After Abram and Lot part ways, with Lot selecting the Jordan Valley and heading eastward, the Lord speaks to Abram. He says, “Now lift up your eyes.” Lift up your eyes. Fix your eyes. Focus. Look from the place where you are. Imagine Abram looking upward, as he listened to the Lord. Then northward and southward and eastward and westward. God restates His promise to Abram. It didn’t matter that Lot took part of the land; Abram and His descendants would have it all.
I often find myself looking upwards. It is when I lift my eyes that I remember. I remember from where my help comes. I remember God has a great plan. I remember that I am His. I remember that this current circumstance is temporary. I remember what He has promised. I remember that He is with me. I remember Who has given me everything. I remember.
Today, lift your eyes. Remember what your Father has promised. Remember He wants a relationship with you. Remember He is with you through every step of the way. Remember.
“The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward.” – Genesis 13:14 [NASB]
Kibroth-hattaavah means “graves of gluttony.” It was given this name because of all of the people who were buried there that craved the meat that was served in Egypt. After God led His people out of the bondage of the Egyptians, the Israelites grumbled. They complained and said, “Oh, for some meat.” God’s provision was not enough. The people were rejecting the Lord. They even said that they “were better off in Egypt.”
As a result of their rejection of the Lord and His provisions, they received what was on their hearts. They received meat, more meat than they probably imagined. So much meat was provided that it was promised: “You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it.” When the meat was delivered, they did not humble themselves, repent for their sin, and thank the Lord. Instead, they gorged themselves on the meat. The anger of the LORD “blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague.”
The people were so fixated on the provisions and promises of God, rather than God Himself. It was more about what they could get, than Who they could be involved with in a relationship. Rather than accepting the God of the Universe, they wanted meat that provided temporary satisfaction. Today, consider what you want. Are you desiring something temporary, or something eternal? Are you focused on God or on the provisions of God? Are you trying to fill yourself up with God or with something else?
“But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. – So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means ‘graves of gluttony’) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” – Numbers 11:33-34 [NLT]
Every day I am in pain but some days are worse than others. Today was a really high pain day because there was an incident that occurred when I was walking the dogs. A loose dog came after Max and Marci. My daughter held Marci and continued onward but this loose dog kept after Max and he wasn’t too keen on this new acquaintance. Somehow I got my hand twisted inside his harness and the more movement from Max meant my hand was being squeezed until it could not be squeezed anymore. Finally someone nearby made a grab for the loose dog and my hand was free. It was a great feeling to have my hand free—but the pain has been lingering ever since. That was my bad hand already; I’m not sure what to call it now.
On days like these, days when the pain brings tears to my eyes, I cling to God’s Word. You can page through your Bible and read about people suffering, about people in pain, about people in anguish. This morning I turned to Psalm 73. But as you page through God’s Word, you also read about His promises. Psalm 91 says “’If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,’ says God, ‘I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!’” (v.14-16 MSG)
I am very blessed. Each day, I am grateful for another day—another opportunity to serve. I know there’s a purpose. I know He has a great plan. I know that one day I won’t have to wear braces on my knees, ankles, or anywhere else. I won’t walk with a limp. Things will be different for me and for you. No more pain. No more tears. No more struggles. Think about the party God is going to throw. Yes, there will be a day—oh what a day!
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”
Psalm 73:25-28 [NASB]
Once a person is with Jesus, He doesn’t let go. He never lets go. Read today’s passage. Read this again, “And once that person is with Me, I hold on and don’t let go.” If you accepted Christ as your Savior—if you have given your life to Him—He has taken hold of you and He will never let go. It means that you were running to Him and now you are His.
Each day we face the world and all it brings our way. No matter what comes, Jesus is there. No matter the temptation. No matter the trials. No matter the bad things. No matter the sickness. No matter the stress. No matter what time of day. No matter who you are or the mess you have made. No matter what. If you have ran to Him, He promises that He won’t let go.
Remember this today. He is never leaving go of you. No matter how hard it gets. No matter what hardships come your way. No matter how horrible you think things are in life. He won’t let go. He is going to hold on and not let go. Trust Him. Feel the embrace. Understand that His firm hand is holding it all for you. The troubles may come but no one will snatch you from His hand. Never.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.’”
-John 6:35-38 [MSG]
As I was walking Max down a familiar street, a young girl told her friend, “Cover your ears.” I chuckled a bit. I saw that there was a cat hiding under a nearby car. I assumed that she told the other girl to put her hands over her ears because she believed Max would notice the cat and start barking. I continued walking but quite soon found out why the little girl warned her friend.
From around the corner a large dog approached, barking as he ran in our direction. The girls held their ears as the dog continued to warn Max and I to keep our distance. Here I thought it was humorous that she thought Max would bark. Silly girls. Yet I was the silly one. I was the one also covering my ears as I walked away, shaking my head that I did not see the big picture.
In life we never really see the big picture. Only God sees the big picture. We see small glimpses. We know some things. We can hold on to His promises. We can walk in trust. We can only remind ourselves that He has a great plan. We do not need to see the big picture to live knowing that it is a great one, that He is good, that He is faithful, that He loves us and promises us life in abundance and eternal life with Him.
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” – Psalm 33:4-6 [NIV]
It is difficult to live with someone. Growing up you might find it a struggle to get along with your siblings. In college you might find it hard to be a coinhabitant with particular roommates. Then one day there comes marriage and more interesting situations. You might not get the curtains you want hung. You might have to deal with someone who is an early bird while you like to sleep in till lunch.
In Genesis, God told Abram to “live entirely before (Him).” What it means is to live in the presence of God. This means you are constantly aware that His is with you. This means that you faithfully walk with Him. This means you serve Him faithfully. The second part says “live to the hilt.” This means to live a blameless life—to be perfect.
You might think it is difficult to live a blameless life; however, the first part gives the way to maintain the second part. If you live entirely before God, you will no doubt live a blameless life. If you accept Christ and walk with God, you are considered blameless. His blood paid for you to be blameless. So it is not a difficult thing—by His strength, by His righteousness, by His work on the Cross—you are perfect through Him. Like Abram, we need to live ENTIRELY before Him. How? One step at a time. One moment at a time. Keep your eyes on Him.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.’”
-Genesis 17:1-2 [MSG]
God made man from the dirt. It is something that we do not consider very often. We read about it in Genesis and we might hear during a funeral service that to dust we shall return. I think it is fair to say that most people do not consider these facts on a day-to-day basis but it is important to recognize both.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they were both tossed out and today’s passage says they were then left “to work the ground, the SAME DIRT out of which they’d been made.” It was not God’s intention. God walked with Adam and Eve. They had a special relationship, a beautiful relationship. This relationship was broken when sin entered the world. By God’s grace we are able to have that relationship restored.
Today consider this same dirt—but more importantly—consider the grace of God. He may command us to work the dirt from which we come but then one day we return home. We do not need return to the same dirt forever. He has something more for us—eternal life with Him.
“So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.”
– Genesis 3:23-24 [MSG]