|Jerusalem, Old City, New Gate.|
Photo by: Daniel Baranek. Reproduced with permission.
Dear Pilgrim, are you passing through the gates on your pilgrimage? Oh, look up at these gates as you pass on through, take note of them, for He is breaking open the way for you, leading the way for you.
Do you remember where you were when He first came and called you? You were at the gates of death (Psalm 9:13), precious Pilgrim, for you were dead in your transgressions. Oh, what dark gates these were. Gates in the depths of the earth. Gates at the roots of the mountains. Gates that were locked and kept you imprisoned.
Ah, but He came. He came, and He called you. And you cried out to Him in your distress…and He came and broke down those gates of bronze, He cut through the bars of iron and He set you free (Ps 107:16)! He lifted you up from those gates of death! Glory!
You were then faced with a choice of 2 gates – a wide gate, with many people walking through, or a small gate, leading to a narrow path, with few walking along (Mt 7:13-14). Oh, Pilgrim! What joy that you went through the narrow gate! He Himself is that gate (John 10:9)! Oh, glory to the King of Kings - for this road leads to life, and you are walking along it! You entered with thanksgiving – and He has made you righteous, for it is only the righteous who may enter through this gate (Ps 118:19-20).
He brought you to the city gate, where your Kinsman-Redeemer declared before witnesses that you would be His bride. And the witnesses declared a blessing of fruitfulness upon you (Ruth 4:11)! Ah, and how you love to come to the city gates, for it is here that you have listened to wisdom crying aloud and making her speech (Pr 1:20-21). You have listened, and you have kept your heart teachable. And as you have faithfully been walking in the good works that He prepared in advance for you to do, there have been blessed occasions when these works have brought you praise at the city gates (Pr 31:31)! But these occasions have been few and far between – for just as He suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood, so you too have gone outside, bearing the disgrace that He bore, sharing in His sufferings (Heb 13:12-13). For the city gates are not your destination.
Pilgrim, there are gates which are blessed beyond all gates, and it is these gates that we are walking towards. For it is true, the Lord does love all the dwellings of Jacob. Yet it is the gates of Zion that He loves more than anywhere else (Ps 87:2). For it is here that He has installed His King on His holy mountain (Ps 2:6), at the very heart of God - Yahweh-Shammah (Eze 48:35)! It is all too easy on our pilgrimage to tarry at other gates on our ascent to Zion – gates where we can become too easily satisfied with what we have, not realising there is a greater freedom awaiting us. Gates where we can find ourselves falling into captivity, gates where the enemy would seek to waylay us that he might rob and steal us of the full inheritance awaiting us. But how He takes care of us! He opens our eyes to our captivity, and then we find ourselves being carried to the gate which is called Beautiful, asking Him for healing…and in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth we arise once more and go on our way, walking and leaping and praising God (Acts 3:2-8)!
Oh, as we journey through many gates, Pilgrim, this is where we must heed the call to lift up our heads (Ps 24:9)! Lift up our heads! Our King will pass through these gates ahead of us. Oh, Pilgrim, pass through, pass through the gates! Build up the highway, remove the stones, raise a banner for the nations (Isa 62:10)! For it is the gates of Zion that we are heading towards! Do you see them? The gates of Zion….gates that always stand open, they are never shut, day or night (Isa 60:11). These gates of Zion – they have a name - it is Praise (Isa 60:18)! Pilgrim, come, come with me, come and stand here in the gates of Daughter Zion, and let us rejoice in His salvation (Ps 9:14)! Let our praises to Him never cease, as we shout our grateful praise to Him, and say “Salvation comes from the LORD!”