A house divided against itself cannot stand. The Hebrew name qannah means “possessing sensitive and deep feelings” and in Exodus we learn about God as a jealous God who doesn’t want us to worship anything or anyone other than him. He is one god, not a god of many things and he desires only one thing from us: obedience to his commandments. The Israelite children were being taught valuable lessons about obedience to his laws and especially about idolatry, unto them he said to not “bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Ex 20:5-6 When we divide ourselves from God, it leads us to sin which then brings upon us the justice of God for those sins of our Fathers, insofar as the children learn and do the sinful things the parent do.
While wandering through the wilderness for 40 years and eating manna daily, the people began to complain against god, desiring something different. “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full (Ex. 16:2,3). The Lord set out to test and prove the Israelites whether they would walk in my law, or no. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and many were bit and died, “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived”. Num 21:7-9 But there were many who did not look.
Today we have many houses divided against themselves and why? “United we stand, divided we fall.”
— Aesop (620 -560 B.C.) We hear much about diversity these days to the point that it is literally dividing us. I often wonder how the people of Babel got to the point where they were so divided in all things, God confounded their languages and sent them to wander away from one another permanently and to this end we have stayed: hence, nation against nation, brother against brother. Today, we feel this same strong force of confusion stirring up the hearts of all humanity. So, how do we become unified once again?
God allowed us to be separated as people for a reason. Just as the Israelites were separated for 40 years, wandering from here to there in the desert in order to learn to follow their prophet, to follow the laws of God and to learn to trust God in all things we too, are being tested by God to see how well we do in micro-communities. Our ability to follow his commandments especially the first and second greatest, “to love thy lord God with all thy heart and the second to love our neighbor the same”. Is our love for idols greater than our love for God? Perhaps this is the lesson why we are still a divided people. It’s about choice. Have we chosen to look upon the brassen serpent to live or have we chosen to turn our heads away and rather die? Now is the time to choose to look and live. The time to unify ourselves and smile in obedience to God’s laws is now, “Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be Spiritually-Minded Is Life Eternal. Oh my beloved brethern, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if you do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the word of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken”. 2 Nephi 9:41-40