Then comes the moment when the men of Israel make themselves heard. They complain about the conduct of their brothers, the men of Judah. David himself has contributed to this by his preferential treatment of Judah. The result is jealousy. We see that the schism that will occur under the reign of the grandson of David, Rehabeam, is already hidden present here.
In church history, division is not always – or perhaps better: often not – the result of a difference in doctrines, but of the difference in characters of those who defend certain doctrines. What happens under the appearance of a difference in doctrine perception, is in reality a struggle between people who do not want to be the least.
The men of Israel react carnal. The answer from the men of Judah is just as carnal. Solomon’s wise word “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Pro 15:11A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
), is not taken to heart by either party. The men of Israel think that they have more right to David because they are greater in number. There is a dispute among God’s people between Judah on the one hand with a part of Israel and on the other hand the rest of Israel. The dispute revolves around the question of who is most entitled to David. Is it good to speak like this? David is king of all the people, isn’t he?
We must be careful not to claim the Lord Jesus for our group. This can easily happen if we believe that we are more faithful than others, or that we have more knowledge than others, or that we believe we have more gifts of the Spirit than others. Let us pray that the Lord will preserve us from talking about Him with our brothers and sisters wherever they may be, in the sense that we would have a greater right to Him than any other.
This is the evil Paul condemns among the Corinthians (1Cor 1:12-1312Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”13Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?). The group that claims Christ as party leader is the worst. They are even worse than the Corinthians who have chosen Peter or Paul as party leader. That may sound strange, but it is still so. Paul lists four parties, each with its own party leader. One of those party leaders is Christ. But can He be put on a par with any other person? Yet that is exactly what the Corinthians do. Christ is made a party leader, next to Paul and Peter and Apollos! What this party is saying is: ‘We are the only ones who take the right position. Whoever joins Paul or Apollos or Peter does not belong to us.’ However, every believer belongs to Christ, although perhaps, unfortunately, he has joined some group that calls himself after a certain servant.
Christ cannot be placed in a box – nor can His true servants, for they do not want to be at the leader of a party or placed in a box. Therefore, when Paul says that Christ is not divided, he indicates that Christ cannot be claimed as party leader by any group.
You will certainly recognize this picture in the Christianity around you. What a division! One group calls itself after Luther, another after Calvin. There are also groups and churches where people come together, just because they agree on certain pieces or subjects from the Bible, for example baptism, while others, who think otherwise, cannot join them. The fact that the Lord Jesus is the only One by Whom Christians belong together, has increasingly been pushed into the background. Let us therefore put Him and what He says in His Word back in the foreground!