July 17

Read Psalms 132 -- 138

In Today's Reading:

A prayer for God's blessing; joy of unity; exhortation to praise the Lord; God's enduring mercy; God's Word magnified

The psalmist reminds us of how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments (Psalm 133:1-2; Exodus 30:25,30; Leviticus 8:12). The holy anointing oil that was poured upon the head of Aaron, the first high priest, is a foreshadowing of the anointing, indwelling, and outflowing of the Holy Spirit upon believers today. The oil poured out symbolized the Holy Spirit Who, in love, covers as well as permeates the lives of those who have submitted themselves to Him.

The same indwelling Holy Spirit lives within all true Christians (see I John 2:27). Therefore, in a spirit of love, we should express the oneness of believers, without partiality, regardless of race, nationality, education, or wealth, for we are the Body of Christ (see I Corinthians 12:27).

The key to true unity is to let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (self-seeking or petty ambition); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). Our fallen nature is ever prone to distort unwelcome encounters with others and our emotions can create a crisis out of unimportant incidents. Added to this, we all too often selfishly demand our own rights and blame our frustrations on others. Pride, self-will, and an independent spirit are all great enemies of the Spirit-filled life. It is Christlike to accept personal offense with patience rather than to react to someone's rudeness. We need to recognize that people's bad attitudes are often momentary frustrations caused by previous conflicts, sorrows, sufferings, or bad news. God permits difficult people to come into our lives to give us an opportunity to express His love and patience toward them — just as our Lord has made known His love and mercy toward us.

The unity of believers can be compared to a great orchestra with many instruments creating beautiful harmony. To maintain that harmony, we each must stay in tune by following the Master Conductor. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).

Christ Revealed:

As the descendant of David, Who would sit upon David's throne (see Psalm 132:11). He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32; see Acts 2:29-30).

Word Studies:

132:6 Ephratah the district in which Bethlehem was located; 132:11 fruit = offspring; 132:17 bud = flourish; 135:4 His peculiar treasure = the people of God, God's own possession; 135:14 repent Himself concerning His servants = God will have compassion upon His people; 136:12 a stretched out arm = mighty power; 137:3 wasted = plundered; 137:4 strange = foreign; 137:5 her cunning = skill upon the harp; 137:7 Rase = overthrow, destroy, demolish.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Wanda Baker · Pray for Sheryl Hesse and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WTRM-FM, Winchester VA · Country: Kyrgyzstan (5 million) eastern central Asia · Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian · Religious freedom · 60% Muslim; 11% Russian Orthodox; .8% Protestant/Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Lift up prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God even in times of adversity (Acts 16:22-25).

Optional Reading: II Timothy 2

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:10