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]
Here’s a sermon / devotion outline for Genesis 19. You can download the outline below.
Don’t Look Back
“We are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it” (v. 13 NASB).
LOT HESITATED – v. 15 – so the men seized his hand and the hands of his wife and daughters. FOR THE COMPASSION OF THE LORD WAS UPON HIM.
When they were outside city, “Escape for your life. DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU and do not stay anywhere in the valley” (v. 17 NASB).
“BUT HIS WIFE, FROM BEHIND HIM, LOOKED BACK, AND SHE BECAME A PILLAR OF SALT” (v. 26 NASB).
Lot’s daughters – got dad drunk – got pregnant – Moab and Ben-Ammi — Moabites and Ammonites.
You can take Lot’s daughters out of Sodom but you couldn’t take Sodom out of Lot’s daughters.
- Remember what the Lord has said and done in your life – journal, remind yourself when you need reminding. Ex: Passover Meal – reminder of Exodus and God seeing His people out of Egypt. “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth.” – Psalm 105:4-5 [NIV].
- Don’t look back desiring your old life. Lot’s wife looked back because she didn’t want to let go of what was back there. Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (NLT). Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (CEB).
- Seek the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness and to help you pray (Romans 8:26) and to live your new life in Christ (Romans 8:11).
- Keep yourself in God’s Word and remember to focus on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellent, worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
Pride is poison. For most people, it slowly seeps in without much notice until it is too late. Uzziah became strong because of all of the machines he had for protection. They used the machines on the towers and on the corners to shoot arrows and big stones at enemies.
Uzziah sought the Lord and God prospered him. He had this great protection, but the safety and security bore pride in him. Uzziah was famous because of God. Uzziah was protected because of God. But then he became “arrogant and proud, he fell.” Things went to his head just like they go to our heads.
As pride got the best of him, Uzziah went into the Temple and he acted “like he owned it and took over.” This was the place God’s name resided. This was the Temple of God. There were rules. There were priests consecrated for this work. But Uzziah walked in there like he could do anything. He ended up being “unfaithful and a disgrace.” He forgot God prospered him. He forgot God is holy. He forgot all of this because he was full of himself. Remember my friend, you don’t own it—you don’t own anything. Continue to be thankful for how God has prospered you and never forget we are to be humble servants. No one is better than another—and only God deserves honor and praise.
“But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over, burning incense on the Incense Altar. The priest Azariah, backed up by eighty brave priests of God, tried to prevent him. They confronted Uzziah: ‘You must not, you cannot do this, Uzziah—only the Aaronite priests, especially consecrated for the work, are permitted to burn incense. Get out of God’s Temple; you are unfaithful and a disgrace!’”
– 2 Chronicles 26:16-18 [MSG]
When we are babies, we are focused only on ourselves. When we get older, we start saying things are “MINE.” There comes a time in life when we will start agreeing that everything is from God – that He created everything, that He gave us everything. We thank Him for His provision. We thank Him for providing all we need. For some of us, this we learn in Sunday School; for others, it is something we learn later in life.
As David delivers this prayer, praising God and saying, “But who am I?” we should consider this as well. We live in a culture that expects things; we say, “I am ENTITLED” or “I have RIGHTS.” David recognized, whether he was hiding out from Saul or whether he was gathering materials for Solomon to one day build the Temple, that God created everything and God gave us everything.
We need to remind ourselves of this daily. We need to remember that everything came from God. We need to also remember that everything we give, we were given by God. It was never ours. Remind yourself today—“It all belongs to (God).” Let us continue to praise Him for Who He is and give Him the honor that He alone deserves.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! O LORD our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16 [NLT]
Joshua assembled everyone together at Shechem and the covenant was renewed. As you read Joshua 24, you will notice the word “I” is used a lot during the discussion. I took. I gave. I sent. I brought. I destroyed. I made. I rescued. All of this action, all from God. The people needed this reminder. The people needed it put before them.
We need this reminder too. If you read Joshua 24:2-15, you will see that it says “I gave” a total of eight times. Consider this today. Consider what God has given you today, this week, this month, this year. Better yet, look at this list. Remind yourself of something for each one. Today let us remember what the Lord has done for us. Let us thank and praise the great I AM.
Most people know the phrase “don’t toot your own horn.” When we have some great accomplishment, there is this desire to toot our horn and become boastful. These rams’ horns that the priests were blowing in Joshua 6 were different. Yes, they were tooting horns. Yes they had victory, something that we sometimes brag about in our own lives. But the horns were the same horns used in religious festivals. There was no boastfulness.
These horns reminded them that their victory was from God. Having this reminder kept the people from finding any possible way to give credit to anyone or anything else. Their victory came from God. We need to remember that with every accomplishment, every award, every blessing, it all is from God and He along deserves the glory and praise.
Today thank God for the victories that He has brought in your life. Thank Him as well even if there are situations and battles you are currently facing—the struggles that He will help see you through. Trust that He will see you to the end and the trumpets will sound. You have victory through Christ.
“’Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’” – Joshua 6:4-5 [NIV]
There were different offerings given to the Lord including the Grain Offering. The Grain Offering was to show honor to God. Recently when I was reading Leviticus 2, I read about what was involved with the Grain Offering. There was choice flour, olive oil, and frankincense. But there was something else. Something else was added to the Grain Offering. Salt.
The salt was used to season the Grain Offering. That might sound strange to us because we think of salt as a seasoning for food that we will eat. Why would a person salt an offering that was going to be given to God? This salt was to remind the people of God’s covenant with them. Salt symbolized preservation. Salt symbolized healing. God offers us preservation and healing. This salt reminded people that God was active in their lives. He was active and he was offering preservation and healing and restoration.
Today we are still offered preservation and healing and restoration through Christ. Like salt, God can penetrate our lives and preserve them. He can offer us healing. He can offer us eternal preservation. But have you added the salt? Have you allowed God to penetrate your life? Are you allowing Him to be active in your life?
“Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.” – Leviticus 2:13 [NLT]
The exchanges between Moses and Pharaoh are interesting. Again and again, Moses approaches Pharaoh to ask for the people to be released to worship God. Pharaoh continues to refuse or to add stipulations that were unacceptable, and then when the plague would come, it would cause him to ask for removal of the plague. Pharaoh continued to consider himself and his power. He continued to see himself in charge.
Now in today’s verse, we see Pharaoh doing something he didn’t do previously. He sent for Moses and Aaron. No longer were they coming and requesting permission to take the Israelites and worship God. Pharaoh was now sending for Moses and Aaron during the night. After the Passover, he saw this great power from God and no longer were the brothers approaching him. He was sending for them. He was telling them to leave—all of them—to get out and do what they requested.
Pharaoh may have later reconsidered, but for this one moment he saw the power of God. He might not have wanted to accept it—rather he wanted to put it out of sight—but he felt it and he didn’t like it. This same power is still at work today. We have a choice—we can accept it or we can try to put it out of sight. We can consider the greatness of God—or we can choose to look away. Just remember the power of God does not cease to be simply because we do not recognize it. God is God no matter what we decide to believe.
“Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. ‘Get out!’ he ordered. ‘Leave my people–and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you have requested.’” – Exodus 12:31 [NLT]
“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” – Psalm 106:13 [NIV]
When something is right in front of us, it is hard to miss it. When something is fresh in our minds, it is more likely to be remembered. The Israelites were able to remember the Lord when they were in the middle of a situation and He was providing them with their needs. But it did not take long for them to forget what he did and impatiently seek to find their own way in the world.
Again and again we are told to remember God’s Word and to teach it to our children. There are feasts in the Old Testament that were held to help remember. In the New Testament, Jesus participated in these feasts and during the Last Supper, He gave His disciples a new way to remember—Holy Communion.
Still today, there are moments when we forget what He has done and there are times when we are too impatient to wait for His plan. We take things into our own hands. We don’t wait. Today, make a point to remember what God has done already in your life and ask Him to show you the path to continue on for his plan to unfold.