Tonight and tomorrow we celebrate Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim), marking 53 years since the city’s re-reunification in 1967. It is a joyful time of praise, thanksgiving and dancing in the streets. (Covid restrictions are relaxed.)
So you might celebrate briefly with us, included below is the city’s beloved unofficial anthem, “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold). English subtitles are included. The song was written a mere 3 weeks before the Six Day War of 1967. Songwriter Naomi Shemer never imagined war would imminently break out and result in Jerusalem falling back into Jewish hands.
Replete with biblical themes, Shemer’s lyrics describe an alluring, golden city. The scent of pine wafts through Jerusalem’s clean, mountain air. From within her slumbering streets and walls, songs of old still echo.
But there is also a lament for Jerusalem’s desolate condition. Lonely and bereft of her people, she yearns for their return—just as they ache to return to her.
Yerushalayim Shel Zahav describes a city quite different from today’s bustling metropolis. In 2020, any hint of quaint quiet is punctuated by spurting motor vehicles, throngs of people, and boisterous, Middle East style merchandising. All part of God’s miraculous, prophetic restoration of His ancient covenant people.
But there’s more.
In this national classic, I hear the cry of Israel’s collective soul. That cry is for much more than today’s municipality of Jerusalem, miraculous as that is. It is a cry for the return of God’s presence and glory to His people. It is a cry answered in Messiah Yeshua alone.
Please enjoy the song as a celebration of Yom Yerushalayim. Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But please also pray, according to the apostolic call, for her salvation: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that she may be saved.” (Roman: 10:1)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’.” (Matthew 23:37-39)
“Yet again there shall be heard in this place, about which you say, ‘It is destroyed, without man and without beast, even…in the streets of Jerusalem…the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that say: ‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever’…” (Jeremiah 33:10-11)
Remember that just as God has been lovingly faithful to Jerusalem, He is–and will forever be–lovingly faithful to you!