Genesis Day 34: When your heart is divided…
The phrase “a house divided cannot stand” was powerfully used by President Abraham Lincoln in his acceptance speech to become the Republican candidate for Senator for the state of Illinois. Sam Houston had used the image years earlier…and Jesus many years earlier.
How about our hearts? What does it look like when our hearts our divided? Are we “able to stand”?
There are any number of movies, where either a man finds himself in love with two women at the same time—or a woman in love with two men. Perhaps the one of the classiest movies with this dynamic is Casablanca.
When your heart is divided… “something’s gotta give”.
Why do I bring this issue of division up?
Simple. There are a few different ways we could look at the text today. We could look at how God deals with evil. We could look at the absolute depravity of the situation as captured by the conduct of the men of Sodom. We could try and understand Lot’s intention of offering his precious daughters to the lust-crazed citizens.
I want to take a different approach. I want to look at Lot. I find his behavior, at best, inconsistent.
Consider him. I am not quite sure why Lot is “hanging out” in the city gate, but I have my suspicions. My parents never allowed me to simply “hang out” downtown. My mother and father knew that nothing good ever came of hanging idly around.
Lot is a curiosity to me.
He knows that the “men” who arrive are from God. This indicates he is able to see the spiritual reality that has come into his presence. Not everyone has this kind of awareness. Lot would seem to be a man who knows God.
He is also keenly aware of the sin of his city. Two points. He knows “sin”. Second, it is “his” city. He is living in its midst.
He defends his guests from being abused (and I am not justifying him offering his daughters, just pointing out he is panicked that his guests may be raped).
In total, he seemingly understands the situation from God’s perspective.
Therefore, when God’s emissaries arrive and tell Lot to take his family and “hightail it the heck out of town”, you would expect him to say, “you don’t have to tell me twice!”
Yet, he constantly delays departing. Notice it says in verse 16, “he lingered”. They literally had to drag him, his wife, and his daughters, out of the city…and then after a debate about where they would flee to…we have the moment where his wife longingly looks back at their city…even after being told not to.
Why is Lot behaving this way? His heart is divided.
You may be thinking, “Aren’t we taught to be ‘in the world, but not of the world’?”
That certainly is a Christian phrase. And it is a pretty good one. You don’t exactly find it in the Bible. What you will find is in John chapter 17 where Jesus prays for us. He states a fact, “They (we) are not of this world”.
In John 17 we see Jesus pointing out something. That, while we may be in this world, we are made for more. He even says, “I am going to prepare a place for you." In other words, what do our hearts long for? Do they long for the things of this world, all the while we try and serve God? Or, are our hearts fixed on Jesus—the author and perfecter of our faith?
Where is Lot’s heart, or at least part of it fixed? It seems, on his city—and that is the rub—he cannot function with a divided heart.
It makes me ask myself: what are the longings of my heart? So, I took out a piece of paper and scribbled down the first five that came to my mind. Most of the things were things “in this world”. They weren’t bad things. They were good. But I have been staring at them, and asking God to give me a right heart with regards to them.
How about you? Scribble down quickly the longings of your heart—and then sit with God and talk about them.
Remember the blog from the second half of chapter 18—it pointed out that you can talk to God about anything.