June 12: Conflict Creators and Peacemakers
2 Chronicles 29:1–30:27; 1 John 2:7–14; Psalm 104:1–15
Conflict can be good. And in communities, it’s inevitable. The ways in which we respond to it can display and develop character. But what if we are the ones responsible for creating conflict with others?
John addresses the root of chronic conflict in a letter to a church community. He tells them, “The one who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9–11).
John was giving the church a way in which they could judge false teachers who created conflict and division. Those who were not walking in the light—who hated their brothers—were known by their contentious nature. Conversely, those who walked in light did not serve as a stumbling block for others. The light they dwelled in was shown in their love for other Christians.
Love for other Christ-followers is not optional—it’s an outpouring of the love that God shows to us. The nature of our interpersonal relationships is a reflection of where we stand with Him. External conflict that has hatred at its root might point to our own internal conflict—one that can be defined by a disagreement between what we confess and how we live (1 John 1:6).
What is causing conflicts in your relationships? If you are the one causing conflict, how can you seek peace—with God and others?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Hezekiah began to reign, when he was five and twenty years old, and reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did uprightly in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He opened the doors of the house of the Lord in the first year, and in the first month of his reign, and repaired them. And he brought in the Priests and the Levites, and gathered them into the East street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites: sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the Sanctuary. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and turned away their faces from the Tabernacle of the Lord, and turned their backs. They have also shut the doors of the porch, and quenched the lamps, and have neither burnt incense, nor offered burnt offerings in the Sanctuary unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord hath been on Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath made them a scattering, a desolation, and an hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For lo, our fathers are fallen by the sword, and our sons, and our daughters, and our wives are in captivity for the same cause. Now I purpose to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that he may turn away his fierce wrath from us. Now my sons, be not deceived: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and to be his ministers, and to burn incense. Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish teh son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel: and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah: And the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah, and Mattaniah: And of the sons of Heman, Jehiel, and Shimei: and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves and came according to the commandment of the king, and by the words of the Lord, for to cleanse the house of the Lord. And the Priests went into the inner parts of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the Temple of the Lord, into the court of the house of the Lord: and the Levites took it, to carry it out unto the brook Kidron. They began the first day of the first month to sanctify it, and the eight day of the month came they to the porch of the Lord: so they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and in the sixteenth day of the first month, they made an end. Then they went in to Hezekiah the king of said, We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the showbread table, with all the vessels thereof: And all the vessels which King Ahaz had cast aside when he reigned, and transgressed, have we prepared and sanctified: and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord. And Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the princes of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goes for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the Priests the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. So they slew the bullocks, and the Priests received the blood, and sprinkled it upon the altar: they slew also the rams, and sprinkled the blood upon the altar, and they slew the lambs, and tehy sprinkled the blood upon the altar. Then they brought the he goats for the sin offering before the king and the Congregation, and they laid their hands upon them. And the Priests slew them, and with the blood of them they cleansed the altar to reconcile all Israel: for the king and commanded for all Israel the burnt offering, and the sin offering. He appointed also the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with viols, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and Gad the King’s Seer, and Nathan the Prophet: for the commandment was by the hand of the Lord, and by the hand of the Prophets. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar: and when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began with the trumpets, and the instruments of David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, singing a song, and they blew the trumpets: all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him, bowed themselves, and worshipped. Then Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to praise Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the Seer. So they praised with joy, and they bowed themselves, and worshipped. And Hezekiah spake, and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves to the Lord: come near and bring the sacrifices and offerings of praise into the house of the Lord. And the Congregation brought sacrifice and offerings of praises, and every man that was willing in heart offered brnt offerings. And the number of the burnt offerings, which the Congregation brought, was seventy bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. And for sanctification six hundred bullocks, and three thousand sheep. But the Priests were too few, and were not able to flay all the burnt offerings: therefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till they had ended the work, and until other Priests were sanctified: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the Priests. And also the burnt offerings were many, with the fat of the peace offerings and the drink offerings for the burnt offering: so the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. Then Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had made the people so ready: for the thing was done suddenly And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. And the thing pleased the king, and all the Congregation And they decreed to make proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a great time, as it was written. So the posts went with letters by the commission of the King, and his princes, throughout all Isral and Judah, and with the commandment of the King, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant that was escaped of you, out of the hands of the kings of Assyria, escaped of you, out of the hands of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers: and therefore he made them desolate, as ye see. Be not ye now stiff-necked like your fathers, but give the hand of the Lord, and come into his Sanctuary, which he hath sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, and the fierceness of his wrath shall turn away from you. For if ye return unto the lord, your brethen and your children shall find mercy before them that led them captives, and they shall return unto this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from ye, if ye convert unto him. So his posts went from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn and mocked him. Nevertheless, divers of Asher, and Manasseh, and of Zebulun, submitted themselves, and came to Jerusalem. And the hand of God was in Judah, so that he gave them one heart to do the commandment of the king, and of the rulers, according to the word of the Lord. And there assembled to Jerusalem much people, to keep the feast of the unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly. And they arose, and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all those for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook of Kidron. Afterward they slew the Passover the fourteenth day of the second month: and the Priests and Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner, accordig to the Law of Moses the man of God: and the Priests sprinkled the blood returned of the hands of the Levites. Because there were many in the Congregation that were not sanctified, therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the Passover for all that were not clean, to sanctify it to the Lord. For a multitude of people, even a multitude of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Ishachar and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves, yet did eat the Passover: but not as it is written: wherefore Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord be mericful toward him, That prepareth his whole heart to seek the Lord God, the God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed, according to the purification of the Sanctuary. And the Lord heard Hezekiah, and healed the people. And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem, kept the feast of the unleavened bread seven days with great joy, and the Levites, and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord. And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that had good knowledge to sing unto the Lord: and they did eat in that feast seven days, and offered peace offerings, and praised the Lord God of their fathers. And the whole assembly took counsel to keep it another seven days. So they kept it seven days with joy. For Hezekiah king of Judah had given to the Congregation a thousand bulocks, and seven thousand sheep:.And the princes had given to the Congregation a thousand bullocks, and ten thousand sheep: and many Priests were sanctified. And all the Congregation of Judah rejoiced with the Priests and the Levites, and all the Congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah. So there was a great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like thing in Jerusalem. Then the Priests and the Levites alone, and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up unto heaven, to his holy habitation. 2 Chronicles 29:1–30:27
- Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye have had from the beginning: this old commandment is that word, which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, that which is true in him: and also in you: for the darkness is past, and that true light now sitteth. He that saith that he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness, until this time. He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of evil in him. But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. Little children, I write unto you, because your that darkness hath blinded his eyes. Little children, I write unto you, because your sins are forgiven you for his Name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome that wicked one. 1 John 2:7–14
- My soul, praise thou the Lord: O Lord my God, thou art exceeding great, thou art clothed with glory and honor. Which covereth himself with light, as with a garment, andspreadeth the heavens like a curtain. Which layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, and maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind. Which maketh the spirits his messengers, and a flaming fire his ministers. He set the earth upon her foundations, so that it shall never move. Thou coverest it with the deep as with a garment: the waters would stand above the mountains. Butat thy rebuke they flee: at the voice of thy thunder they haste away. And the mountains ascend, and the valleys descend to the place which thou hast established for them. But thou hast set them a bound which they shall not pass: they shall not return to cover the earth. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run between the mountians. They shall drink to all the beasts of the field, and the wild asses shall quench their thirst. By these springs shall the fowls of the heaven dwell, and sing among the branches. He watereth the mountains from his chambers, and the earth is filled with the fruit of thy works. He causeth grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the use man, that he may bring forth bread out of the earth, And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread that strengtheneth man’s heart. Psalm 104:1–15