A part, yet Apart!
Reading: Numbers 12:1-13
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it" (1 Cor 12:26)
God takes a serious view of damaged relationships. We earn His displeasure when we fail to reconcile with one another. As long as the sailing is smooth, we tend to be too independent. But when we run aground, we crave for the fellowship of God's people. Times of testing and the hour of trial teach us the importance and preciousness of the help and company of brothers and sisters in Christ (Heb 12:22,23). "A brother is born for adversity" (Prov 17:17). How much Jesus longed for the company of His disciples at the garden of Gethsemane!
The horizontal component of holiness is peace with men. We will miss God's grace if we don't root out from our hearts whatever bitterness we have against others (Heb 12:14,15). We have heard what happened to the cows which were grazing together but were scattered by the evil advice of a jackal. God struck an outstanding singer with leprosy for backbiting. He healed her after she realised her folly (Num 12).
Trials and difficulties soften our hearts, thus making reconciliation easy. Long term enmity has been healed when one of the persons is suddenly and seriously taken ill. Confessing our sins to one another and praying for each other is God's prescription for healing (Js 5:16). God had to cripple Jacob the trickster before crowning him (Gen 32:25-28).
We should restitute matters not only with believers but also unbelievers if we have harmed anyone of them. A guiltfree conscience is like medicine. Good and smooth relationships keep us cheerful. Health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other. Medical science recognizes that emotions such as envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of sicknesses.
We expect deliverance from troubles or lifting of the rod of correction the moment we repent and pray. But this does not happen always. Hence the exhortation: "Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Heb 12:12,13). God did not drive out all the enemies of Israel "immediately," but left them for two reasons: One, to teach the children of Israel warfare, and second, to test their obedience (Judg 2: 21;3:4). God's delays are for our good. Psalms 6,13,38,56,70,88, and 143 are excellent prayers of David for deliverance from his troubles and enemies. But God did not send him instant deliverance in every case.