Scattering is a good thing and a bad thing. When we plant, we don’t place all our seed in a pile and cover it with dirt. We scatter seed so that each plant has room to grow and flourish. The early church was scattered as persecution increased, and what the devil meant for evil actually caused the gospel to spread farther into the world. Scattering can definitely be a good thing.
However, scattering can be a bad thing, too, especially when God is the One who is scattering. I don’t mean that God is bad or what he does is bad. On the contrary, He’s always right and good. He’s actually the standard for determining what’s right. What I mean is that when God comes up against you to scatter, you’re up against the ultimate opponent who never loses. That’s bad—for you if you’re His opponent. Nineveh and Assyria’s wickedness had reached its limit with God, and He was about to deal a blow to them, so Nahum gives them a warning which was useless for them unless they became repentant. He said, “One who scatters is coming up against you. Man the fortifications! Watch the road! Brace yourself! Summon all your strength!” (Nahum 2:1 CSB). The advice is good, but when God is your opponent, you’ve got to realize who you’re up against and just repent in dust and ashes. Let’s stay on God’s side.
In addition to these, people can be scatterers by creating dissension in the church—murmuring here and complaining there. They can do it to one person on the right and one on the left. Scatterers can drop tasty morsels before undisciplined listeners and generate division. We must be wary about words said in secret. After all, followers are not flawless. Pastors are not perfect. Members are not immaculate. There is much fodder for the fault-finder, but we shouldn’t want to take part in ungodly disunity that merely seeks to divide and destroy. We must build up and not scatter.
The Greek word ekklesia is often translated as church, or gathering. Although the church is much more than just a gathering, that is a basic part of the local church—gathering together, yet some in her midst are bent on dividing, separating, and scattering. In preparation for the scatterers who would come to destroy the unity in the local gathering of the church, let’s remember Nahum’s words: “Man the fortifications! Watch the road! Brace yourself! Summon all your strength!” Next, let’s remember Jesus’ words to the hypocritical Pharisees, “Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30 CSB). Let’s be careful that the very God that we say that we follow is not our opponent. Let us not be caught scattering what He has gathered.
This week you’ll read…
Song of Songs 1-8: “Oh, that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your caresses are more delightful than wine” (Song of Songs 1 CSB).
Jeremiah 43-52: “‘This is what you are to say to him: “This is what the Lord says: ‘What I have built I am about to demolish, and what I have planted I am about to uproot—the whole land!’”’” (Jeremiah 45 CSB)
Obadiah 1: “Your arrogant heart has deceived you, you who live in clefts of the rock in your home on the heights, who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you seem to soar like an eagle and make your nest among the stars, even from there I will bring you down. This is the Lord’s declaration” (Obadiah 1 CSB).
Nahum 2-3: “One who scatters is coming up against you. Man the fortifications! Watch the road! Brace yourself! Summon all your strength!” (Nahum 2 CSB)
1 Timothy 1-6: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6 CSB).
2 Timothy 1-4: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4 CSB).
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MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.