Often Scripture gives us information those involved in the events do not have. For example, in Job, we are told about the conversations between God and Satan, of which Job and his friends were clueless. Similarly, verse one gives us an insight that the nation of Israel did not have. They knew God had promised to give them the land, but they were unaware of the effect God drying up the Jordan River had on the people of Canaan.
We need to remember the older citizens in the nation of Israel heard the report given by the twelve original spies. They knew ten of the twelve said we are not able to conquer these people for they are stronger than we are. Compared to them we seemed like grasshoppers. All their cities are fortified and very large. It is impossible; we will be slaughtered.
Knowing they had just entered hostile territory with an enemy described in such a way, what would your first command to the nation be? I doubt your first thought would be let's incapacitate all the men for several days by circumcising them! Yet that was the LORD instruction.
In the NT, we see many exemplary acts of faith: the centurion, in Matthew 8:5-10, of whom Jesus said, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith;" or the Canaanite woman, in Matthew 15:22-28, of whom Jesus said, "O woman, great is your faith!" But to me, the Israelite's obedience to God's command to circumcise all the men demonstrates a more significant example of faith. I don't know how long it would take to recover, but for several days the nation was utterly defenseless. O such faith, what great faith!
Father, forgive me for not using Your gift of faith like this group of people. I have so much more information about Your faithfulness than they did. Please may it not just be head knowledge but heartfelt and known wisdom. I am inclined to pray "I believe; help my unbelief!" but that seems like such a poor excuse. Thank You for all the examples of faithfulness in Scripture. May I be the same.
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!"
I find it interesting that this statement concludes with an exclamation mark. We are to exclaim the unity of the brothers! Exclaim is an interesting word. Webster's defines it as "to cry out" with the suggestion to fully understand exclaim there is the need to examine "claim," also. The definition of claim is "to assert in the face of possible contradiction." So to exclaim is to shout about something even if there is contradictory evidence.
In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul appeals to the church "that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and same judgment." Then he discusses the current lack of unity within the church. In Ephesians 4, Paul describes the "unity" of the church by explaining the "oneness" of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) says, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
You don't have to look very far to find a lack of unity in the church today. So, it appears there is ample reason the "bride of Christ" exclaim the unity of the body. Even though there is contradictory evidence, the ultimate unity of the church is assured. Because as Ephesians 4:4-6 says, "There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
Jesus, may the unity of Your Church be as important to me as it is to You.