Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May 1, 2012 … Relational Unity …

Chronological Passage of the Day [NIV]: … Psalm 133 … 1 How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. 
Chronological Passage of the Day [MSG]: … Psalm 133 … 1-3 How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It's like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron's beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It's like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that's where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.  

My Journal for Today: Today, for reasons I cannot grasp, the editors of the Chronological Reading Plan online from YouVersion.com have decided to have the readers focus on only one Psalm … Psalm 133, a song King David wrote reflecting on the peace and joy he observed when God’s people get along and are working in unity, first with God’s purpose (i.e., vertical, spiritual unity) and then with one another as God’s chosen people (i.e., horizontal, personal unity).

Here’s what my Parsons Commentary writes, reflecting on this Psalm 133: " David stated that unity is pleasant and precious. Unfortunately, unity is not always found in the church, as it should be. People disagree and cause division over unimportant issues. Some delight in causing tension by discrediting others. Unity [in the church] is important because (1) it makes the church a positive example to the world and helps draw others to the Lord; (2) it helps us cooperate as a body of believers as God meant us to, giving us a foretaste of heaven; (3) it renews and revitalizes ministry because there is less tension to sap our energy."

What the Parsons commentary brings out is very pertinent and practical, isn’t it? Have you ever been on a committee or task group where the group could not come together in unity of purpose? In such a situation there is no joy in working, no peace of purpose. There is only relational turmoil where members of the group exercise their egos and try to wrestle for personal control. And such a group will never be able to accomplish the purpose for which they’re charged if they do not have a vertically, agree-upon purpose, and a horizontally-determination desire to work together to accomplish their charged purpose.

Think about THE CHURCH, which is God’s gathering of His New Covenant peoples to accomplish His charged purpose – the Great Commission (see Matthew 28: 19-20). And as God might likely reflect through a paraphrase of David’s song, quoted above, ... "How wonderful and beautiful it is when the church comes together in unity to pour forth the love of God, flowing down from above, like rivers of living water, cascading refreshingly from above into the lives of all who would thirst and drink of the life-giving essence of Christ’s living waters.”

Maybe I wax a bit poetic here. But David beautifully pictured the unity of God’s people as being like the waters which come down from the highest point in the Holy Land, … Mount Hermon. And they flow downward into the Jordan River, which moves through Israel, providing the life-giving waters to today’s Holy Land as well as to the promised-land to God’s people in the days of David. But David’s word picture, if taken in the negative, would imply that the waters cannot flow adequately, providing life and purpose, when they become dried up by disunity. In other words, God’s love cannot flow horizontally outward from God’s people unless it flows from a unity of purpose from God’s vertical provision of His life-giving waters.

Certainly the application for God’s people – and that’s you and me, my dear ones – is for us to provide God’s life-giving love, flowing from our vertical relationship with God; and to do this, we must come together in unity to allow those waters to move outward into the lives of others, giving them the sustenance from God’s love.

When we, who are charged to be in unity to let God’s love pour forth, cannot work together for God’s purposes, or we live in selfish disobedience of God’s will, the life-giving and life-sustaining living waters of God’s love cannot come down from above and pour horizontally into the lives of others.

 And what does this mean? It means that we cannot experience the joy and peace David wrote about in Psalm 133 when we – God’s people – cannot come together in unity. And unfortunately, I think we see far too much of that discord and inability to carry out God’s Great Commission because there is far too much disunity within the Body of Christ.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to be a vessel of Your living waters of love by promoting unity within Your Body and by letting Your love flow downward from You and outward into the lives of others. Amen

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