December 28: Unity
Jeremiah 52:1–34; Romans 14:13–15:7; Proverbs 29:1–27
Paul calls us to refrain from judging others (Rom 14:3). That’s easy enough to do when the people in our communities are the people we’d want to have over for dinner. What happens when those in our community don’t value (or disvalue) the things we value (or disvalue)?
“Now may the God of patient endurance and of encouragement grant you to be in agreement with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that with one mind you may glorify with one mouth the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also has accepted you, to the glory of God” (Rom 15:5–7).
In this portion of his letter, Paul asks the Roman believers to stretch themselves. For the Roman believers, judgment might have centered on the issue of eating the meat of unclean animals or the observance of Jewish holidays. Paul asks them to withhold judgment of one another because only God has that right (Rom 14:10). He also asks them not to “be a cause for stumbling or a temptation” for people who genuinely struggle with things from which others feel free.
It’s easy to be in agreement when we’re in community with people of similar personalities, hobbies, and backgrounds. But when we need to be in agreement with someone who disagrees with the way we work out our faith, we feel inconvenienced. Here, Paul states that we not only need to be mindful; we need to be accepting. We can do so for one reason: “Christ also has accepted you” (Rom 15:7). We were reconciled to God while we were still His enemies (Rom 5:10). The great Peacemaker calls us to seek relationship with others because of His work. And His love puts our inconvenience in a whole new light.
How are you seeking unity in Christ with those who don’t reflect the things you do (or don’t) value?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, and his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. Doubtless because of the wrath of the Lord was against Jerusalem and judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, therefoer Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babel. But in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month the tenth day of the month came Nebuchadnezzar King of Babel, he and all his host against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of the king Zedekiah. Now in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no more bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went out of the city by night, by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the King’s garden: (now the Chaldeans were bythe city round about) and they went by the way of the wilderness. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and took Zedekiah in the desrt of Jericho and all the host was scattered from him.Then they took the King and carried him up unto the king of Babel to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babel slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and the king of Babel bound him in chains, and carried him to Babel, and put him in prison till the day of his death. Now in the fifth month in the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of the king Nebuchadnezzar King of Babel) came Nebuzaradan chief steward which stood before the king of Babel in Jerusalem, And burnt the House of the Lord, and the King’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the great houses burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans that were with the chief steward, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. Then Nebuzaran the chief steward carried away captive certain of the people that remained in the city, and those that were fled, and fallen to the King of Babel, with the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzaradan the chief steward left certain of the poor of the land, to dress the vines, and to till the land. Also the pillars of brass that were in the HOuse of the Lord, and the bases, and the brazen Sea, that was in the HOuse of the Lord, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babel. The pots also and the besoms, and the instruments of music, and the basins, and the incense dishes, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. And the bowls, and the ashpans, and the basins, and the pots, adn the candlesticks, and the incense dishes, and the cups, and all that was of gold, and that was of silver, took the chief steward away. With the two pillars, one Sea, and twelve brazen bulls, that were under the bases, which King Solomon had made in the House of the Lord: the brass of all these vessels was without weight. And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a thread of twelve cubits did compass it, and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow. And a chapiter of brass was upon it, and the height of one chapiter was five cubits with network, and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass: the second pillar also, and the pomegranates were like unto these. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side: and all the pomegranates upon the network were like unto these. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side: and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about. And the chief steward took Seraiah the chief Priest, and Zephaniah the second Priest, and the three keepers of the door. He took also out of the city an Eunuch, which had the oversignt of the men of war, and seven men that were in the King’s presence, which were found in the city, and Sopher captain of the host, who mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city. Nebuzaradan the chief steward took them, and slew them in Riblah, in the land of Hamath: thus Judah was carried away captive out of this own land. This is the peope, whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive, in the seventh year, even three thousand Jews, and three and twenty. In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons. in the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief steward carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred. And in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin King of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, Evil-Merodach king of Babel, in the first year of his reign, lifte dup the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him out of prison, And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the Kings, that were with hi in Babel, And changed his prison garments, and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. His portion was a continual portion given him of the king of Babel, every day a certain, all the days of his life until he died.. Jeremiah 52:1–34
- Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but use your judgments rather in this that no man put an occasion to fall, or a stumbling block before his brother. I know, and am persuaded through the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but unto him that judgeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved for the meat, now walkest thou not charitably: destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Cause not your commodity to be evil spoken of. For whosoever in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable unto God, and is approved of men. Let us then follow those things which concern peace, and wherewith one may edify another. Destroy not the work of god for meat’s sake: all things indeed are pute: but it is evil for the man which eateth with offense. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or made weak. Hast thou faith? have it with thyself before God: blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. For he that doubteth, is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin: We which are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Therefore let every man please his neighbor in that that is good to edification. For Christ also wold not please himself, but as it is written, The rebukes of them which rebuke thee, fell on me. For whatsoever things are written aforetime, are written for our learning, that we through patience, and comfort o the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation give you that ye be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus, That ye with one mind, and with one mouth may praise God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Romans 14:13–15:7
- A man that hardeneth his neck when he is rebuked, shall suddenly be destroyed, and cannot be cured. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people sigh. A man that loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that feedeth harlots wasteth his substance. A king by judment maintaineth the country: but a man receiving gifts, destroyeth it. A man that flattereth his neighbor, spreadeth a net for his steps. In the transgression of an evil man is his snare: but the righteous doth sing andrejoice. The righteous knoweth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not knowledge. Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath. If a wise man contend with a foolish man, whether he be angry or laugh, there is no rest. Bloody men hate him that is upright: but the just have care of his soul. A fool poureth out all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterward. Of a prince that hearkeneth to lies, all his servants are wicked. The poor and the usurer meet together, and the Lord lightened both their eyes. A King that judgeth the poor in truth, his throne shall be established forever. The rod and correction give wisdom, but a child set at liberty, maketh his mother ashamed. When the wicked are increased, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. Correct thy son, and he will give thee rest, and will give pleasures to thy soul. Where there is no wisdom, the people decay: but he that keepeth the law is blessed. a servant will not be chastised with words: though he understand, yet he will not answer. Seest thou a man hasty in his matters? there is more hope of a fool, than of him. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from youth, at length he will be even as his son. An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. The pride of a man shall bring him low: but the humble in spirit shall enjoy glory. He that is partner with a thief, hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing and declareth it not. The fear of man bringeth a snare: but he that trusteth in the Lord shall be exalted. Many do seek the face of the ruler: but every man’s judgment cometh from the Lord. A wicked man is abomination to the just, and he that is upright in his way, is abomination to the wicked . Proverbs 29:1–27