“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” ( I Thessalonians 5:11).
Almost everyone is aware of that fiery Biblical incident, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Cain had just murdered his younger brother Abel, something he thought was all out of view, only for the Lord to bring to his attention that he was actually meant to look out for him. He would suffer consequences for that. “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” ( vv 11).
If there was a relation which clearly showed what the Lord here had in mind there is that of Jonathan and David. As the son of King Saul, Jonathan was in direct line for succession and could have seen David as a rival. Instead he made a pact to watch his back. “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself'’ ( I Samuel 18:1-3).
This was not just for passing. At one point Jonathan would put his life in danger for his brother. When Saul made his intentions very clear, he objected, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him” ( I Samuel 20: 32-33).
But why does all this count to us! God has placed brotherly relations around us for a purpose. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” ( Proverbs 27:17). Further, we are reminded, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over” ( Mathew 18:15). This means that where we notice a matter of concern if someone is truly your brother in Christ go and share that concern with him confidentially in person, other than just letting it pass or worse still, carelessly discussing it elsewhere, only to cause greater harm and hurt in the end!
Unlike Cain, lets resolve to be “our brother’s keeper!”
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you have given us brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may lift up one another and watch out for each other’s back to your glory, and may you help us to be always conscious of this, for your kingdom’s glory, this we pray in your holy Almighty name.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!