Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 23 July 21:
Nehemiah 3:1, 7, 8, 18, 34 – The high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built…. And next to them repaired… And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River…. Goldsmiths repaired…. One of the perfumers repaired…. [The] ruler of half the district of Jerusalem repaired…. The Levites repaired…. [and] the merchants repaired.
Rebuilding the wall involved tearing down the man-made socioeconomic stratifications and ‘walls’ that often divide people. In Nehemiah 3, we see people of all social groups, backgrounds, professions, and man-made classifications working side-by-side to accomplish a seemingly impossible task, united by common faith which supersedes all other identities and motivations. This was far more than a display of people united in philosophy, vision and purpose; this was a display of people united by God and empowered by God to do what could never be accomplished through worldly causes, organizations and politics.
Throughout history, many have sought to unite diverse groups through various “isms” and organizations, but unity in anything outside of God and His will merely removes barriers to sin and expedites destruction, which is why God “confused the language of all the earth,” in Genesis 11, so the evil of mankind would have its limits – “Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” Jesus prayed for our unity in Him, which is unity with Love, Wisdom, The Way, the Truth, The Life, and the Prince of Peace – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 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.” (John 17:22, 23)
Faith in Jesus tears down all the walls that once divided people from God and people from each other – “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:11-13) “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17) Supernatural unity is the mark of God’s people, our visible testimony to the world that Jesus is Lord. Do you live in the unity of Christ with God’s people?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 July 21: Make Jesus’ prayer in John 17 your prayer, and pursue unity in Him with others by living the Gospel and proclaiming the Gospel. Don’t promote another ‘unity’ or another ‘gospel’ which doesn’t have Christ as central and which is really no gospel at all, offering only the illusion of peace and love.
- John 14:27 — Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10 — I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
- Galatians 3:26-28 — For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Ephesians 4:1-6 — I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.