Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Valley Set Before You"

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.    Joel 3:14-16
As I read this verse in Joel this morning it reminded me of  the account in Genesis 13:1-12 Where Abraham and Lot are standing, overlooking the valley with a decision set before them.  ...So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsman and your herdsman; 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." And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. Genesis 13:8-12

Like Lot we too are faced with choices every day. Which way will we go? Lot made his choice based on what he saw with his eyes in the valley set before him. He didn't seek the Lord's counsel but instead he saw the richness of the Jordan and its lush vegetation and made his choice based on what his eyes considered to be the better choice. His greed and therefore his choice exposed him to the wickedness of Sodom as he pitched his tents closer and closer to Sodom.

Abram on the other hand offered the first choice to Lot more than willing to trust the Lord to keep him whichever direction he would end up taking. He wasn't disappointed. In verses 14-18 it says, "And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift up 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. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you." Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

I love that because Abram decided to trust God with the outcome of Lot's decision and because of that God took the opportunity to not only reaffirm His promise to give Abram and his seed the land of Canaan but began to bring it to pass. The phrase 'moved his tent' in verse 18 literally means that he tented, or kept moving his tent along, continually increasing and staking his claim to more and more of the land that God had promised to give him.

You and I, here, now, today, have much the same choice that lays before us. We too are among the multitudes that must choose from the paths that lay before us or are forced to deal with the results of someone elses choice. Will we trust Him to keep His promise to lead us, to guide us, to provide for us? Will we trust Him to be our strength? Will we trust Him to be our God even when we look with our eyes and it looks like we got the short end of the stick?

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision --- The left or the right? Which way do we go?

Will we choose to heed His voice and walk the path He sets before us?

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