10 Reason for Christians to Have a Heart for Their City
by Dr. Mark T. Oliver (updated February 2013)
God Loves the City and Adopted a City For His Own – One of the evidences that God has a special love for the city is found in Ezekiel 16: 1-14. In this passage, through the prophet, He reminisces about the beginnings of His special relationship with the city of Jerusalem. Originally a “castaway” city, despised by its owners, God loved it and made it His own (“spread the corner of my garment” is symbolic of entering a marriage relationship, V.3.). Similarly, knowing the special beginning and call upon the city of Jerusalem, Jesus wept at the inability of the people of Jerusalem to recognize that He was the very One that loved Jerusalem from the beginning.
God’s ongoing protective love for His city is seen in passages like Psalm 48. Here the Psalmist is praising God for His presence and protective love as demonstrated by the preserving strength of the temporal structures of the city. To God, though a city’s buildings and other man-made items are just “finger paintings” made by His children, He still cares enough to preserve them on the refrigerator of His heart.
God Located His “Temple” Home in a City – God could have picked the highest mountain in the world, or a beautifully secluded forest as the backdrop for His temple. Instead, when it came time to establish a permanent structure where He would dwell and men could approach Him, His choice was a city (2 Sam. 6:16-17; 2 Chron.3:1).
Jesus, who came to show us the Father (Jo. 12:45, 14:9-10) also did not spurn city life. One small way He reflected this same heart of the Father is by not choosing to making His personal home in a rural or wilderness area. Though His cousin John was not a city dweller, Jesus made the city of Capernaum His permanent home (Matt. 4:13; Mk. 2:1).
God Sees Cities as Blessings – Jerusalem is not the only city that is important to God (See Zech. 1:17). Deuteronomy 6:10 reminds us that God gave cities as gifts to others. Apparently, ever since the fall, cities were a means, a tool, given by God, to protect those created in His image from some harsh realities of a sinful world. Because of this, all city leaders have the God-given responsibility to guide their city toward righteousness in order to properly wield His tool of blessing. Therefore, in this His common grace God cares about the protective quality of all cities. Jonah 4:1 tells us God had a concern for Nineveh. In Jeremiah 29: 4-7 God tells the Jews to help the city of Babylon to prosper. All cities potentially have qualities that can be used by God to declare His presence by showing His compassion. It is these good things that the enemy continues to try and corrupt.