Friday, October 17, 2008

Leaving Smallville

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Isaiah 65:9, “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.”(NIV)

Every time I read Genesis I find myself having a lot of issues with Abraham’s nephew, Lot. During the month of September as FCC read through Genesis, I was convicted that I have issues with him because I’m quite a bit like him. I sometimes put myself first, I want the best portion for myself, and I allow myself to blend into the corruption around me.

(Still, I don’t think I would ever offer up my two daughters to a mob of perverts banging on my door. Oops! There I go again, oozing contempt and judgment onto someone God loved and protected from destruction.)

But another lesson that fell afresh on me as I read about Lot this last time had to do with fear and settling. In Genesis 19:17, the angels are warning Lot and his family to “Run for your lives!...Do not stop anywhere in the valley. And don’t look back! Escape to the mountains, or you will die!”(NLT).

I’m thinking that with the threat of sure destruction looming, I’d listen to the angels’ instructions and high-tail it to those mountains quicker than I could say “Hey, where are my hikin’ boots?” The further away and higher up, the better!

But what does Lot do? He refuses to go to the mountains and asks instead for an easier option. He seems to be afraid of something disastrous there that would result in his death (v. 19). In verse 20 he says, “See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.” (NLT--emphasis mine). Something tells me Lot was thinking small, while God's thoughts were mountain-sized.

The angels grant his request and promise to spare the little village of Zoar if Lot will just hurry up and get there! He does and they do. Whew!

But check out verse 30! “Afterward, Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters.”(NLT). Excuse me, where was that again? Oh yeah, IN THE MOUNTAINS! The place where the angels had originally told Lot to go, but he was too scared to do it! And what drove him there now? Fear of the people of Zoar.

Now before I go off judging again, here’s the same lesson: I’m not so different than Lot. And I suspect many of you aren’t either. When God is pointing us to a mountain saying, “Go up there. It’s where I want you,” how many of us respond with, “Well, something about that mountain looks a little scary, and it’s pretty far away, so how ‘bout I only go half-way?” We settle for something so much smaller, our own little Zoar.

Don’t let fear lull you into settling in Smallville. It looks good and comfortable initially, but it’s not without its own traps and vices, which may very well drive us to the originally planned destination in a much harder, more painful way. Aim higher in the first place. Obey the first time. Climb that big mountain. God will help you get where He wants you, and there you’ll find the life he has planned for you.

Father, how often we act just like Lot! Forgive us for short-sightedness and forgetting that all things are possible with You. Help us to discern the mountains you want us to tackle and grow our faith to rely on Your power to do it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

List one mountain you know God’s asking you to climb. Where are you at on the journey? Until we become just like Christ (which won’t happen this side of heaven), God is always calling us higher. Are you currently camped out in a little comfort zone, perhaps a Zoar? Resolve to leave it today and head for the next mountain God’s pointing out to you.

Power Verses:
Genesis 19:17, “So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.’”(NKJV)
Jeremiah 46:21, “But when their lives are on the line, they'll run off, cowards every one.
When the going gets tough, they'll take the easy way out.” (MSG)
Psalm 19:7, “The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.” (MSG)

1 comment:

Marsha said...

There seems to be a theme surrounding the people of FCC. Seasons changing, mountains to be climbed, caves to come out of, and doors to be opened... Spiritual growth, facing down giants and clinging to our faith from glory to glory. I'm feeling wonderful things coming to our church and our lives through the power, grace and love of God! This is gonna be good!