2 Chronicles 30:21 The Levites and priests sang to the Lord every day, accompanied by the Lord’s instruments of praise.
The NIV tones this down a little bit, but in a footnote they do say this could be translated “resounding instruments.” The Japanese goes with that, indicating that they made a lot of noise! This was quite a 2-week barbecue party! It was indeed the first time people from the Northern tribes had joined with Judah and Benjamin to celebrate Passover at the temple in Jerusalem since the nation had been divided, as is noted in verse 26, and it was certainly unusual to let it run for two weeks. The joy was probably comparable to that experienced in 1948 when Israel was reinstated as a nation, and then in 1967 with the reunification of Jerusalem. God loves spiritual unity! The three verses of Psalm 133 are an expression of that, and of course, unity was a major theme of Jesus’ Pastoral Prayer just before His crucifixion, recorded in John 17. The thing is, there is nothing coerced about genuine unity. Many tyrants have tried to force unity, notably in the “Soviet Union,” which quickly fell apart when the pressure was removed. Putin is trying to “reunify” Ukraine with Russia by force right now, and it’s not working. God’s unity is from the inside out!
For much of my life I have been distressed by the divisions in the Body of Christ. That’s a major reason this church is organizationally independent: the minute we put up a denominational name, someone will shut us out. However, as I have told people for years, we would be in deep trouble if we were spiritually independent. Christ has only one Body, and all who are committed to Jesus as the only Savior and Lord are members of it, whatever strange ideas they may have tried to add to the mix. Disagreements among siblings don’t make them any less siblings! Growing up and living as a Caucasian in Japan has made me very aware of the fleshly obstacles to unity, but nothing is too difficult for God. We are promised that before God’s throne there will be “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.” (Revelation 7:9) That’s the unity Jesus prayed for!
Father, thank You for the unity we can enjoy by Your Spirit even now. Thank You for the fellowship Cathy and I could have yesterday with people with whom we have disagreed theologically in the past. Thank You for the many barrier-crossing connections we have of all sorts. Help us indeed be instruments of unity in the Body of Christ, not of compromise but of humble gratitude for Your grace, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!
Jack, even though it has been 9 years since last I spent time with you and Cathy, your friendship in the Lord has been a joy and an encouragement for me personally and in ministry. One of the gifts from the Lord I have experienced in my ministry is the unity (as imperfect as it is) I have felt with you and other Christians of various traditions within the Body of Christ.
I long for the day when our unity in Him is perfected and rejoice in what it has been so far.
Liam, I tried to respond from my study computer as soon as I was notified of your comment, but it didn’t want to recognize that I was the owner of the blog, even though Word Press had sent me an email to tell me about your comment! Anyway, now that I’m non my devotional computer (from which I post my blog) I can respond. I too greatly treasure the unity we have in Christ, and look forward to exercising that more, both in this world and in eternity.