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“...Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
Is it not true what Abe Lincoln quoted from Jesus' own words. Unity is a necessity in order for any organization to stand? In organization I refer to nation, community, church or family.
Recently I have been studying the effects of disunity in relationships. It is interesting to note what a difference unity can make. Let's take the Civil War for instance. It divided a nation. It pitted brother against brother in some cases. It also divided families.
If I am not mistaken the famous Abe Lincoln felt it in his own home. Mary Lincoln was of southern descent. Her family was for slavery. I read in one writing that while the Civil War was raging, Abe's sister-in-law, a slave owner was visiting the White House. It was cause for rumors against the Lincolns but she was still blood family. How should a man respond in such a situation?
Relationships are something we all need to deal with. Differences will come up and need to be worked through. It is not so much the differences that break down a "house", but more importantly how they are dealt with.
In this study, I went way back in history. I looked up a happening in the Egyptian Pharaoh's family. We can use this story as a powerful moral. If all men would take this as a lesson, much trouble could be avoided.
Years ago a widespread famine covered the Mediterranean lands. There was a slave named Joseph in prison in Egypt. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Why did these brothers do it? The subject of our article, favoritism and a house divided. In these days polygamy was practiced. This nomadic tribe was fathered by one father with multiple wives. Jacob, the father, had a favorite wife, Rachel. To Rachel were born 2 sons after years of infertility, so obviously he loved these more than the rest. His first wife, Leah was joined to him in trickery. It is written that she was a plain woman and nobody wanted her. Jacob desired to marry Rachel, who was beautiful and graceful. Her father agreed on a dowry which Jacob paid. At the wedding ceremony, the custom was to veil the bride until the next morning, when Jacob awoke the next morning, and saw his new bride he was wroth! He discovered the trick played on him.
Jacob approached his father-in-law, Laban, about this. It was too late! The vows were spoken. But, Laban said, pay me another dowry and at the end of this week long feast, I will give you Rachel as wife also. Jacob agreed to this and got his hearts' desire.
Over the years there was much strife in this home. At the birth of Rachel's second son, she dies in childbirth. Jacob favored these 2 sons because it was all that he had left of his heart's love. How do we think Leah felt? She was given by her father in deception, openly acknowledged as an unwanted wife, and clearly shown that her sons were less loved than her sister's sons? Because of this, these young men hated their brother.
One day in the field with their sheep, they spotted a trading caravan coming down the road. "Let's sell Joseph to these traders and get him out of our way," They said. They sold him, took his coat and doused it with blood from a lamb to appear that Joseph was the casualty of a wild animal killing. This they took to their father, while Joseph sorrowfully went to Egypt and faced the bleak life of a slave.
In Egypt, fate was against Joseph and he wound up in prison. Pharaoh had a dream warning him of a terrible famine to come and nobody could help with the interpretation. Finally word was received that a young man in prison had words of wisdom. Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and through the wisdom of God gave a wise counsel. Pharaoh made Joseph second in command under himself. Joseph was basically director of agriculture and taxed the people in crops. These were put into store for the lean years.
The 7 year drought came and reached around for hundreds of miles. Joseph's family heard that Egypt had food and came to buy some. Imagine Jospeh's surprise to see his long lost brothers. However, he looked like an Egyptian ruler so they did not recognize him. It was not until the 2nd trip that Joseph revealed his identity.
Pharaoh was so happy with what Joseph did for him that he invited the whole family to resettle closer to life sustaining food, which was in Egypt. He gave them a territory to claim as their own. These nomads were prosperous and in a few hundred years grew rich.
By this time, as so often happened, a different ruler was in control. He knew nothing of this past happening that saved the native people. All that he saw was the large families that these Hebrew tribes had. He was being constantly troubled by the surrounding nations, particularly the Ethiopian military. He said, "If the Hebrews were to side with an enemy we would not have a chance against them. We must do something about this. We will reduce these people to slavery. Futhermore, to curb their exponential growth, I decree that all midwives must kill all the boy babies. This will stop this overpopulation."
This was fulfilled except for one case. The parents saw that their child was a beautiful little boy and decided to try and save him. He grew to an age where he could no longer be hid. His mother lovingly wove a reed basket and waterproofed it with pitch. She then set him afloat in the river in hopes that he would be saved somehow. Imagine the agony of this mother's heart, setting her son afloat on the river and not knowing what will become of him.
It so happened that at this time the king's daughter was out with her entourage of maids and wading or swimming in the river. She happened to notice this funny little boat floating around and ordered someone to bring it in. They opened it and found, to their surprised eyes, an exceedingly handsome little Hebrew boy. Her mother heart started beating! She herself was childless, so here was the answer to her desires. History says that this child was so handsome and attractive that when they walked the street, people stopped and gazed in awe at his beauty.
The kings lineage had limited options for the future heir to the throne. There were no male children to continue it. Themuthius, the king's daughter brought the child before the king and declared that here is an heir. But, trouble was brewing. This boy was named Moses. Somehow he sensed his heritage. The king was cuddling the young child in his lap, probably with pleasure as only a grandfather can. In play he took his crown and put it on Moses' head. Horror of horrors, Moses threw the crown on the ground and proceeded to jump on it. A priest immediately took it as a bad omen and tried to kill the child. He said, " This child will strip you of all you have. He must be eradicated!"
Ever after this the house was divided. Moses grew up in the protection of his mother's love but his Grandfather could not stand to see him. As Moses grew older he became a powerful man.
It so happened that the Ethiopian army wreaked havoc of the Egyptian military. The Egyptians were afraid. The same priest that years before declared Moses a problem, was a fortune teller. He said, "We have one chance against the enemy. Moses will be able to do what we cannot. Make him general of the army and we will succeed." He then said in undertones, "Probably Moses will also be killed in battle and we are to be rid of him."
Moses led a brillant victory. He attacked from the rear coming through a wilderness laden with poisonous snakes that no one dared venture into. It was said that these vipers were so crafty that they actually jumped into the air and flew to inject the venom of death into the victims neck. Moses overcame this with a stroke of brilliance. The military carried woven baskets with a bird called an Ibis in it. The Ibis chased and killed these snakes. As they approached this dangerous wilderness the Ibis were released and purged the area of these snakes. The military won a brilliant victory.
When they returned the king's jealousy knew no bounds. Moses had to go! He was a hero.
The king found occasion to try and kill Moses. Moses fled from his hands and hid in a neighboring country as a lowly shepherd. No one recognized him as the powerful Egyptian heir ro the throne.
With time Moses returned and through a series of miracles the king had no choice but to let the Hebrews go. Insects came and devastated all their crops and many other major disasters occurred. But it took the death of all the first born Egyptian children and livestock to finally change the king's mind. He recanted his decision and followed them with the military he had left. Alas, another disaster happened. As the army was trying to follow the Hebrews across the river, the waters rose and the bulk of soliders and charioteers were drowned.
Now back to my original thoughts of study on a house divided. Let's ask ourselves some questions that can apply to today's life. Suppose the king would have recognized the wisdon and power of Moses? He would have let Moses succeed him to the throne. With the combined power of the Egyptians and the Hebrews, they would have been virtually invincible. The history of the ancient world might well have been completely different.
Let's suppose, instead of making slaves of the Hebrews he would have added them to his Royal court of counselors? He could have had a powerful ally. Instead when they left Egypt, a wake of devastation followed.
In our own lives, how often do we have the powerful ally at our side and we refuse to acknowledge it? Who is that person that we are jealous of that could be our biggest asset and yet we make it our goal to eradicate them from our sight? What blessings are we missing out from by being determined to have it our own way?
Is jealousy ruling our life? Is it making a bitter enemy of a possible friend? There is nothing that demoralizes a person quicker than a load of suspicion, jealousy, doubt, bitterness, and hatred. Did you know it takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile?
Lets take this challenge upon us. What can we do to make a difference?
There was a school principal who had a son. He had a major relationship issue with his son. A lower grade teacher had her pupils compliment a person and ask them to pass it on to someone else. A student braved the stern principal's reputation and praised him. He passed this on to his son. The son broke down and cried. He shared that he thought his Dad did not like him. He had just procured a handgun with plans to take his life the next day. It was only by the innocence of a lower grader showing unbiased love to his stern principal that this casualty was avoided.
Can my family life improve by me taking the first step? What about the nation or the world? Think about it.