Question: What are you to do when others have treated you wrong?
Let’s get Samuel to help us answer this question. Samuel was a prophet and he served God from his youth. The people of God came to a point where they said Samuel is getting old, his sons are doing whatever they want to so we no longer want to have you over us, we want a king so we can be just like the other nations. God told Samuel to give them what they wanted.
He also told Samuel they are not rejecting you, but they are rejecting me. However in chapter 12 of 1st Samuel he gives his farewell speech. He ask, what have I done wrong to you that you would reject me? Yet listen to what Samuel says in verse 23 of this chapter even after the people have rejected him as the one they want to follow.
1 Samuel 12:23 – Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
What are we to do when others have treated us wrong? We are to make the stand like Samuel did and do what is right before God. What is important for us to understand here is that even when we feel rejected by others we must still make sure that we stand for what is right. He acknowledges that the sin is against God if he does not continue to pray for these people. This is important for us to understand. If we have been lied on, cheated, envied or anything else that makes us feel rejected, we have to do as Samuel did and make the commitment to do things God’s way. This is the first step to our receiving the blessings of God and being in harmony with him. This is what this first line in the scripture is telling us…it is wonderful and pleasant that brothers should be in harmony, because it is pleasing to God that we make the decision to do things his way even if others refuse to.
Question: How should we look at unity or harmony? Let’s look at the best example of unity, the Triune God. The greatest example we have of how we should look is to look at God himself.
- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one in purpose. They all work together for one purpose. One does not promote himself above the other, the Holy Spirit does not work out his own ideas and wishes but he does the purpose of the Son. The Son does not do his own desire but he does that which is the will of the Father. They are united in purpose. This is how we live in unity. We must have one purpose. What is our purpose? To love God and love one another. These are the two greatest commandments from which we are able to do the others.
- Uniquely different but uniquely blended. Each has a unique purpose in the Godhead. The Father called for man to be created in his image. He spoke the words and from his word the world and man was created. The Holy Spirit moved upon the waters and caused the waters to be filled with all living creates. This was one example of the three working as one in the Godhead. God the Father called for the creation, Christ who is the word made flesh caused all things that were created to be, for there is nothing that was created that was not in him. The Spirit was active in carrying out the word. Another example.
The cross of Christ. This was not an “oh oh” moment for God. God knew before Adam and Eve even had the opportunity to sin, that the cross of Christ would be needed because of the fall of mankind. God set in motion the mission of salvation before the foundations of the world. God the Son, Jesus carried out the mission and came to give himself as a ransom for many. God the Holy Spirit now empowers the church (that’s you and I) to continue to carry the mission of Christ to a dying world. These are the 3 different persons of the trinity working together. Each has a different purpose but they work that purpose together. That is what you and I are called to do. We are uniquely different but are called to be uniquely blended. Each of us is called to carry out our purpose in the body but we are still connected to create one body, one people of God, one holy nation. What would it look like with a body with seven arms or ten legs? It would be deformed and it could not function, as it should. You and I are called to be what we are called to be and we blend together to make that up. So maybe some have the same types of gifting and you make up the arm. You must all blend together to function as an arm would. One of you can not decide, I’ve really got this gift down pat, I’m much better at it than sister “soinso”, so I’m going to be the arm all by myself. We are moving into a deformed body. The triune God was 3 in 1. We are to be uniquely different but are to blend into one. One people, one body.
- One is not greater than the other. In the trinity there is not one that is more important or greater than the other. They are equaled in important. They require equal worship, equal honor, equal reverence and love. In fact Jesus says in the word “My Father and I are one”. They are one in equality as well as purpose.
- They all work for fulfillment of the other. Each works to complete the purpose of the other. The Holy Spirit is often spoken of in scripture as Jesus’ Holy Spirit or God’s Holy Spirit. That is because his purpose is not his own, but to fulfill the purpose of the Father and the Son. Jesus talks of not doing his will but the will of the father. Not my will by thine, is Jesus’ stand. Jesus gives himself to fulfill the purpose of the Father, which is to draw all men to him and therefore to the Father. For Jesus told his disciples if you see me, you’ve seen the Father.
This gives us a clear understanding of how we are to be united or in harmony. We can be united because the God we serve is a God in harmony with himself. There is no struggle in God’s make up. If we say that we belong to him, shouldn’t we possess or look like his attributes? We should be one in our purpose, which is the fulfillment of God’s mission in the world. We are all different but that is something to be honored not put down. God made us uniquely different, yet we come together uniquely and make his family. One is not greater than the other. If I preach and you don’t that does not make me more loved by God than you. I may have more responsibility but that does not make me better. And finally it shows us that we all work for the fulfillment of the other. I should take pleasure in investing in you so that you can reach what God has for you to reach. My gifts are not for me, but for you, to build you up and help equip you to do what God has required for us to do.