Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 3 January 21:
Genesis 13:9 — Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.
Psalm 2:10-12 — Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Yesterday, we discussed the choice everyone makes in life to trust, serve, and glorify either God or self, to build an alter to God or a tower to self. We also observed that this choice involves both a life resolution and daily decisions consistent with that resolution. Today we see how the resolution is played out in the decisions both people and nations make.
Abram and his nephew Lot left Egypt and entered the Negeb. Our readings point out that Abram “called upon the name of the Lord” but does not make a similar statement about Lot. Eventually, competition over limited resources cause strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen. Abram, who called upon the name of the Lord, not only took the initiative to promote peace, he also surrendered his rights as the senior leader to choose first which land he would settle, giving Lot the first choice. It takes faith to surrender your rights for sake of others and to trust God with the outcome. It takes faith to lead as Jesus commanded – “And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all'”…. “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mark 9:35; Matthew 23:11, 12) This faith involves a resolution to trust, serve, and glorify God with your life, and then the resolution becomes real at the moment of decision, one decision at a time over a lifetime.
Naturally, Lot chose what appeared to be the choicest land, the Jordan Valley near major cities, leaving Abram with the harsh land of Canaan. However, Lot’s apparently self-centered choice placed his tent in Sodom – “Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.” Meanwhile, Abram moved to the wilderness and, once again, “built an alter to the Lord.” After this separation between Abram and Lot, the Bible says the Lord spoke to Abram but doesn’t make a similar statement concerning Lot. From this point on, we will see nothing but tragedy strike Lot and his family, while God continues to bless Abram and his family.
Just as people make a choice concerning who they will serve, so do nations, which are nothing more than organizations of people who share common purpose. Today the Psalmist proclaims the Sovereignty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and questions, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” (Psalm 2:1-3) What is the message to the Nations? “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” The bookends to rejoicing are fear and trembling, honoring God and holy and sovereign, and blessings come to those who take refuge in Him. Those who reject Christ face God’s anger and wrath and “perish in the way.”
Consider how the Psalmist’s message today relates to the Great Commission – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
How do your decisions reveal the God you serve? How does what you say about social issues reveal to others the God you serve?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 January 21: Today, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Be blessed today by taking refuge in Him.