Posted by: arieliondotcom | June 23, 2013

Battling Brothers (2 Chronicles 11)

Battling Brothers
(2 Chronicles 11)

Sad to say, Christians have many divisions. There are various churches, various denominations and various divisions within those denominations. Some within the same denomination will not take Communion together, the LORD’s Supper given by Christ Himself to bind Believers together to Himself and each other. Nowadays there are even divisions of Christians between political parties on top of the divisions on faith or interpretation issues.

Some of these divisions are good, even GOD-ordained. Sometimes we must disagree, even struggle with, those who hold what the Bible and our convictions say is false doctrine. And there is much that is unclear in practice in Scripture though the way to salvation is clear.

Today’s Scripture teaches us how to behave in such situations through the examples of Kings Jeroboam and Rehoboam.

GOD used a division between the tribes of Israel as a judgment for their idolatry. So He had Jeroboam break 10 of the 12 tribes away. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained to King Rehoboam, son of Solomon and grandson of David.

Since all of the worship of the true GOD took place in Jerusalem of Judah, the rebel King Jeroboam refused to allow worship of the true GOD in the 10 tribes he led. He set up idol worship and new altars and new priests to keep his people out of Judah. He forced all of the priests and Levites and anyone who wanted to worship the true GOD to leave the northern kingdom he set up in Samaria and return to the southern kingdom of Judah under King Rehoboam.

Rehoboam went out to war against the rebels, thinking they were rebelling against GOD so he would either bring them back by force or destroy them. But GOD sends word to tell Rehoboam to stop. He was forbidden from battling his brother Israelites. So Rehoboam returned to Judah and strengthened his borders and cities against attack instead.

Notice that GOD kept the division. He didn’t tell Rehoboam to surrender or change his mind. The only change was how Rehoboam was to confront his fellow Israelites, as wrong as they were.

For three years, Rehoboam did what was right. He strengthened what he had. He welcomed the like minded in worship and built up the number of people and he appointed strong leaders, provided with plenty of provisions, to lead the city strongholds he set up. He did not attack his fellow Israelites. But he prepared and strengthened his people against an attack from them.

The Bible says that it is a blessing when brothers dwell together in unity. But sometimes that isn’t possible. It isn’t possible in human families, as JESUS warns that Christians will be ostracized from their unbelieving family members because of Him. And it isn’t always possible as the Body of Christ as Paul warns not to have fellowship with those who say they are Christians yet don’t hold sound doctrine. But how can John then say unbelievers will know we are Christians by our love? Today’s Scripture shows how: By defending what is right not attacking what is wrong.

When you have a disagreement with another Believer or even one who says he is a Believer but denies solid doctrine, strengthen yourself. Make sure what you are defending is in the Bible and not opinion. Make sure you can cite chapter and verse for your position. Study Scripture and strengthen your position. Seek counsel from other strong Believers, both alive and in readings. Pray about it. Make sure it is something life or death, between having eternal Life and damnation. And make sure this is a point you have conviction about through prayer with GOD.

This is what Paul talks about when he says to put on the full armor of GOD. The only offensive weapon you have is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of GOD. And He uses His sword through you in ways you can’t imagine. But He only promises to use His Word, not yours, no matter how clever. Everything else is defensive armor. It’s a matter of being armored with the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shield of faith and shoes of the Gospel.

GOD’s message to us is the same as it was to Rehoboam. When dealing with others, especially those who claim to be Christians but disagree on issues central to the Gospel, we are to be strong and shielded in what He provides and in His Word. We are to let Him use His Word, the Bible, through us. But we are not to attack in our own strength. Simply stand strong ready to withstand attacks as the Gospel brings you forward where GOD leads.

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