‘Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.’ Genesis 13:17
When we are young and at the beginning of new ventures, life is exciting.
Abraham was a young man when he heard these words. He had left his own family, had begun a long journey and one day, looking out over far distant horizons, these are the words he heard. It was the beginning of a wonderful adventure for Abraham where the Lord caused him not only to be prosperous but to become a large and established community.
I’ve always loved this verse too. When I was younger it filled me with the same sense of adventure and excitement that I think Abraham would have known. God has not disappointed me in the fulfilment of these words and the ‘land’ I look at today is bigger now than the one I looked at as a late teenager. There are still some adventures ahead!
But I’m consciously aware this morning that this verse says ‘in every direction’. Sometimes we have to walk in directions we would rather not! When I’m out walking, I’d rather walk towards the sunshine with the wind behind me, but if we are going to walk ‘in every direction’ then there are times we need to go against the wind and face the darkness.
There were times in Abraham’s life when he had to battle with his own difficulties: enemies in the land, a selfish nephew, a barren wife and a God who demanded all were just some of the trials he had to face. I’m sure these were only some of the directions that he would rather not have gone in.
Are you walking in every direction in your Christian life or are you just choosing the sunlit paths?
To truly enter into our spiritual inheritance, we have to face all that God sends to us, both good and ill. We have to have the same courage, faith, love and perseverance in every situation. We must not waver when the going gets tough and think to ourselves, “I didn’t sign up for this!”
We agreed to follow and if that means walking in directions we would rather not choose then there will be times when we must do it. We aren’t given the option of pulling out or even following at a distance with a reluctant hardened attitude making it difficult for others.
Lot, Abraham’s nephew, could have shared the adventure with Abraham. He could have entered into the same promise that God gave to Abraham but instead he became a rival spirit and in the end the two men parted company. He had the wrong attitude. He was selfish and greedy. He wanted his own way.
Have you become part of a work that started with the blessing of God? Perhaps a work that has grown up and developed around about you. Unless we maintain the right attitude, live selfless surrendered lives, we will end up parting ways and the inheritance and blessing we could have shared will slip through our fingers and we’ll watch whilst others find what might have been ours. We’ve become like Lot, separated and distant from the blessing. It’s all in the attitude. Face into the direction God is pointing you even if it’s not sunny! It’s there that you will find Him and be at peace.
Abraham was tested and found wonderful reward. Turn again to the only One who is able to give to you the reward that is peculiar to you and the blessing that bears your name.
‘Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”’ Genesis 15:1