A house divided…



Psalm 133: 1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

This is a picture of blessing the psalmist has painted for us. Having oil run down one’s beard and onto one’s robe may not seem to us like a pleasant experience, however it indicates one who has the favor of God. For instance, when God selected King David as Israel’s king, he commanded the prophet Samuel to pour oil over David’s head as a sign of his anointing.

But what strikes me this morning is the very thought behind the psalm. It is indeed very good and pleasant when kindred (family) live together in unity – because it so rarely happens. There were 12 tribes of Israel and they were continually fighting with one another. The people were mostly unified during King David’s reign, but then as his son Solomon took over – and especially after Solomon – divisions took root that were never healed. The people of God ultimately split into two kingdoms (Israel in the north, Judah in the south). And, weakened by their divisions, both kingdoms would fall.

Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25) 

This is Thanksgiving week. For many people it’s a wonderful time for being with those we love, sharing a delicious meal, and taking some time to rest from our labors. That said, it’s also this time of year when divisions in families become hard to ignore. Bitterness, unforgiveness, grudges and misunderstandings are exposed in painful ways. For some people, the honest truth is that the holidays are more to be endured rather than enjoyed.

So today we’ll pray for families, all families, because there is no such thing as a perfectly functioning family. That said, families are incredibly important to our health and well-being. Let’s pray.

Lord Jesus, it is indeed wonderful when we can live together in unity. Yet, for many, this is not our reality. We are not united, but divided. Give us grace, Lord, to make peace with those we call “family” – whether blood relatives or not. Heal our wounds and soften the scars from our past. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

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