 61:1-3. The very next two verses prophesy: 4 “And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.”
It seems that this same Holy Spirit anointing to preach and to heal, deliver, and console those who mourn in Zion is going to happen again at a unique future point in world history.
It says in verse 4 that they “shall raise up the former desolations.” It’s interesting to read what Mark Twain said about the land of Israel on his visit here in 1867. He said that it is a “…desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse….We never saw a human being on the whole route….There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere.”
According to Isaiah 61:4, it appears that there will be a powerful latter-day Holy Spirit anointing to preach and to heal, deliver, and console those who mourn in Zion precisely at a time when the people of Israel shall “raise up the former desolations” and “repair the ruined cities.” This physical restoration is what has been going on in this land over the past 100 years or so. Is it any accident that the greatest Holy Spirit revival since the day of Pentecost began at the exact time that the Jewish people began to return to the land of Israel and to restore its desolations of many generations?
This great revival that is still going on—what we call the Pentecostal revival—has touched the lives of over 500 million people. One of the things that characterized it was a restoration of all of the gifts of the Spirit, including healing and miracles. And when did this revival begin? Just before the turn of the twentieth century. Isn’t it interesting that the years 1882-1903 were the years of the First Aliyah (wave of Jewish immigration)—a movement back to the land of Israel of mostly idealistic Eastern Europeans to heal and restore the land and cities of Israel. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. So in 1901, during that First Aliyah, when former desolations were being raised up again, the Pentecostal revival broke out in Topeka, Kansas, and spread around the world. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.
But I believe that we have only experienced the tip of the iceberg of what God wants to do in the supernatural realm. And I believe that Jerusalem is going to be the center of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit—which will even outdo the revival that broke out on the day of Pentecost some 2,000 years ago. I frankly believe that now that the ancient, ruined city of Jerusalem is in the process of being restored physically, we are about to experience in Jerusalem and then around the world a mighty move of the Holy Spirit to bring salvation, healing, and deliverance.
Let’s examine some verses from Psalm 102, beginning with 3-5:
3 “For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned like a hearth. 4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. 5 Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin.”
Now let’s read verses 13-21:
13 “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come. 14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust. 15 So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. 16 For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.
17 “He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer. 18 This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. 19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death, 21 to declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem.”
For the rest of this message, I want to focus on these verses in Psalm 102. What we find here are a number of important points:
- God has a special compassion for the city of Jerusalem.
- God has a special set time to favor Jerusalem, when He will powerfully answer prayer and bring release.
- The kind of prayers going up from Jerusalem that God will answer will be the prayers of the destitute, those who recognize that they have a desperate need.
So let’s begin with the first point.
1. God has a special compassion for the city of Jerusalem.
In verse 13, we read that God will “arise and have mercy on Zion.” And then in verses 19 and 20, it says: 19 “For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death.”
I’m encouraged to know that God is not so preoccupied with other affairs that he forgets Jerusalem. Heaven may be far away, but it says in verse 19 that “He looked down from the height of His sanctuary.” And what will happen as God looks down upon the earth? His heart will break as He sees the condition of Jerusalem, the city where He has placed His name. Again, as it is written in verse 13, He will “arise and have mercy on Zion.”
Yeshua, God Himself manifested in the flesh, demonstrated how much He loves and has compassion for Jerusalem—he wept over Jerusalem. In Matthew 23:37,38 we read: 37 “‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate.’ ”
We all know that God has had to deal out hard discipline upon Jerusalem. He even used Nebuchadnezzar and other foreign invaders to bring judgment upon Jerusalem. But I believe that now mercy is replacing judgment. We read in Isaiah 60:10 concerning Jerusalem, “ ‘…For in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you.’ ”
2. God has a special set time to favor Jerusalem, when He will powerfully answer prayer and bring release.
So we see that God has a special compassion for the city of Jerusalem. This brings me to the second thing I want us to see in Psalm 102. Not only does God have a special compassion for Jerusalem, but He has a special set time to favor this city, when He will powerfully answer prayer and bring release.
Let’s read again what it says in verses 13 and 14:
13 “…For the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come. 14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust.”
Then in verse 18 we read, “This will be written for the generation to come….”
But here in verse 14 we have a detail that points to God’s set time of showing favor: It will be at a precise time in history when Jerusalem’s “servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust.” One of the most fascinating aspects of Jerusalem is how new archaeological discoveries are being made and the stones of former times are being displayed—you even have to pay money to see a pile of rocks and dust! In former centuries, there was very little interest in Jerusalem’s rubble. Indeed, now we “take pleasure in her stones” and “show favor to her dust.”
I believe that the set time has come for God once again to show favor to Jerusalem. So here we see that God has a set time—an exact moment in history when He will favor Jerusalem.
It’s interesting that God’s compassion toward Jerusalem takes place at a time when sons of foreigners are building Jerusalem’s walls. We again read in Isaiah 60:10 concerning the timing of things, “ ‘The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you.’ ”
Are we not in the time when God is once again building up Jerusalem? Have you noticed that sons of foreigners (Romanians, Chinese, Thais) are building up Jerusalem’s walls? Practically every day I drive by a Jerusalem construction site and watch as foreigners build up our walls. Is this not a sign of the coming mercy of God that will be poured out upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem?
And then we have another passage that provides more detail concerning the circumstances of God’s set time to favor Jerusalem. We read in Psalm 147:2,3: 2 “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Are we not seeing today the “outcasts of Israel” from the four corners of the world coming back to Israel and Jerusalem? And Psalm 147 promises that with the gathering of the outcasts there will also be the healing of the brokenhearted.
And as we see people “take pleasure in her stones” and “show favor to her dust,” as we see Jerusalem being rebuilt by foreigners and reinhabited by the outcasts of Israel, so we will also see God’s heart of compassion expressed through healing.
3. The kind of prayers going up from Jerusalem that God will answer will be the prayers of the destitute, those who recognize that they have a desperate need.
This now brings me to a third point that comes out of Psalm 102. We see the kind of prayers going up from Jerusalem that God will answer—prayers of the destitute, those who recognize that they have a desperate need.
It’s not enough to be fatalistic and say to ourselves that God will bring salvation, healing, deliverance, and comfort in His own time—there’s nothing we can do about it. God has always asked His people to partner with Him in bringing about His purposes. He chooses voluntarily to be influenced by the prayers of those who know that they have a desperate need of Him.
We read this in verses 17, 19, and 20 of our text. It says in verse 17, “He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer.” And then we read in verses 19 and 20: 19 “For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death.”
“He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,” we read in verse 17. Yeshua said in His Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Blessed are the destitute. Blessed are those who recognize their absolute need for Him and come to Him to be saved and healed and delivered.
God answers the prayers of those who recognize that there is no other address to go to but His address. They offer prayers of faith—not faith in themselves, but faith in God who alone can save.
There’s an interesting verse in Deuteronomy 32:36, “For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone….” Is “your power gone?” That’s when God’s power kicks in. Paul knew he could do nothing in himself. He said in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:
1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
God loves to answer the prayers of the destitute. He loves to respond to the desperate cry. Psalm 34:17-19 goes like this: 17 “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
And then we read in Psalm 72:12-14:
12 “For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. 13 He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. 14 He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight.”
Psalm 69:32-35 declares:
32 “The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. 33 For the LORD hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners. 34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion….”
In summary, let us recall that God has a special compassion for this city of Jerusalem. He has a special set time to favor this city, when He will powerfully answer prayer and bring release. And the kind of prayers going up from Jerusalem that God will answer will be the prayers of the destitute, those who recognize that they have a desperate need. He will hear their prayers and we will experience in Jerusalem and then around the world a mighty move of the Holy Spirit to bring salvation, healing, and deliverance!