Our bodies can be ravaged by disease in a relatively short amount of time. One microscopic virus gains access to the body. We may inhale it, or it may enter our body as the result of a bite, through an open wound, or via our digestive system. That virus invades a neighboring healthy cell by injecting its own diseased genetic material into that cell. In a sense, the healthy cell is high-jacked, and the virus is duplicated, eventually bursting the cell apart and spreading to more neighboring healthy cells. The process repeats, infecting more and more healthy cells, and voila, you are one sick puppy!
We spoke yesterday of the external attacks that Israel suffered at the hands of their enemies, but unfortunately, internal strife caused as much unrest and pain as those battles originating from outside the camp. The poorest of the population of Jerusalem were being exploited, not by strangers or heathens, nor by surrounding nations, but by their own brethren. For decades prior, while the nation of Judah was under Babylonian rule, many Hebrews remaining in their land had mortgaged their homes and property, sold themselves into slavery, and fallen into deep debt due to the lack of sustenance caused by that foreign oppression. But now that God’s people were returning to their land, those guilty of extorting these needy countrymen were no longer ungodly foreigners, but wealthy, Jewish nationals who were charging exorbitant usury (interest) to add to the poor’s misery. God’s people were inflicting pain on each other, oppressing the neediest of their brethren, dividing into classes according to financial status. Nehemiah’s reaction was immediate and decisive, rebuking those well-to-do brethren and encouraging them to restore to those suffering peasants “…their lands, their vineyards, their olive yards, and their houses…” National unity had to be restored, wrongs had to be made right, God’s people needed to care for each other again.
As Satan sets his sights on destroying the work of God, sometimes we battle “…principalities….powers…spiritual wickedness in high places” and those attacks can be tough battles, as we noted yesterday. But often we suffer from friendly fire, a misguided bomb intended for the enemy, but lobbed into our own hearts by those closest to us. That is unexpected, painful, brutal, the ultimate in betrayal. Churches have been destroyed from within, families torn apart from inner strife, and lifelong friendships dissolved by way of gossip and hurtful words. Let’s be kind to our brothers and sisters in Christ, united in our purpose to serve the King of kings. And when hit by friendly fire, may we find the mercy and grace to forgive as Christ would, and not retaliate. Let’s never forget that we are all on the same team; we are family.
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Lord, help me to be kind to those who are my brothers and sisters in the faith. Help me not to tear down through hurtful words and actions, but to build up through encouragement and edification. Help me to love them as You love me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-425-62863b360365c' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=425&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-425-62863b360365c' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-425-62863b360365c' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>