We’ve heard a lot lately about “cliffs” and it brought to mind the Biblical perspective of separation, or dividing. The dictionary defines division as “the act or process of dividing anything into parts, or the state of being so divided; separation”. As we think about our country and the divided state of things—right-vs-left; Christians-vs-Muslims; liberals-vs-conservatives: fiscal soundness-vs-irresponsibility– there are things that divide us on a regular basis. Let’s look a few minutes at a Biblical perspective of division.
We usually think of division as bad, a lessening or diminishing of something, and that can be true, but not always. Division can be good or bad, let’s look at some examples and see what we can learn about division/separation, the good and the bad of it. There are many examples in the scripture and the first is seen in Genesis 3, when mankind, in the person of Adam and Eve, was separated from the very presence of God. But we’ll deal with that major topic at a later time. Let’s look at Abram and Lot. Prosperity caused them to separate and that was a not a bad thing, yet as Abram extended grace and generosity in allowing Lot to chose his place first, two different consequences were manifest. In Genesis 13:14 “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”
God reconfirmed His covenant promise to Abram, and in verse 18 Abram responds to God …” Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.” Lot on the other hand, was drawn to Sodom, a place that God tells us, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly”, and his life affected by his choice. 1 Peter 2:7-9 says “And (God) delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;):” Although Lot didn’t partake of their wickedness, he was ‘vexed’ by it, and apparently, according to Gen. 19, he had not been a vocal testimony to God’s righteous ways. He lost his wife and his family that stayed in Sodom, and his 2 daughters who went with him, committed incest with their own father. And the offspring of this incest, grew into 2 nations that later became bitter enemies of Israel and of God. Note that one division produced most dire consequences for one and blessings for the other.
Abram drew nearer and nearer to God and was blessed to be called the ‘friend of God’. Paul tells us in Romans 4:17-24 “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, ……18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, …He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness….;”. Abram, later called Abraham, walked with God and although divided/separated from his family knew and lived in the power of God. How are we to live? What do my choices have to do with my consequence? Everything!!!
There are many other examples that I wanted to share this week, but for time and space I’ll list but a few. Solomon’s kingdom was divided because of his choices. 1 Kings 3:3 “And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.” Solomon had a divided heart and it led him into idolatry in his later life, 1 Kings 11:4 “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” Because he had a divided heart, his kingdom was divided in judgment because of his sin. A divided heart-A divided nation!
Paul and Barnabas were divided over young Mark; hence the Gospel was taken out by 2 teams rather than 1(Acts 15:39. The Father and the Son were separated at Calvary—for you and me. Mark 15:34b “My God, my God,, why hast thou forsaken me?” The most difficult separation of the ages—for our salvation. We are called in Rev. 18 to “come out of her my people…..” to be separate from the world’s ways, but ready to share the Good News with those without Christ.
So is division good or bad? I think the Psalmist has the answer—Ps 37:23 “ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” So I don’t need to worry about “cliffs”, or separations, or divisions I just have to live Psalm 119:133 “Order my steps in Thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” What choices are facing you this week? Are there “divisions” facing you? So what do you or I do? Well, very simply we are to do what Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16 & 25…”This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” v 25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
I pray that each of us will walk in God’s spirit, being and doing that which is pleasing to the Father. Sometimes that will bring separation, sometimes not….. Watch, listen and obey, and God will be glorified in our lives. Blessings on your week as you watch for God working around YOU!!! Join Him in His work—You will be blessed and He will be glorified.