Church Weekly
08 Jan 2023



Dear Members in Christ,                                                                          

How good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1-3) – Part 1: The root cause of disunity and the biblical remedy for it

It is the start of another new year, the year of the Lord 2023. How should we equip ourselves for service, for work, for ministry within the church in the New Year? Our theme for this year is, “How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”, taken from Psalm 133:1.  This is a psalm of David, a man after God’s own heart, a great king and a fearless warrior, and the shepherd of God’s people. King David is the only king of Israel often named as a standard for kings, against whom all the other successive kings are measured. This was what King David wrote.

“Behold, 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; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  Psalm 133

The causes of disunity amongst God’s people

David the psalmist wrote this psalm about the relationship amongst “brethren”. The term brethren tells the reader that this psalm is aimed at people who profess to stand together. As a king over God’s people, the reference must then be of people who are on God’s side, as opposed to those who are outside the kingdom of Israel. David was credited to being the first king of Israel who truly united the kingdom of Israel. He fought off the enemies, and consolidated the borders of the kingdom. But in his lifetime, David has had much experience with the unpleasantness of disunity. In his youth, he had already experienced the ill-intended words of an elder brother, a sibling. This was recorded in 1 Samuel 17, when Israel was facing-off with the Philistines, he was tasked to visit his brothers in the front. He was asked to bring some provisions to his brothers and to find out about their welfare, but his mission of love and care was misunderstood. The eldest brother Eliab spoke roughly to David saying, “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart.” 1 Samuel 17:28.

Even later in life, when he was inducted into Saul’s court, he had seen adversity in relationship between people who professed to be God’s people. From the day he had entered Saul’s court, his life was endangered despite the fact that “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him” 1 Sam 18:5. All this happened because King Saul was jealous of David’s battlefield exploits.

When David consolidated and ruled his kingdom, he still had internal disunity and disputes. Joab, one of David’s military commanders was often a thorn in David’s side. At one point in time, Joab killed Amasa, a commander whom David had appointed. This was on the slightest (even doubtful) hint of suspicion of his loyalty to the kingdom.

What were the causes of the strife and conflicts within the kingdom that King David had experienced? In the case of Eliab it was a spirit of ill intent, a display of unrighteous anger against his own brother. In the case of Saul, it was a spirit of envy, a deep jealousy against a brother who is praised amongst the people. In the case of Joab, it was a matter of self-interest, coupled with a cruel and violent nature. 

Brothers and sisters, let us take these examples for a lesson, lest we fall into the same trap. Lest we too become the cause of disunity. Whether it is within the family, or in the church, or in the places of work that God had placed us, let us be very careful that we do not fall into the trap of the adversary. 

The Biblical remedy – identifying and correcting the cause of disunity

If we look at the above examples, we cannot help but ponder, what is the cause for God’s people to be disunited? The simple answer is the adversary, who tempts and draws us into sin. However, there is room for further reflection. The Bible gives us the example and the answer, and it is the same reason the Apostle Paul rebukes the Corinthians.

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:3

Dearly beloved, let us be cautious of carnality for this is the cause of envying, strife, unwarranted suspicions, and any ill-intent towards one another. When God’s people do not walk in meekness towards one another, division and strife is bound to occur. When God’s people are carnal and dwell upon matters of self-interest. When God’s people become overly sensitive and suspicious of each other – this is the very ground upon which our adversary the roaring lion seeks to devour us. Let us be very watchful over our feelings and emotions, over our speech and response to others around us.

What is the biblical remedy to prevent disunity? Firstly, the Bible warns us against carnality i.e. do not let the flesh take over our lives. Fleshly anger, a vengeful heart, unrighteous hatred, envy and maliciousness are the very qualities that the apostle warns against. The Apostle wrote in Ephesians 4:30, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice”. The action word “put away” is the action of lifting up an object and putting it aside. This is the Biblical remedy to prevent disunity.

And as a reinforcement of the above lesson the Apostle Paul further wrote, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31.

The unity amongst brethren is portrayed in the Bible as being pleasant and fragrant. Let us do our utmost to ensure the unity of the church, in our respective areas of service and in fellowship with one another. May God bless and keep us united with one another at home, in church, and in our places of testimony, that God’s name be glorified. Amen.

In Christ,
Rev. Lim Seh Beng