Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A sword separating families

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 32:19-35

TO CHEW ON: "And he said to them, 'Thus says the Lord God of Israel, "Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from the entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbour."'

So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day." Exodus 32:27-28

We are all no doubt familiar with the imagery of God's Word as a sword. Hebrews 4:12 tells how it cuts into and exposes us to ourselves:
"For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart" - Amplified

God's words also cut in other ways. In our story today, God commanded the loyal Levites to kill their idol-worshiping family members, neighbours, and friends. What a gruesome, wrenching, horrible day that must have been—humanly speaking at least.

The power of faith to divide families should not surprise us. We have all heard of belief traditions in which, if one defects to another faith, that one is no longer considered a family member but an outcast. And such cutting apart will be characteristic of the end times. Jesus prophesied that children would betray parents and parents children because of faith in Him (Matthew 10:21-22, Mark 13:12-13).

If faith in Jesus has cut your family apart, know that it's not an unusual thing—though no less painful because it's common. A comfort for people of faith in such families is 1 Corinthians 7:14 which speaks of an unbelieving spouse being sanctified by the believer.

[Sanctified - hagliazo  - means: 1) To render or acknowledge or to be venerable or hallow; 2) To separate from profane things and dedicate to God a.) consecrate things to God, b.) consecrate people to God; 3) To purify.]

Can we claim this promise for other family members as well? I think so. I don't believe "sanctified" means they have salvation per se. Whether or not to believe in Jesus is a decision each person makes for him- or herself. But I do believe it means that they are marked as God's own, and consecrated or set apart for Him. We continue to pray and believe that in due course, He will draw them to Himself.

PRAYER: Dear God, it is painful to think that members of my family could be eternally separated from You. Please draw them to You. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

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