9 Thus says the Lord,
“For three transgressions of Tyre and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because they delivered up an entire population to Edom
And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
10 “So I will send fire upon the wall of Tyre
And it will consume her citadels.”
In 1 Kings 5, we read the story of the covenant made between Tyre and Israel in the days of Solomon that is referred to here. Hiram and Solomon considered each other to be brothers and as such set for the understanding that Tyre and Israel would be brotherly nations. Again, however, we see Tyre involved in the same slave trade as Gaza, selling Israelites to Edom. How much does it hurt when someone close to you betrays you?
Psalm 133, a 3 verse poem, was written my King David (Solomon’s father) to express the joys of a brotherly covenant:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.
Later, in 1 Peter 3, Peter explains godly living after detailing the roles and responsibilities of Christian family members:
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
When you grow in a relationship with someone, you continue to strengthen the bond between you. In the Christian world today, we have gotten into the habit of calling each other brother and sister (as it should be), but sometimes we forget the deep meaning of what we are saying. As a student of languages, I continue to learn how the English language betrays itself because the words don’t hold much meaning anymore. We have lost the logos, the meaning of words, and therefore don’t give much credit to what is said. Have you found it difficult to trust someone by their words these days? Usually we say, “actions speak louder than words,” but just a century ago we would say, “your word is your bond.” Why have we become so untrustworthy? In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, He addressed this very issue of us needing to qualify our words because we have become untrustworthy in our follow through. In Matthew 5 we read:
33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.
Today, my wife and I along with a team of short-term missionaries working with us will be presenting the keys of a computer lab we have been working on to the director of the school. The school officials are coming in to see it and meet us because they, “never thought we would follow through.” How sad is it that someone cannot be taken by their word these days because we don’t hold true to our word? As members of the brotherhood of Christ, we must redeem the honesty and reliability of God. Why should people trust in God if they cannot trust in His followers? How can you better strengthen the brotherhood by keeping your covenants?