Stan ? - Lift Up Your Eyes

Perhaps it was early in the morning when two men stood side by side on a mountaintop, providing a view in the direction of the rising sun, of the verdant plains watered by the Jordan River. Eastward beyond the well watered plains of Moab endlessly stretched the forested hills that separated the Jordan valley from the Euphrates, the great river of the east, and the land of Shinar, from which both men had left on a journey directed by God not many years before. The view northward saw rugged mountains that stretched on until surmounted by the majestic snow covered peak of Mount Hermon. In the westward direction they could observe in a nearby peaceful valley their two camps, now stirring with the early morning activities. Beyond the valley toward the west were more hills, valleys and mountains, stretching beyond their view unto the Plain of Sharon, upon whose shores broke the waves of the immense Western Sea. To the south the fortress of the Jebusites built upon the slopes of Mount Moriah could be seen and beyond that lay the deadness of the Salt Sea, into which the waters of the Jordan River emptied and found their grave.

The two men were engaged in one of the most serious concerns that could be considered on earth --- the maintenance of peace between brethren. Their combined flocks and herds were greater than the land wherein they were sojourning could support. The older of the two men had asked the younger to choose a direction to leave the place where they were, and he would go in the opposite direction, that the peace between themselves as brethren could be maintained.

The record reads "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere... Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other" (Gen 13:10-11). Both men returned to the now busy encampment and took steps to carry out their agreement: Lot to travel east toward the cities of the plain, and Abraham to travel west into the land of Canaan.

It is significant that Lot lifted up his own eyes, and chose what seemed best to him. It never occurred to him to ask the Lord for direction in making a choice that represented a new course for his life. The wisdom of God declares that it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer 10:23). It also declares that there is a way that seems good to a man, but the end thereof is the ways of death (Prv 14:12). Lot's choice seemed best to him at that time, and it was best for the short term. His flocks and herds prospered and grew, and daily he had cause to rejoice in the prosperity brought by his choosing. Unknown to him was the shortness of the time remaining before the judgment of the God of heaven would be visited upon the wicked cities of the plain of Jordan, and all that he had valued would be destroyed in that cataclysmic judgment. All that can be seen with the human eye was created to have an end.

As Abraham traveled west into Canaan, the Lord led him up to a high place. From the vantage point where Abraham was standing, God told him to lift up his eyes and look in all directions unto the distant horizons, and spoke to him the following words: "Lift up now your eyes from the place where you are, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever" (Gen 13:14-15). Looking up from the place where he was revealed to him all the possibilities for eternal gain, and that vision stood by him to the end of his journey through life.

The view that Abraham was given, to the north, to the south, to the east, to the west --- all that he could see --- would be his forever. Unlike choices made by human intellect, the choices made conforming to the will of God are eternal. However, there was one vital requirement: to make the promise become a reality, Abraham had to arise and walk through the length and breadth of the land of promise to make it his own (Gen 13:17). Walking on the land conveys ownership (Jos 1:3) (Jos 14:9). While there are no limits to the extent of the eternal inheritance that could belong to every child of God, the boundaries of the inheritance are defined by their willingness to take steps guided by the will of God.

Stan