Thoroughly Equipped: Fight for Unity

Today’s reading is 2 Kings 13:1-14:29, Acts 18:23-19:12, Psalm 146:1-10, Proverbs 18:2-3.

Hello, Friends!  I’m back!  Yes, I am alive, and yes, I have continued our daily reading.  So many good accounts we have read, and at the same time, so many confusing stories!  I have learned a lot, have been reminded of a lot, but for some reason have not been able to write it down.  Please pray for me about that.  But today, as I was reading, I began to find some words to write about the truth I was reading.  I hope it makes sense to you, as it did to me.

Today’s reading finds us in the continued spot of a divided kingdom.  What was once called Israel has now been divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah.  Why were they divided?  The struggle between the tribes go back to the beginning of the creation of the tribes.  Think about the conflict the brothers witnessed growing up, as their mothers, Rachel and Leah, fought for the affection of their father, Jacob.  This conflict was passed down from generation to generations.

King David was able to unite the tribes for a short season, which was a reflection of the One to come through his lineage.  As we experience conflict among our “brothers”, both in our genetic family and in our spiritual family, only Jesus can bring unity.  Unity is a valuable attribute in the eyes of the Lord.  In His farewell prayer, known as His High Priestly prayer, Jesus asked very specific things.  Go back and read the prayer in John 17.

Here is the summary:  Jesus prayed knowing the hour had come.  He prayed that He would glorify the Father and that the Father would glorify the Son–that His completed work on earth would fulfill the purpose for which it was established—to bring glory to the Trinity.  Then, He turned His attention to the true believers.  He acknowledged that they belonged to the Lord, He asked that God would keep them from the evil one, He asked that they be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word, He asked that they be sent out as witnesses into the world.  And He asked one more very important thing:

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 

                                                                        John 17:11

In verses 20-23, He reiterates and extends this prayer to us, the future generations:

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their 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. 

Why should we be unified?  So that the world may know that God sent Jesus to prove His love for the world.  The division of Christian brothers and sisters will hinder this truth going forth.  The enemy loves to divide, for if he can divide us believers, he can conqueror.  But we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.  (Romans 8:37) As we fight for our unity in Christ, we will be MORE than conquerors.

What does this have to do with today’s text?  As previously stated, the people of God were divided between two kingdoms.  They were not unified.  There were legitimate reasons for this, but it is sad nonetheless.  What I noticed in the passage today was that when King Jehoash of Israel humbled himself to pay respect to the dying prophet, Elisha, Elisha prophesied victory of the king’s enemies.  But the victory was not in relation to victory over his brothers, but victory over the real enemy.

15 Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told.16 Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands.

17 Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.”

What is my point?  We need to discern who our real enemy is.  We often live in conflict and misunderstanding among our brothers and sisters.  We think they are the enemy.  But the Word of God tells us the truth about that in Ephesians 6:

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[g]

We must fight for our unity so that the world will know the truth about the love of God through Jesus, His Son.  We must fight the enemy, but realize that our enemy is not the “flesh and blood” of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Today, let’s fight for unity.  Let’s let the little things go.  Let’s resist bitterness and misunderstanding.  Let’s find unity so that we may effectively spread the truth of God’s love for the world.

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