I was reading a curious story in the Daily Mail that was discussing the recent discovery of a two-headed snake in Florida and it reminded me of a verse in the Psalms.
The Rogers’ family found the Southern black racer snake slithering around their home that was under construction.
The snake was suffering from a rare condition called bicephaly which is caused when an embryo that was splitting, and would have resulted in identical twins, didn’t fully separate. Instead, the snake ended up with one body, but two completely separate and independently functioning heads and brains.
At this point, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stepped in and brought the snake to its conservatory where it could be looked after. They believed the snake wouldn’t survive in the wild over the long term because it had two heads and two minds, that resulted in divided thinking. The two heads were seeing the same things, but making different decisions.
The Daily Mail writes:
Officials say the snake will remain in captivity because it makes different decisions with having separate brains that inhibit its ability to feed or elude predators.
And this leads me to a prayer recorded in Psalm 86:11, where King David asked God asked to unite his heart, or as some translations read, for David to have an undivided heart.
Teach me Your way, Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name. (Psalm 86:11 NASV)
The Hebrew word, lêbâb, translated heart in this verse is an all encompassing word referring to our mind, will and emotions. And this verse explains the problem that many of us face. We have a divided mind.
David was acting like that two-headed snake.
He had one part that wanted to serve God wholeheartedly. Then another part that wanted to do its own things. David said his heart was specifically divided in its fear of the Lord. One part of his mind feared God and another part didn’t.
And in some ways, the same thing happens to Christians. We have divided hearts. One day we feed on God’s word and on another day, we feed on porn.
It’s like that snake. When, it can’t make the same decision on what prey to go after. Both heads were also fighting with each other on how to attack and even to consume it.
But I also found it interesting, that FCW believed these two heads made the snake vulnerable to predators because neither head was making the same decision. They were fighting over how to respond. One would want to flee another stay and fight and if they both wanted to flee, one would want to go left and the other right.
And I believe believers with divided minds are also particularly vulnerable to deception and satanic attack.
This idea of a divided mind is seen again in the New Testament when Jesus described worry. In Matthew, the Lord used an interesting Greek word for worry:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:26 NASV)
In this verse, and again in Luke 10:41 when Jesus described Martha worrying about many things, the Lord used the compound Greek word “mirimnao” for worry. It combines two Greek words, merizo, which means divided and nous that is translated mind.
Worry in its simplest terms means “divided mind.” And, again this is how Christians often function, myself included. We have a divided mind. We believe on one hand that God is our provider, but on the other hand we worry about our jobs and our kids, which suggests we don’t believe this.
This is why Solomon wrote that you need to “trust the Lord with ALL your heart” not just part of it (Proverbs 3:5).
In Psalm 86, David understood he was walking around like a two-headed snake. He knew the dangers and prayed that God would give him a united or undivided heart.