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Bible Pathways - July 17, 2005

July 17


Read Psalms 132:1


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 the 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; also Exodus 30:25,30; Leviticus 8:12). The holy anointing oil that was poured upon the head of Aaron, the first high priest, was a foreshadowing of the anointing, indwelling, and outflowing of the Holy Spirit upon believers. 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.


Since the day of Pentecost, the indwelling Holy Spirit lives within all true Christians (see I John 2:27). Jesus prayed for unity among His followers: That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that You have sent Me (John 17:21). In a spirit of love, we should express our oneness without partiality, regardless of race, nationality, education, or wealth, for together we are the Body of Christ (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 divisive and are all 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 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. Christians are to be Christlike with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring (making every effort) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).


Christ Revealed:


As the descendant of David, who will one day sit upon the throne (Psalm 132:11; compare Luke 1:32; Acts 2:29-30).


Word Studies:


132:6 Ephratah the district in which Bethlehem was located; 132:11 fruit = offspring; 132:17 horn = authority, power . . . bud = flourish; 135:4 Jacob . . . His peculiar treasure = the people of God are 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; 137:7 Rase = overthrow, destroy, demolish.


Prayer Needs:


Pray for Country: Gambia (1 million) in West Africa · Major languages: English and Mandinka · Religious freedom · 87% Muslim; 10% animism and ancestral spirit worship; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and give thanks to the Lord for your brothers and sisters in Christ (Colossians 1:2-3).


Optional Reading: II Timothy 2


Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 4:16

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