January 24, 2007

Leaving the promised land


Lessons in the Life of Abram: Leaving the Promised Land
by Jim Laffoon

Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. Genesis 13:10-13

Sleep had been impossible that night. As he paced restlessly back and forth across the floor of his tent, Abram’s soul was in agony.

“Not Sodom! How could Lot leave the land of Canaan and choose to live in a place of such darkness? He is more than my nephew; he is like my own son. Lot! Lot!" he cried. As Abram fell to the floor weeping, he begged God to spare Lot from the consequences of his folly.

Although God had heard Abram’s prayers, Lot was not going to escape all of the consequences of his deception. Years later, he would lose everything but the lives of his two daughters when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

Why did this young man, who was like a son to Abram, choose to live outside of the Promised Land? This question is important because the same thing still happens today.

Sadly, I know many Christians who, like Lot, have walked away from God’s place and purpose for their lives.

First, according to Genesis 13:10, the plains of Jordan, where Sodom and Gomorrah were situated, were like the land of Egypt. Lot’s trip to Egypt had awakened desires in him which the Promised Land of Canaan would never satisfy.

In addition, Lot had been so deceived by his own desires that he even likened the plains of Jordan to the Garden of Eden (vs.10). To Lot, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, not the barren, barbaric land of Canaan, were now his true "Promised Land."

Second, we never hear about Lot having a wife and children until he moved to Sodom and Gomorrah. Could it be that Lot’s ardent desire for companionship and sexual fulfillment were greater than his desire for God and His purposes? I believe they were.

Third, unlike Abram, Lot did not seem to have a deep relationship with God. Whenever Abram got discouraged, he would simply go the altar and meet with God until his faith was renewed and strengthened. Although Lot had heard repeatedly from Abram about God’s promises for their family, I do not believe they had ever been confirmed, by God, in Lot's own heart.

I have found in my own life that when things get hard, the word of a human (no matter how much you trust them) may not be enough to sustain you. Each of us must come to our own place of faith and confidence through time in the Word and prayer.

Where are you today? Have you been deceived into living outside of your Promised Land? Some of you have allowed the deep loneliness of your soul to dominate your life.

As you have frantically searched for your “significant other,” you have wandered farther and farther from the place of God's purpose and destiny. Others of you, though you were raised in tremendous Christian homes, have gone as far as your parent’s faith will carry you. Unless you develop your own vital relationship with God, you will never have the faith you need to sustain your pursuit of Him and His will for your life.

Tragically, some of you don’t even realize you have left your Promised Land. Like Lot, you have been so deceived by your own desires that you now consider the place of compromise you are living in to be a virtual “garden of Eden”.

No matter where you are today, it’s not too late for you to return to your Promised Land. If you will cry out to God and His people, He will bring you into His best for your life.

May God give you grace to change as you ponder these words today.

© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon

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