We all face decisive moments in our lives, which have important consequences. There are minutes in which destiny is determined, as one take this road or the other at some crossroad in life.
These are the times in which we make choices on which our future lives depend.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I chose the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.”
These immortal words by Robert Frost in his poem The Road Less Travelled could have been pulled straight from Genesis 13. In this chapter, we have two men and a fork in the road. These two men had travelled together down a long and dusty road, and now choose to take separate paths. One chose the well-travelled road to the cities of Zoar. The other went to the lonely countryside of Canaan. The first ends up losing his possessions and family. The other realises God’s promise and blessing. What was the difference? It was all in the roads they chose to travel.
The two men are, of course, Abram and Lot. They have travelled together since Ur. They went to Haran together. They left ‘the fleshpots of Egypt” together and came to Canaan together where both men had to make choices.
Finance or Family?
Genesis 13:6-7. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
The land around Bethel and Ai did not contain enough water and vegetation to feed all the animals they had. The situation was getting so bad, that the herdsmen were even beginning to quarrel with one another; and when allies quarrel, enemies like the Canaanites and Perizzites take notice. Abram and Lot realize that rather than fight against one another, it would be better for them to go separate ways. Here is Abram’s choice. God has promised all the land to him. He hasn’t actually acquired any of it yet, but in order to maintain peace with his nephew, Abram is going to have to let Lot live on the land.
That’s the first choice. It’s a choice between finances or family. Is money, and land and what belongs to him more important than his family? Is he willing to forsake his finances to benefit his family? Is he going to continue to provide for his relative or isn’t he? Abram of course wants to provide for Lot. Abram decides that even though all the land has been promised to him, he is going to let Lot stay on it.
Abram made Lot a priority. He decided to sacrifice some of his own land that had been promised to Him by God and give a portion to Lot for his own flocks and herds. Abram did not want his wealth to cause friction and strife in his family.
Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 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.” (Genesis 13:8-9)
Prosperity or Promise?
He chose what, on the face of it, seemed to be the best “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar.” (Genesis 13:10)
He chose prosperity over Gods promise. Zoar was a city at the southeast end of the Dead Sea grouped with Sodom and Gomorrah; in those days it looked like the Garden of Eden, but like the original Garden, it became a place of disobedience. This looked like the best choice … but it was not God’s best.
After they split up, God confirmed his promise to Abram., “for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.”
Failing forward is not to look first to what is the greatest advantage for yourself. Lot abandoned the good things God had offered to choose something that at first glance seemed better. But while it was attractive on the surface, underneath its appearances, it was a place of sin and rebellion.
Failing forward means looking to the Lord when making choices and not ‘the land.’
The man who leaves out God's purpose and God's calling for us, is never wise and never comes to true prosperity. The man who makes his decisions on the mere ground of worldly advantage is never sure and never safe. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
Failing forward means to have an eternal, and not an earthy perspectiveReligious and money madR. The clearer we can see Gods eternal plans, the better choices we can make today.
Living in the light of eternity will make us more effective and fruitful for Christ in this world. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis from his book “Mere Christianity.”
“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next… It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in,’ aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Next time: The Prophet who wanted profit!!