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A House Divided

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A civilization rife with division is doomed. Is there any way to move forward?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.” He was referencing the words of Jesus Christ, who was, ironically, referring to Satan’s house or “kingdom”: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:25–26).

What a powerful statement concerning the tumult vexing some of our modern nations today. This scripture speaks volumes to our society, which cannot stand in its current, divided state.

This passage also reveals that Satan has many fallen angels in his “kingdom,” and though they may compete and fight among themselves, they are unified in their rebellion against God. Satan knows that division leads to the downfall of countries, cities, and families. He is a master at sowing division and discord amongst mankind—at every level. The Bible gives us awareness of his existence and reveals his tactics of strife and division so that we may avoid them (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:27). He often uses differences among people as a source of contention—differences that our Creator intended to complement each other!

So, how then can a “house” stand that has within it all the differences we see among people around the world today?

Simple but Vital Requirements for Peace

First, there needs to be an understanding that not all differences are a bad thing. The God of all creation appreciates difference and variety. This is evident in the physical creation, from the stars and planets above to the flora and fauna of the earth. This is also evident in mankind—a tremendous diversity exists among the nations and peoples of the earth. There are differences in culture, differences in personality, and differences of natural gifts (Romans 12:3–8). And, obviously, He created differences between male and female that should be complementary (Genesis 2:18). As the saying goes, Vive la différence! Even differences in life experiences and perspectives tell us we should seek counsel and advice from others (Proverbs 24:6). Differences should help make us stronger, not weaker. Let’s not be deceived.

Second, there needs to be common ground—and, to be more specific, common law. Rules and regulations exist for the purpose of creating and maintaining order. The physical universe operates by laws; it should be obvious that human relations do, as well. Nobody in their right mind would espouse the idea that we should live without law—chaos, division, and anarchy would ensue very quickly. God instructed ancient Israel that “one law and one custom” should apply to those who are native-born as well those who immigrated into the country (Numbers 15:16).

Understanding the purpose of differences and the importance of common standards is key to maintaining unity. There is a beautiful prophecy in Isaiah that stands as a beacon of hope for a world full of strife and contention: “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’” (Isaiah 19:24–25).

The student of Bible prophecy will also note that these three nations have been warring adversaries in the past. Not so in tomorrow’s world, where these nations and many others will gather to worship together and receive God’s laws and blessings (Micah 4:2).

Society is divided everywhere you look today, but you don’t have to be a part of that divisive and disheartening spirit. Become instead a peacemaker with the help of God’s holy word, and start training now for the glorious kingdom to come.

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