When Abram and Lot had conflict arise because God blessed them with so much, Abram initiated the separation of the two. He gave Lot the choice of the land to select. He basically said, “You go one way, and I’ll go the other.” Verse 9 notes that Abram said, “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” (ESV).
The narrative tells us that Lot made a choice. He “looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered.” Seeing the great land, he made his selection. While choosing the Jordan Valley, he disregarding what was happening in the area. He was taking residence in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sadly, we all know these choices. We see what looks amazing, but it’s too good to be true.
We often make Jordan Valley Choices. We sacrifice for the sake of temporary pleasure. We choose to participate in things that get us close to crossing the line. We spend time near those who will cause us to move in the wrong direction. We pick what looks good from what we see on the outside, thereby missing the better choice. Today, focus on the choices you are making. Are you trying to select what you think would be most rewarding to you, no matter where it leads? Well-watered land isn’t always the most refreshing.
“Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)” – Genesis 13:10 [NIV]
Sometimes we like to avoid or rush through situations all together. If something seems inconvenient, unsettling or as something that could possibly cause some damage or undesired consequence, we tend to back away. In Joshua 3, we read of this command for the priests to stand still in the Jordan. This is one of my favorite pictures in the Bible. Imagine the Jordan. Imagine the waters that overflow the banks. God tells these priests to go out and walk into this flood zone, to stand still right in the midst of it all.
I cannot say how I would react to such a command. I would consider the electronics in my pocket. I would certainly want to take off my shoes. I wouldn’t want to be wearing jeans. I would not like entering higher waters. These priests were to walk right in there and stand still. Why stand still? Why stand still after God causes the water to part as He did with the Red Sea? Consider how awesome it would have been as these men rested the soles of their feet on dry ground and raised their eyes to look around them. Consider the awesomeness they witnessed that could not have been appreciated as dearly if they simply ran across the dry ground or if they never had to get their feet moving forward in the water to see God move.
Sometimes God wants to take you into the flood zone. He wants to get you right where you can see Him move mountains in your life. There may have been a moment where He has done remarkable things and you missed it all because you didn’t stand still, because you were focused on where you placed your feet rather than stopping to look around you. God still can cause waters to stand in a heap. God is the same God who parted both the Red Sea and the Jordan. You have the opportunity to stand firmly today – to stand firmly and to stand still wherever God leads you in life. If you rush through you may just miss the waters standing in the heap. If you don’t move your feet in the flood zone, you may miss out on the remarkable ways God wants to move in your life.
“And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” – Joshua 3:13 [ESV]
We all can think back to a time when we expected that something would go differently. Even things we have prayed for did not turn out the way that we had imagined in our minds. When I was a teenager, one of the hardest periods of my life was when the healing I expected for my Grandfather did not come. Sometimes God has another plan—a better plan. We cannot always understand it. We cannot necessarily predict it. Honestly speaking, there are moments when we don’t always like it either because we cannot see the bigger picture.
Naaman had leprosy. He expected that Elisha would come out to him and wave his hands over the leprosy and call on the name of God to heal him. Naaman expected to stand there and watch Elisha summon the Lord for healing. Instead, Elisha gives him directions via a messenger. He was to wash in the Jordan seven times—the Jordan River, not even the most likely body of water for healing in Naaman’s eyes. Naaman became angry, so angry that he stalked away.
There are moments when we get angry. We expected something to turn out differently. We followed the path God directed us to take but it is not like we expected. There’s suffering. There’s hardship. There’s challenges. There’s mountains to climb. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It takes work. This is not what we expected. Today, don’t let your expectations cloud you from your focus on God who has something for you that is beyond your expectation. When something doesn’t go the way you expected, trust that He has a better plan.
“But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!”’he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me!’” – 2 Kings 5:11 [NLT]