November 8

Abraham and the Land, Part 2

Genesis 13:1-17 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him…. Now the land was not able to support them [both]….

So Abram said to Lot…”Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere…like the garden of the LORD…Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan….

And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever…. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”

Yesterday’s devotional showed the foolishness of Lot in choosing according to the natural instead of the spiritual. He lifted his own eyes (not being directed by the Lord), saw (with his natural senses), made a decision based on what he thought would be to his advantage, and then he “chose for himself” all the plain of Jordan. We only have to look ahead to chapters 14 and 19 to see how that worked out. He ended up in the worst location imaginable, and suffered the consequences.

In great contrast, Abram, after generously giving Lot the right of first choice, was told by God to lift his eyes all around him. Instead of lifting his own eyes as his nephew did, Abraham responded to God’s call. (We can rightly presume prayer and an open heart were in existence before the call to look around.) Not only did God instruct Abram to look, he told him to “walk in the land through its length and its width.” Then came the promise: “for I give it to you.”

To seal the experience, “Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre… and built an altar there to the LORD.” The following chapters tell the story of Abram’s rescue of Lot, his profound meeting with priest/king Melchizedek, and his covenant with God. Abram’s decision to follow God in where he was to live affected every part of his life and future.

We often say that the safest (or best) place to be is in the center of God’s will. Even when looking for a physical place, Abram knew that discovering and moving in God’s will was the only way to approach the issue of where he was to live. Being positioned rightly before God was more important than finding what he thought might be the “best situation” for him and his family. And as he submitted his will to God’s, God ended up pouring out untold blessings on the Father of Faith (Romans 4:11).

Where we live, what jobs we take, what major we have—these can be looked at as natural things. But an enlightened heart realizes that everything is God’s and that He can and will direct us. He cares about these things, plus He has a plan for these things. If we will turn to Him, He will cause us to lift up our eyes and discover His path for us.

Prayer: Father, help my heart to understand that You want to lead me in every major decision in my life. Forgive me for thinking and even acting as if You were not the Lord over all aspects of my life. Free me from my leaning on my own understanding, and in all my ways, may I acknowledge You (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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