Saturday, June 13, 2020

Division or Unity


Psalms 13:1-2 (ESV)
[1] How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
[2] How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalms 43:5 (ESV)
[5] Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

We are living in crazy times. Probably not unprecedented in the history of the world, but certainly unprecedented in our lifetime. As truth and righteousness are denigrated, churches are accused of being hateful and deceitful, and the world seems set on fire with rage, it is hard to be hopeful. This morning I identified with the verses above and wondered how to live as a people of truth and peace in a world of unjust treatment and false accusation. “How long shall my enemy be exalted over me” (Ps 13:2)? “Why are you cast down, O my soul”  (Ps 43 5).

Then I came to Psalm 73, “I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin” (Ps 73:17-18). The false accusers, the angry and violent are standing on slippery ground. They will not stand forever. My hope goes beyond this life. Theirs ends with death.
Psalms 73:16-18 (ESV)
[16] But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
[17] until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
[18] Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.

And then I came to Psalms 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Notice that God does not say, “How good and pleasant it is when people understand you.” It does not say, “How good and pleasant it is when people appreciate you.” It does not say, “How good and pleasant it is when you are treated nicely with respect and honor.” It is “good and pleasant . . . when brothers dwell in unity!”

The Enemy has an old weapon on his belt called Division. It is an old weapon because it works so well for his purposes. It is old, but it is not rusty. When our differences become more important than our common faith, when our minor theologies that divide us become major and the major theology that unites us becomes minor, when our differences turn into division, then the Enemy has done his worst. We get angry over Christians being killed for their faith. But truthfully, division is worse than death. In death we have victory and life. In division we destroy our testimony.

Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17 again. Jesus prayed that his disciples would be kept and sanctified in the truth, and unified in the faith. It is the unity that convinces the world that God sent Jesus. He prayed to the Father, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (Jn 17:23). If we are going to be worshipping together in Heaven, then it is highly inappropriate that we are accusing, dividing, and hating one another here.

Psalms 133:1 (ESV)
[1] Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!


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