~~ What do you See? ~~

What do you See?

"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan,
that it was well watered every where ... even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt."
Genesis 13: 10

"Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes,and saw the place afar off."
Genesis 22: 4

It’s all to do with the state of mind and who it is that we are seeking to please
that motivates the choices we make.

Then of course having made our choices, there are events that follow that affect the lives of those around us. Perhaps there may be something for the pleasure of God, but sadly in the case of Lot, this was not always the case.

By taking a little look at what it was that Lot and Abraham 'saw' will perhaps help us and guide us in when we are at a crossroads and have to make choices that are going to affect ourselves and those around us.

Lot was a man who was motivated by the here and now. His vision was limited to only what affected his senses. What he could see or what made him feel good! So, what did he see when he lifted up his eyes?

Of course it was the well-watered plains of Jordan, serving as a goodly place for his flocks and cattle to graze. It was like the land of Egypt, which was where he had been for a while with Abraham and then left with him but unfortunately Egypt never left Lot!

As soon as he had an opportunity, he was off back to a lifestyle he loved and soon was unrecognisable as a man of God. If Peter in his writings had not have told us that Lot had a righteous soul we would never have known that he belonged to God at all!

At first, the choice he had made to leave Abraham for the ‘high life’ seemed to be a wise decision, because he prospered and became a prominent figure in the society of Sodom and Gomorrah, but before long his life was in a shambles, his testimony in tatters and his family divided. He lost everything from his beloved wife and family, to his home and status, and even his very dignity ...

He lost everything!

He got absolutely nothing at all out of the choice he made; neither did his loved ones, and sadly neither did God. He was grossly short changed by the choices he made, and such is the sad experience of every individual who refuses to acknowledge the presence of God in their lives, and the responsibility of living a separated life

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But what of Abraham? What did he see? After many years of enjoying a close walk with His God, he was called of God to do something that humanly speaking would have tested to the limit the heart of any of us. God required Abraham to offer his promised and beloved son upon an alter as a burnt offering!

The Bible doesn't tell us that Abraham questioned God about this matter but that he rose up early the next day with purpose of mind to do as he had been commanded. Isaac was most beloved to his father.

He was the son of his old age and all the promises of a nation were bound up in his precious Isaac. Whatever God wanted Abraham to do with his son he was content to leave with his God and on they went until -

“On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off”.

What was it that Abraham could see?

A place of self-denial, and a place where all senses had to be left behind.
This was the place where the mind and will of God had to be met, no matter what the cost!

What did Abraham do? I think we would have turned around at this point and headed back home, but not Abraham. He went onward with his son, leaving his servants behind with these last words: “I and the lad will go yonder to worship, and come again unto you”. Onward they went until they came to the place Abraham could see from afar off. There preparation was made for the sacrifice; the wood laid in order and Isaac his son bound up and ready.

Just at the most critical moment God called to Abraham once more and Abraham was again recorded to lift up his eyes, this time what he saw was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns, provided by God to offer up in the place of his son. What obedience, what faith, what rejoicing!

Abraham knew his God well enough to leave everything in His capable hands. God knew Abraham enough to test him in this way in order to prove that what God really wanted was Abraham's heart - not the life of his son. By Abraham’s actions we see clearly that he knew his God well and was fully persuaded that if Isaac was sacrificed God would have raised him from the dead, because in Isaac was the promise of a coming nation. (See Hebrews 11: 17-19.)

What was gained there on that mount? Abraham knew what it was like to receive from the hand of God a substitute in the place of his son. He and his family knew the blessing of God as a result of this event and ultimately God got great pleasure out of this mighty step of faith,"For without faith is it impossible to please Him". Hebrews 11: 6

But we also come into the priceless benefit of what happened to Abraham and Isaac there on that mount. Today we can look back to this event and see how clearly it speaks of another sacrifice that took place on that precise mount some three to four thousand years later!

There on that mount just outside the city wall of Jerusalem, all self and senses were laid aside. A substitute was not to be found for the dear Son of the most High God. There, nailed to a cruel Roman cross the soul of this precious One was poured out and made an offering for sin. Firstly for the satisfaction of God Himself and then for the benefit of all who come to shelter under the precious blood that was shed to cleanse the sinner from the guilt and shame that sin has caused.

When from His lofty position at the Father’s right hand He looks down into the souls of His people, what is it that He sees?

Where is your heart? What are your desires? What or who fills your vision?

Can we like the psalmist wholeheartedly declare the following affirming words?

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Psalm 121

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