From Psalms 120-132
“You’ll never get a job in Christian ministry”. “You mustn’t be a Christian because you believe X,Y and Z”. “You need to rethink everything you believe about the bible”. “If you preach that as the gospel, you will eventually lead people away from what the scriptures teach.” I’ve had all these levelled at me.
It seems a fairly common occurrence when I read the work of Christians scholars they condemn one another because of what they believe or have written about. Their struggles are for power and control. It’s a very sad state of affairs when this happens.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
I’m not diminishing the perceived importance of what can be argued about.
Truth is important. But so are love and tolerance.
Christians everywhere need to put more effort into listening to others, rejoicing in what they believe in common and working together in ministry.
Today I chose two Psalms which speak about peace and unity within God’s people.
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! (Ps 122.1-2)
The Psalmist begins sharing an experience where he was encouraged by others to go to the house of the LORD. They have in common a shared desire to worship the LORD. Too long have they been waiting for this to come.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. (Ps 122.3-5)
The Psalmist is grateful for Jerusalem. It is well built and it brings together all the tribes of Israel. There the people of Israel give thanks to the LORD for what he has done for them. Jerusalem is also the city where people find justice (‘judgment’). People travelling from over the land to go to Jerusalem and receive the kings judgment.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good. (Ps 122.6-9)
The Psalmist encourages the people to pray for Jerusalem’s peace. It seems with all the conflict in this world, that is something we must continue to do. But not just outside Jerusalem, inside as well. As God’s people we should pray for peace outside the church. But we should be even more concerned for the conflicts inside the church.
Pray for peace ‘within your walls’ ,’within our towers’, ‘for our brothers and companions’.
Peace be with you my brothers and sisters. For the sake of the church lets seek the good of one another.
The Psalm ends here and the second I have chosen actually comes from tomorrow’s chapter readings. Don’t worry we still have another post tomorrow.
1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. (Ps 133.1-3)
Brotherly unity is like precious oil on the head. Oil on the head makes on smell nice. It is used to set special people apart from the rest. It gives them a special purpose. In this case – priests. But as all God’s people are his royal priesthood we can extend it to ourselves.
When brothers are in unity it frees them up to serve the LORD together.
They are like rain to a dry planet, a blessing to the people of this world. If they tell others about the LORD their service brings life.
Story of Israel
The biggest split in Israel’s history was during Rehoboam’s reign. He imposed such a heavy burden on his brothers they divided from him. Thus Israel and Judah (formerly the one nation) broke apart. On the rare occasion they joined forces again. But mostly they kept fighting one another and its possible their own disunity contributed to each of their progress into idolatry and then exile.
Story of Jesus
When Jesus prayed I think he also had brotherly unity in mind as well;
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their [his apostles] word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 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. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17:20–26)
In the first Psalm, the brothers encouraged the Psalmist to go to the temple to worship the LORD. We don’t have a temple now. But we have something better. Jesus himself.
All Christians have Christ in common, he is the name they bear.
Lets remember we have Christ in common and keep trying to find brotherly unity in him.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.