by Christopher Harbin

Dividing Christ
Christopher B. Harbin
Jeremiah 23:23-29; Luke 12:49-56; Hebrews 11:29-12:2

We all know of Jesus' prayer that believers be united as one. We are painfully aware of division within the ranks of Christianity and the corresponding criticism from the world around us. Why should others come to Christ, when Christians are so divided? Is there any cure for our divisiveness and the petty issues that so divide? Perhaps the only solution to keep from dividing Christ is allowing our hope in Christ to become sufficient, allowing us to lay down our all for God.
Jeremiah was painfully aware of division within the ranks of Judah, specifically between those faithful to Yahweh and those with alternative aims. His was often the lone voice crying out for faith in Yahweh even when it meant accepting the impending exile. "Woe is me!" was a theme of his ministry, as he accepted the impending doom of exile while still maintaining confidence in Yahweh's provision and care for Judah. "Woe is me!" for the message he had to proclaim was not one the nation desired to hear.
There were many false prophets around proclaiming hope for release from impending exile. They offered words of comfort in the face of the Babylonian threat. Surely, Yahweh is willing to rouse the Egyptians to help us against the foreign invaders! Surely, we just need to sign the right treaty that will give us horses and chariots with which to keep Babylon at bay! These false prophets spoke to the desires of the people to retain the status quo as security. They wanted to hang onto the known, rather than be washed into the unknown. They wanted security and safety. Yahweh desired them to trust amid the unsettled insecurity of exile.
The false prophets' message was not from God, but from the fears and desires of a nation in turmoil. Was Yahweh so limited that Egyptian horses and chariots would be necessary to defend Judah from Babylon? They did not necessarily intend to speak against the w ...

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