Stakes, Altars, and Roadblocks
We are continuing our study of one of
those characters in this lesson, a man named Lot. We began by examining the
words of Jesus Himself as He admonished us to remember Lot's wife. A flashback
to Genesis 19 reminded us that her story was one of a woman who was so enamored
with the world that even as God was about to destroy it, she could not keep
from longing for its splendor. Jesus went on to add that as you try to save
your life like she did, you will lose it. If you lose your life for Christ's
sake, you will save it.
So we concluded that Lot's wife’s real
problem was that she was double-minded. She didn't mind being a believer so
long as her allegiances need not change. She didn't mind being a believer so
long as her behavior need not change. She didn't mind being a believer so long
as her friendships need not change. Mrs. Lot was in love with the world. But
then, in varying degrees, aren't we? Isn't there a measure to which most of us
have sold out to the conveniences and pleasures of the world at the expense of
spiritual things? Mrs. Lot ended up a very salty lady. But in essence, she and
her children were natural products of decisions she and her husband had made.
That is why the title of our last study was: “Remember Lot's Life”. He
was the one who made the wrong choices. His were the decisions that
ultimately affected his family.
Decisions. The direction each man's and
each woman's life takes is simply the product of decisions. If we could just
impress upon young people that dating is a choice, and who you date is who you
marry. What a difference it might make in some of their dating practices. Who
you date equals who you marry. Who you marry equals one-half your total
personality. Think about it. What school you attend, what job you take, what
city you move to, when you receive Christ, who you choose for your friends,
what compromises you choose to make along the way are all decisions that affect
your life. A sovereign God weaves them together so that all things DO
work together for good, but He doesn't make the decisions, we do. Wrong
decisions set patterns for the future.
Now Lot made a series of such
decisions. They reflected the man he really was until he became the man that
was reflected. But, remember Lot was not spiritually deprived. Though his
father died early, his grandfather assumed responsibility for his life and
graciously gave him to his Uncle Abram to nurture, protect and encourage.
Granted, Lot did not have the kind of father Adam did, but he had the next best
thing. He had the father of God's people. The saint of the century was his new
adopted dad. What an opportunity to be a disciple of God's choicest servant.
What a privilege to walk alongside Abram, to learn at his feet, to serve him,
but not so with ambitious Lot.
We learned in our last lesson that two
of Lot's weaknesses were ingratitude and presumption. Abram was called by God
into one of the greatest ventures of faith ever recorded in scripture. He was
to leave his security and the familiarity of his surroundings. He was to go to
a country he knew not of. In return, God was to make of him a mighty nation.
His seed, though at the time his wife was barren, was to one day be as the sand
on the seashore. Through that seed, all the nations of the earth were to be
blessed. We read that Abram obeyed God. Then, we read that four line
conclusion, Lot went with him.
Lot's first decision was a good one. He
agreed to accompany God's man on God's journey. But soon trouble set in. Lot's
herdsmen and his uncle’s herdsmen came into conflict. There wasn't room enough
for Abram's flock and Lot's greed. So God's man, Abram, did it God's way. He
told Lot to take half of all they had, whatever he wanted and Abram would take
whatever was left. Abram did not want any strife between them because they were
brethren. God's man in the middle of God's will can always do that. But,
presumptuous Lot saw the plain of Jordan and his head spun like a cash
regist\er. Here is where the pattern of the spiritual versus the carnal Christian
crystallizes. Lot representing the believer operating in the flesh, chooses the
best the world has to offer hoping to inject a little of God into the world.
Abram represents the believer filled with the Spirit, and he chooses to relax,
and give away whatever the world needs, trusting God to take care of his needs
and then he worships God for the privilege of doing so. Lot, having chosen to
eye the world’s best, pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Lot identified himself with the people
of Sodom. Literally, he gave his heart to Sodom. We read that Sodom had already
gained the reputation of being the garbage heap of the world. Sin City.
Perversionville it might have been called. It was Satan's headquarters. Lot
pitched his tent toward Sodom and soon followed the inevitable. Lot moved his
tent to Sodom, to the permanence and the prosperity of city life. No more
wandering about like a nomad braving the weather. Now his children could go to
the finest of schools. They could make friends with those who were socially
acceptable. They could have all the pleasures that money could buy. All they
had to give up was the godly wisdom of Uncle Abram, the spiritual direction of
godly leadership, the fellowship of other believers and the moral standards of
a believer's society. All they had to give up was spiritual. All they had to
gain was physical.
Have you ever made a decision like
that? Most of us have. We get so enamored with the world and its glamour that
Matthew 6:33 just blurs into insignificance and we begin to identify with
Sodom. Let's look at Uncle Abram. He got left with what Lot didn't want. He
just trusted God for it all. Where did that lead for Abram? We read about it in
14 And the Lord said to Abram (after
Lot was separated from him), "Lift up now your eyes and look from the
place from where you are, northward, southward, eastward and westward
15 for all the land which thou seest to
thee will I give it and to thy seed forever.
16 And I will make thy seed as the dust
of the earth so that if a man can number the sands of the earth, then shall thy
seed be numbered.
17 Now arise, and walk through the
land, the length of it and the breadth of it for I will give it all to
18 Then Abram removed his tent, came
and dwelt in the plain of Mamre which is in Hebron and built there an altar to
God says to Abram, "Lot is gone,
now I can give you all that is yours." While Abram and Lot were yoked
together, there was strife, discord, contention and competition. They were, in
essence, not walking together for they were not agreed. When Lot left, the
blessings of the Lord tumbled down on Abram. That is why some business
partnerships never blossom until one of the partners, even out of greed, takes
his share and then some and leaves God free to pour it out on the one who walks
with Him by faith. The Scripture says that “no man that warreth entangles
himself with the affairs of this world that he may please Him whom He has
chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim 2:4) Sometimes wrong relationships entangle
the soldiers of the King and they have no freedom to train for the battle. So
God gives the whole of it back to Abram. As far as he could see, the land was
Abram was limited only by two things:
His vision of God's provision and his willingness to possess his possessions.
"As far as you can see, Abram, that is yours. How great is your
vision?" God was asking. The definition of spiritual vision is “the
magnitude of one's concept of the Great Commission”. Vision. Study your prayer
list. This is how you can tell the measure of your vision of God. Is He the God
of your house? Is He the God of your block? Is He the God of your city? Is He
the God of your nation? How far-reaching is your vision of God? Does your heart
ache for those countries embroiled in battle or starvation, or is Cousin Joe in
a nearby city the end of your earth? Do you weep over the Christians trapped in
totalitarian societies? Do you pray with regularity for missionaries all over
the world? Oh, for the vision of men like Dawson Trotman who wept and prayed
and claimed lives for God using a map of the world. Today the fruit of his life
is even yet being borne in every country for which he prayed. God told Abram to
look to the north, south, east and west. He wanted to know how far Abram was
willing to look. It was all His and could all be Abram's. Vision.
God then gave Abram the second
prerequisite. He said, "Get up and walk through the land which you have
seen and I will give it to you. Possess your possessions." Here is
prerequisite number two. By faith, Abram was going to possess what by knowledge
he already had. This is a graphic picture of how to appropriate Christian
character in your daily walk. You do not say, "God wants me to love my
neighbor and as soon as I feel loving, I will." Negative. The land of love
is yours to possess. You already have it. In Christ, the capacity to love is
yours. How do you possess it? By faith, you begin to live and act as though you
would if you were filled with God's love (for you are). You act on the premise
that the possession is yours. As you act like you love, love begins to
flow. That is the principle of possessing your possessions. You own it; now use
it. You don't wait until you feel like you own it. For example, imagine
that the title deed has been given to you to buy a house. Somebody gives it to
you and signs the title over to you and you sit in the title office and say,
"Gee, this is wonderful, my very own house." But when the office gets
ready to close that night, they say, "Aren't you going to go home?"
"I don't have any place to go," you answer. "But you’ve just
been given a house," they reply. "But I don't feel anything
for that house yet.” you respond, “I haven't lived in it. I will just stay
here. But, boy it is wonderful to own a house."
You may think that is far-fetched, but
it is not. That is the way we live the Christian life. All of this land is ours
to possess. God told Abram to look as far as he could see, and as he looked and
believed it was his, God told him to walk over the land and it would
be his. As you choose to tell the truth, you possess the land of truth, which
has been yours since the moment of your conversion, for God is truth.
The power to be pure is already yours, as well. But you possess the land of
purity by choosing to act and think as though you wanted to be pure. Only then,
do you gradually come to possess purity. If you want a generous spirit, you
already have it, the One who gave it all lives within you. So, begin to give as
though you wanted to. The land of generosity will be yours experientially in
time to come. Possess your possessions. This may be one of the most untaught
truths in all of Christian experience.
Abram saw it all. His spiritual vision
was 20/20. He also possessed it all. He had the faith to believe God. The rest
was up to God. So God emptied the windows of heaven upon Abram as He would have
done to Lot had Lot just pitched his tent in a slightly different direction.
Then Abram moved his tent and began to possess his new title deed. As soon as
he stopped, the Scripture records, he built an altar to the Lord. That is
getting a little familiar, isn't it? Every other verse seems to say that Abram
stopped and built another altar to the Lord.
There is no measure of a man or woman
more revealing of their inner character than this one. What does it take to
make them worship? Some worship when others are looking. Some worship whenever
there is a crisis. Some worship whenever they want something from God. Some
worship when they feel guilty. Some worship when they feel good. God's man or
woman worships every time they get the chance. It is the very expression of
God's love. God's man or woman is so in love with God that he or she spends
time adoring God and praising Him. This is more fulfilling than playing a game
of golf, or watching a football game, or eating a good meal, or visiting
friends or going shopping. Given a choice, with no audience or no restraint,
God's man or woman would rather be with God than do anything else in the
world. That is the measure of a real disciple. Like a magnet, it is a natural
thing to be drawn to fellowship with the King.
Meanwhile, in our story, trouble is
brewing in the big city. Chapter 14 begins by picturing an international crisis
which is soon to affect the two main characters of our story, Mr. Lot and Mr.
Abram. Now if we are to sort through the first eleven verses of chapter 14 and
put them in some kind of simple order, it would look like this: There are five
kings over five cities; the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of
Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Zoar. These five kings had been
under the domination of the King of Elam for twelve years. It says that in the
thirteenth year they began to rebel because they just couldn't take it any
longer. They withheld their taxes. Something had to give. They were under
authority, but they rebelled. The king of Elam decided that he would get three
other kings who were his friends together, and these four kings decided that
they would try to crush this rebellion. They came in and subdued the kingdom.
They took Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar and all the men, all the
soldiers, all the women and all the goods and... Lot.
It is important that you realize that
Lot was taken. He is the reason this war was listed in Scripture. This,
incidentally, is the first war described in Scripture. The reason it was
important to God was that God's man was in the middle of it. God's man was in
rebellion, but he was still God's man. So the Scripture says that all the
subdued people from the five kingdoms were taken away, but some perished
because they had to pass many slime pits on the way. Some of them slipped into
these slime pits to their death.
Lot had pitched his tent with the
world, and now he was the victim of the world's conflicts. If you live your
life on the edge of Sodom, sooner or later you will be taken captive by one of
Sodom's pitfalls. You don't identify with the world without eventually bearing
its brand. It is the part of the advertisements that you never see. Just one
time, I would like to see a picture of those happy-go-lucky men of the world
canoeing down a beautiful stream giving it all the "gusto" they have
as they drink their alcoholic brews, followed by a few scenes from the drunk
ward at the local hospital. The caption may read, "They gave it all the
gusto they had and this is what it cost them”. This is the other side of Sodom.
It could be one of those glamorous parties that seem so natural and fulfilling
on television shows. Maybe at least one of them should be followed by a few
shots of an innocent child being run down by a driver who left that party
either drunk or stoned on drugs. It could also show the family broken up by the
immorality that the party produced. This is what it is really like to
live in Sodom. Heartache. Degradation. Suicide. Unbelief. The advertising world
is not made to show us that side of it. Praise God the Bible tells us the rest
of the story.
The picture we now have of Lot and his
family is that they have been taken hostage into a strange country by invading
forces bound to put down a rebellious uprising. Not only did they take Lot, but
the Scriptures tell us that they took all of his possessions as well. That is the
way Satan is. He gives you all these "goodies" and makes you
prosperous, then takes it away just for kicks. You can't help but wonder what
may have been passing through Lot's mind while he was on a mattress in a prison
camp just beyond the slime pits. Surely he wondered about life with Uncle
Abram. No parties. No dances. No drinking. No entertainment. No perversions. No
filthy language. No gutter life. Just the simple life with Uncle Abram. The
sheep. The kids. The Word. The altars. The prayer. Worshipping and serving the
Living God. Blessed with all of the cattle, servants, and all that land was
his. He remembers these in a flashback. "Let there be no strife, we be
brethren," he could hear his uncle say. Surely at some point, there must
have raced through Lot's warped mind, "God if you will just get me out of
this mess alive, I will give the rest of my life to serving you."
Have you ever said anything like that?
"Lord, when this war is over, things will be different. Lord, if you will
save my baby, I will be yours forever. Lord, I have learned my lesson, if you
would just keep me from being found out one more time." “Lord, if...” (you
fill in the blank). Just imagine the power of God’s people if we all had
honored the promises made in fox holes in Korea, helicopters in Viet Nam, or in
hospital waiting rooms. Lot, if only God would give you another chance, what
would you do?
Now the scene fades and we see in verse
thirteen Uncle Abram, perhaps seated by his tent. A bleeding, bedraggled
messenger approaches out of breath, a Sodomite who knew Lot had an uncle. He
had escaped and had run to Abram for help. Have you ever noticed where the
world turns when it needs real help? Those guys who taunt you at
work for your faith. Who do they call when their marriage is falling apart or
their world is in shambles? So often like Nicodemus they come by night, but so
often they come to God's men when the issues are real. The plastic answers of
Satan's society haven't satisfied their questions. They don't always want real
help, they do want out of the mess they are in. They almost always come
to the King's children. Let's read:
13 And there came one that had escaped
and told Abram, the Hebrew, for he dwelt in the land of Mamre the Amorite, the
brother of Eshcol, the brother of Aner.
14 When Abram heard that his brother,
(that is his brother in the faith, Lot) was taken captive, he armed his trained
servants who were born in his own house, 318 of them, and pursued them to Dan.
He divided himself against them, he and his servants by night and he smote
them. He pursued them to Hobah.
16. And he brought back all the goods.
He also brought back Lot and his goods and the women also and the people.
Now here is God's kind of man in a
1- He is a man of forgiveness.
Abram held no grudges against Lot. He could have wrung his hands in glee and
said, "That's what he deserved. I raised him, he forsook me, he took me.
Let him suffer." No, love suffers long and is kind. God's man holds no
2- Abram was a man of compassion.
When he heard about Lot's situation, his heart broke. Remember what compassion
is. It is “entering into the hurts of others until you are so moved that you
show mercy”. You do something about it. God's man's heart breaks when
someone else's heart breaks. He was a man of compassion.
3- He was a man of responsibility.
He had 318 servants and employees. But, he was not a man of conflict, we have
already seen that. He was a man of peace. But to keep the peace and defend his
people, he had 318 men. The literal translation is that they were trained to be
armed. This is the only recorded time in history that Abram ever engaged in
warfare. But always he was prepared. He was not an ostrich with his head buried
in the name of faith. He knew that the hostages had to be freed, whatever the
cost, because he was God's man and God's reputation was at stake.
4- He was a man of courage. “The
rejection of fear in the face of adversity” is one definition. Sure, his 318
men were trained and armed, but his confidence was not in them. They
trained as though it were up to them, but they lived as though it were up to
God. Here were 318 men who had never fought a real battle with a handful
of confederates who were unskilled allies. They were fighting against the
victorious armies of four kings who had just laid waste the empires of five
other kings. Those were God's kind of odds. Verse 15 tells us that Abram took
that little band of men and divided them into yet smaller groups so that the
enemy would think they were surrounded. He went in at night and caught them
off-guard in Hobah which is sixty miles from Damascus and routed them.
In verse 16 we read that he brought
back all the people, all the goods and Lot. There is no record of even one
of Abram's men being killed or injured. Here is the reason. God still had His
eye on Lot. Maybe now Lot would pitch his tent toward God, build an altar and
worship Him. All Lot had to do was learn from Uncle Abram that the world was
powerless against God's man. He was forgiving. He was compassionate. He was
But the story isn't finished. Abram was
also a man of integrity. After being blessed by Melchizedek and
worshipping God, he meets the king of Sodom. The king says, "Boy that was
a wonderful thing you did for us. I tell you what I am going to do. You give me
back my people and you can keep the goods." The king offers Abram the worlds'
spoils in exchange for God's blessings. What a test. This would have probably
made Abram the richest, most powerful man in all the world. Oh, what he could
do for God with all the money. But Abram answered, "I belong to the God of
heaven and earth. I won't take a hair ribbon or a shoelace. If I did, you would
say, oh king, Abram is rich and I gave it to him" No way. All they
kept was the food they had eaten. In the same way, the church does not need the
world to keep it afloat, even out of gratitude. That steals the glory from God.
Let the world keep its spoils; just keep God on the throne of your life and He
will meet the needs of your life. Abram not only took nothing for himself, he
stopped to worship and pay tithes and worship at the hands of Melchizedek.
Now, who was Melchizedek? Melchizedek
is worthy of mention. Everyone in scripture is worthy of mention, but here we
see the insertion of a man and an experience in Abram's life in order to give
us another God-painted portrait of His coming Son, Jesus Christ. The actual
account goes like this in Genesis 14,
18 And Melchizedek, king of Salem,
brought forth bread and wine. He was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed Abram and said,
"Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.
20 Blessed be the most high God which
hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." And Abram gave Melchizedek
tithes of oil.
Now the scripture has much to say about
Melchizedek. This will be a brief list of the facts. The passages to look at
are: Hebrews 7:1-17; Genesis 14:16-24; and Psalm 110:4. This is what we know
was the king of Salem which represented ancient Jerusalem.
was a priest of God in Abram's day.
was he who met Abram as he was returning from his victory.
gave him a tenth of the spoil.
is called in Scripture “the king of righteousness”.
is also called “the king of Salem” which means king of peace.
had no one before him and no one after him. There is no recorded date of birth
or death. There is no recorded genealogy that includes him.
was greater than Abram.
was a type of Christ so that Christ could later be revealed as a priest
after the order of Melchizedek.
What does a type of Christ mean?
A type is an imprint or a portrait of another. It means that one reason
Melchizedek's story was placed in scripture was so that both from Abram of old
to the present age, all might have a clear picture of the person of Jesus
Christ. How is that confirmed in scripture? Psalm 110: 4 , speaking of the
Messiah, Jesus the coming one, says:
“The Lord has sworn and will not
repent, thou are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”.
Hebrews 6:19 seals the issue in detail:
Which hope we have as an anchor of the
soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into the veil whither the
forerunner of us has entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever after the
order of Melchizedek.
7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of
Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abram from the slaughter of the
kings, and blessed him,
2 to whom also Abram also gave a tenth
part of all, first being by interpretation, king of righteousness, and after
that also king of Salem which is the king of peace.
3 Without father, without mother,
without descent, having neither beginning of days or ending of life, but made
like unto the son of God, abideth a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was
unto whom even the patriarch Abram gave a tenth of the spoil.
15 And it is yet far more evident for
that after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest
16 who is made not after the carnal law
of the commandment but after the power of an endless life,
17 for he testified, "Thou art a
priest forever after the order of Melchizedek,"
So here we have an incident resulting
from a battle which never would have been necessary had Lot not been in
disobedience, but the God who works all things together for good uses this
incident to unfold a more beautiful picture of His coming son, Jesus Christ. In
at least seven ways, Melchizedek is a type of Christ.
He is a type of Christ where genealogy is concerned.
is a type of Christ where sacrifice is concerned.
is a type of Christ where the endless priesthood is concerned.
is a type of Christ where the combination of being both king and priest is
is a type of Christ in that it was said of both men that they were greater than
is a type of Christ in that both were called king of righteousness and king of
is a type of Christ in that both brought forth bread and wine, the evidence of
the New Testament, both the body and the blood of Christ.
So, Melchizedek, like Noah, like Abel,
like all of God's portraits as revealed in scripture, is a real person. This is
a real event, yet it portrays a more beautiful picture for indeed all of
scripture has but one theme, Jesus. So Abram had worshipped and given a tenth
to God. Now the victorious Abram stands before God, the source of the victory.
The dialogue goes like this, chapter 15:1:
After these things, the Word of the
Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying, "Fear not Abram, the I AM is your
shield and your exceeding great reward.
In verses two and three Abram reminds
God of the promise of children that he doesn't have yet. God tells him that He
understands, but to be patient. In verse five we read:
And He brought him forth abroad and
said, "Look now toward heaven,"
God had already told Abram that if he
could count the sand on a seashore, he could envision what God was going to do
through his life. Then later, God told him to envision dust and try to count
the particles, then Abram would know how great his seed would be after him.
Now, God takes Abram and tells him to look into the heavens to count the stars.
If he could, God tells Abram, he would be able to number his seed. In verse 6
And Abram believed in the Lord and He
counted it unto him as righteousness.
There we have it. The second phase of
Lot's life. He moves to Sodom and totally identifies with its lifestyle. He is
taken captive along with all those he belongs with. It takes God's man and
God's miracle to get him out. God got Lot's attention through trauma and gave
him a warning through deliverance. It would only seem natural then to see Lot
co-laboring with his uncle on the plains of Mamre, re-educating his children in
the things of God, re-directing his priorities toward eternity. We all learn
from our mistakes, don't we? Surely we don't expect God to deliver us again
from the same wrong choices, do we?
The next time we will see Lot, he will
be back in Sodom. He spun his wheels getting out of Mamre. He had invested so
much of his life in the world that he couldn't even see that God wanted his
attention in order to give him another chance. God you see is in the business
of giving another chance, but Lot, like a magnet was drawn back to Sodom. His
deliverance was a coincidence in his mind, or it proved to him that God was
still on his side. It never dawned on him that he was not on God's side.
The sin of an unteachable spirit. God gets our attention and we thank Him for
getting us out of the mess we are in. Then, we promptly forget why we
were in the mess we were in.
A few lessons ago, we discussed the
will of God. We all know the will of God in one area. It is the will of God to
learn from your mistakes. If left to ourselves, we often perpetuate our
disobedience by repeating the same mistakes again and again. It is called the
cycle of repetition. God wants to intervene in that cycle. So often He will
bring about in your life and in mine, trauma, real life-changing trauma
which is designed to bring us to our knees and to arrest our attention. God
wants to turn that cycle into a cycle of transformation. That is where the
foxhole and the hospital-type promises are made. The key is that we are much
more accountable after the foxhole, after the crisis. God has gotten our
attention. We have experienced a deeper level of grace. Often, we have made a
deeper commitment to Him.
It would be good to read Psalm 78.
Psalm 78 gives you the pattern that many of our lives follow. First, God would
bless the children of Israel. They would give Him token acknowledgment, but not
obedience. So into their lives He would bring trauma. He would give their
enemies power to subdue them. Then, they would cry out, "Lord, save
us!" He would. Did they write it down? No. Did they worship? Seldom. Did
they learn? Not often. Again and again in Psalm 78, God met their needs and
again and again they made the same mistakes. But that is not God's plan. That
is Plan B or C. God has a Plan A.
God's Plan A goes like this: stakes,
altars, and roadblocks.
Stakes - the driving of stakes in the ground
saying, "I did this. God did that. God wants me to learn a lesson and
never forget it." Some of you may need to take some time today after
having been reminded of an experience you had during a traumatic time in your
life when God really spoke to you and you said, "Lord, from this moment on
by Your grace, I shall..." Some of you may need to drive a stake in the
ground today. If you have a Book of Remembrance, take a page and write down
before the Lord what happened to your commitment and agree before God that you
will read this page on the first day of the month for the next two years. Or
make a tape recording and talk to the Lord and play it back on the first day of
the month for the next two years. As new things come into to your life, just add
to the page or the tape. On the first day of every month, because God has so
conveniently divided the year into months so that we can begin again each
month, stop and play the tape or read the page. This is your stake in the
ground. You could memorize a passage just to commemorate the power of God on
that occasion. Stakes.
The second thing God calls us to do is
build altars. Every time God did something for Abram, he stopped
and built an altar. You may think that Abram wasted a lot of time building altars.
No, he utilized a lot of his time building altars. That is God's plan. Every
time God meets a need in your life or teaches you a lesson, pretend you are
Abram and build an altar of remembrance. I don't mean a literal altar. You
could build a wall in your back yard. You take some bricks or a piece of wood,
and every time God does something meaningful in your life, take a new brick or
piece of wood and write the date on it alongwith what He did and add it to your
wall. If that’s too dramatic, find what you feel comfortable with and do it.
Just do something to remember and make it a point of worship. You could go out
in your back yard once a month and kneel down when no one is around and worship
God for those miracles. You could make a plaque that would commemorate each of
the miracles God has done in your life. When God provides a job for you, go out
and make a plaque that would identify what He did and when. You could make a
remembrance for when God provided a house, or God gave you a child you had
prayed for, or God created that ministry you had longed for, or God gave that
soul to Him that you had prayed for. Every time you pass your remembrance, it
serves as an altar. You can begin to pray and thank Him.
Lastly, God's plan is for roadblocks.
Once you travel down a country road and you find it is washed out, do you just
disregard that experience or that bit of information and try again and again?
Or do you not erect a sign that says, "Do Not Enter" or
"Detour" lest you or others compound your losses by duplicating your
mistakes? If God gets your attention and says, "Don't do that again!"
find a way to erect a roadblock. Maybe you can make a vow, a daily vow to God
so that you will never do that again. Maybe get a friend to help you. Maybe get
some specific passages to meditate on. Maybe you can get special counseling to
help you or a special agreement with God that deprives you of something you
want anytime you are tempted to cross that bridge again. Erect a protective
wall so that you don't become another Lot. That is God's way. Stakes,
altars and roadblocks. These are reminders to stop, reminders to
worship, reminders not to pass that way again. That was God's plan for Lot, but
Lot forgot. We are a lot like Lot.
Some of you, like me, in the heat of
deliverance in times past have told God some pretty heavy things. "Lord,
if You will just .... I will do this..." We may have said, "Lord, I
will go to the mission field or I will give up this." or "Lord, I
will never lie again." or "Lord, my thoughts will never be unfaithful
again." or "Lord, if..." Is it any wonder that God's heart is
broken when He looks down a few months or a few days later and there we are in