When God Invites You On A Walk


Apocalypse #4

The Biblical definition of an apocalypse is and uncovering, a revealing, a moment in time when God draws back the curtains between heaven and earth.

Are you discouraged from fighting current battles? Wondering if your prayers are hitting the ceiling?  Are life’s challenges draining your joy? May I suggest a walk with God? At a low point in Abraham’s life, that’s what God invited him to do. Based on scriptures, I think It’s one of God’s favorite things to do with humans.

Before we look at Abraham, may I suggest, that if your heart is troubled, take a physical walk outdoors. Combined with prayer, it is good medicine for soul and body. If you can’t be outside, find a mall, gymnasium, church sanctuary, or someplace, and go there early in the day, if you can. If no good location comes to mind, ask God for an idea. If physical challenges are keeping you from walking, that doesn’t exclude you from this idea. Soul walks and prayer are always an option.

What’s a soul walk? Find a quiet place and direct your mind to “walk” through the blessings surrounding you. Remember stories of God’s faithfulness to you in the past. Allow your mind to consider the dangers from which he’s protected you. Share honestly with God, everything that’s troubling your heart and mind.

In this series on apocalyptic encounters with God, we need to take another look at Abraham, a man who despite his gross sins, still walked with God. Last post we looked at an apocalyptic moment that Abraham precipitated in King Abimelech’s life, when Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister. A low point for Abraham. This post, I want to look at another low point which became a high one in Genesis 13, because of God’s invitation to walk.  Abram needed to move his body and talk with his Heavenly Father after the dust up with his nephew Lot in the beginning of Genesis 13.

For a little background history, back in Genesis 12, God spoke plainly to Abraham about he and Sarah packing up and moving away from his family. All his family.

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you,” Genesis 12:1 (NLT). Can you find a translation that says, “leave your family, except for Lot?” Abram obeyed God in the act of moving his family. He disobeyed God and brought Lot along. The scripture doesn’t tell us why, but as we see Lot’s character emerge in chapter 13, I’m wondering if Lot pestered Abram to let him come? Well frankly, that was a foolish decision for Abram. Lot and his people created a lot of trouble and drama that poured out onto Abraham’s life several times.

As you look at this story in chapter 13, before we get to Abraham’s walk with God, remember that Abraham opened a door to sin in his family not only by disobediently bringing Lot along on his journey, but also by lying to the Pharoah of Egypt about Sarah being his sister, with Lot as a witness. (Genesis 12:10-20) Yes! Abraham lied twice about Sarah. (See my last post for his second lying episode.) What do you think Lot’s takeaway was from Abraham fudging the truth with Pharaoh? “Guess, lying is cool in this family, if you’ve got a good reason.” The trouble is, once a family opens a door to one sin, others slide right in there along with it. And now we come to the family quarrel in Genesis 13 between Abraham’s shepherds and Lot’s that prefaced Abraham’s walk with God at the end of the chapter.

Both men experienced wealth and prosperity, demonstrated by their flocks multiplying and their tents multiplying.  Genesis 13:6 tells us that the area couldn’t support both men’s flocks and so their shepherds started fighting over land use. Super. Lot was the tagalong who, out of gratitude, should have told his shepherds to move elsewhere. Nope. Lot does nothing to stop the fighting while Abram steps up with a solution. He suggests they go in opposite directions from each other. How generous of Abraham. God gave the land of Canaan to him, not to Lot.

A respectful, humble nephew would insist that Abram, as the senior family member,pick his parcel of land first. Nope. Lot picks first and chooses the best land. This guy. Sheesh. Abram graciously agrees and sends Lot and his crew on their way.

This story takes place in thirteen short verses. It’s easy to brush over the nuances of the conflicts and emotions in play. First, think about how troubling it was for Abram to continuously receive reports from the fields about the quarreling shepherds. What a terrible testimony for the people of Canaan to watch the people of the one true God squabbling with one another. The same is true today when we allow arguments amongst Christians to spill into the community as a whole and onto social media.

One of the churches we served in was poised to do a remodel of its aged sanctuary. Antique stain-glassed windows adorned the front, so plans to carefully move and re-install them in the new sanctuary were in place. That wasn’t enough for some contentious folk who didn’t want the sanctuary changed at all. Behind the backs of the church board, they approached the town’s historical society and encouraged them to stop the remodel based on the sanctuary’s historical significance. What an embarrassing display for God’s kingdom. The historical society declined to become involved in what they called, “a church family dispute.”

Abram realized that for the sake of Yahweh’s name, the family feud must be ended. He made his gracious offer to Lot. Abraham trusted God to meet his needs, not the land itself. Seems like Lot viewed life differently. The greedy nephew chose his land based on what he could see with his eyes. The scriptures do not indicate that Lot invested any time speaking to God about his decision. He simply grabbed the best land. How hurtful for Abram and how destructive it ultimately wound up being for Lot and his family. (See Genesis 14:1-14 and Genesis 19)

First, Lot allows his shepherds to fight with Abraham’s instead of telling them, “Dudes, all this land belongs to Abram. You stay out of the way of his shepherds.” Second, he takes the best pastures for himself with no thought to his uncle’s needs. How selfish and sad.

We all know what it’s like to deal with relational squabbles and conflicts. We all experience those moments when people around us just act badly. It hurts and is wearying. We are left ruffled and sad. I’m certain that’s why God stepped into that moment and made his voice audible to Abram again. God knew that his friend, Abram, needed to hear from him.

“After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants, that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you,” Genesis 13:14-17 (NLT).

I believe God made his voice audible so that his invitation to take a walk would be unmistakable to Abraham. I love to imagine all the beautiful plans and ideas that God and Abraham discussed on that walk, beyond what scripture tells us. Here are some applications from this story that I can see for us.

  • When we disobey God, we sow bad seed that will bring a harvest at some point.

Abraham should not have allowed Lot to come along. Lot needed to find his own direction with God, not just become a tail on Abraham’s kite. None of the trouble with the shepherds, the dramatic rescue of Lot’s family from a war zone and captivity (Genesis 14) and of course the terrifying escape from Sodom and Gomorrah would have occurred if Abraham obeyed God and left ALL his extended family behind.

  • All relationships will experience trouble and conflict. How you handle it reveals your character.  Abraham could have easily told Lot and his family to shove off. He would have been within his rights to do so. What he did reveals his godly character. Would you and I have done the same? I wonder.
  • When you are frazzled from a conflict, take a walk with God. Don’t “veg out” in front of video games or TV shows to forget about your troubles. Don’t ignore them and pretend they didn’t happen. Don’t gossip about them to other people to gain sympathy. Take a walk with God. Pour out your heart honestly and then listen to what he says to you. Who knows, you might experience an apocalyptic moment.
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