Choices

Genesis 14; Matthew 13. Nehemiah 3; Acts 13.

Choices have consequences. There is something ominous about this phrase. Seriously, I get really nervous when I think about it because, like most of us, I have made (am making?) some really poor choices. Today’s scriptures brought this to light in a new way for me. In order to explain, I want to consider Abram. To do so, we need to start in Chapter 13.

In yesterday’s journal, Michael wisely noted Abram’s response to the riches that he possessed. In verse 4, “Abram called upon the name of the Lord.” I think you will see that this sets the stage for many events that follow.

The first of these events begins with strife between Abram and Lot. In order to resolve the conflict, Abram leads the way, suggesting that they split apart. Now, the part that confounds my worldly wisdom is that Abram gives Lot the first choice.   I refuse to believe that Abram did not see the same things that Lot did, as described in verse 10.  He saw the Jordan Valley which was, “well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt.” Even so, Abram did not choose it. He gave the privilege of first choice to Lot. Why not? The simple answer is that it was not important to him. Abram recognized that his blessed life was not a result of his surroundings, but of God’s hand on his life.

The second choice Abram makes shows up in Genesis 14:21. The king of Sodom offers him the loot that was stolen from the city. Not unlike his refusal to take the land in the Jordan Valley, Abram refuses the easy and obvious choice. What is it about Abram that causes him to make such choices? Simple; he knew how to keep God the one thing. The one thing for Abram was crystal clear. His purpose in this life was to serve God. Neither the money (rich in livestock), nor the first choice of where to live (Jordan Valley) or even the enticements by the king were worth his attention.

This world is always falling victim to misguided purpose. In order to make good decisions we attempt to increase our will power or gain more wisdom. It occurs to me that Abram didn’t worry about those things. Instead, he “called upon the name of the LORD,” “gave him a tenth of everything,” and “lifted his hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth.” Today is a new day. How will you choose?

  • Jane Harris

    Could we possibly take a second look at Abrams reasoning in letting Lot choose first? After many years of studying this, I have thought that Abraham is giving Lot the choice to see if he would make an unselfish choice.. God knew what would happen when
    Lot choose Sodom. God knew the sin and evil it all but Lot only looked at the most desirealble (the temporal).

  • BJ Armstrong

    Jane – I appreciate your comments! While yours is similar to my understanding, I didn’t have the perspective that Abram was “testing” Lot. My take is that Abram knew God would care for him, so the choice was irrelevant. Since he would be happy anywhere, why not give Lot “dibs?” Additionally, Lot’s choice was not necessarily wrong, or sinful, rather an indication of a heart drawn toward worldly things (yes, temporal). Over time, Lot’s choice causes him to be drawn further in until, ultimately, he is living in the city. This is in opposition to Abram’s statement that he first called upon God. It is this reliance on God that shapes Abrams perspective and allows him to make such wise choices.