22 February 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. * 9Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13:8-12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,” a partial quote attributed by Shakespeare to Brutus. The remainder of that quote does not fit the narrative for today’s choices made at the ‘moment of decision,’ but the part stipulated certainly does. A decision made in the heat of anger, at a moment of greed, or at a moment when the battle depends on the movement of a single unit to the battle line makes all the difference. Such as the circumstances when Abram gave Lot a choice of which of two great parcels of land to inhabit. The land was overcrowded with both men and their many herds and flocks, so, Abram generously allowed Lot to choose between to parcels -and Abram would take the other.
Overcome with greed, Lot forgot the counsel of the 1st Psalm and walked in the wrong direction. Lot saw the fertile plain over toward Sodom and his greed overcame him in a moment of weakness. He knew what kind of wickedness Sodom represented, yet, he went up pitching his tent over toward Sodom. He eventually was found to be living in that wicked city and even sitting in the gates thereof. Lot disregarded his moral conscience and chose to compromise that conscience. So many in modern society are doing the same today.
Abram wound up with the seemingly lesser valuable of the two properties, but became heir to the greatest promise ever made to mankind – the promise of a Redeemer. Lot, on the other hand, Lot became heir to a destroyed city, a destroyed family, and was deceived to bear off-spring for his own two daughters. That which glitters is not always gold when we pitch our tent toward Sodom in this life.
There are many factors that will lead a man or woman to make bad decisions on the spur of the moment. In the case of King Agrippa, it was an over-invested pride in his position. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28) ALMOST! How tragic a difference ALMOST makes in one’s eternal salvation!
In the case of the rich young ruler, it was a love of money which is the root of all evil. “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” (Luke 18:22-23)
Others make no end of excuses for convenience’s sake as to why they cannot honor God and come to His Table: “And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (Luke 14:18-20) Please consider how frivolous are these excuses to by-pass the greatest gift ever granted! What Jewish investor would ever deign to purchase a parcel of ground before inspecting the same; or, purchase livestock without looking at their teeth; or, cannot attend to the most important matter of all life but instead must go home immediately to his wife?
Complacency and a low regard for his father, and his father’s God, caused Esau to carelessly sell his birth-right for a bowl of red porridge.
Hopefully, the readers of this devotion have not made a tragic decision on a moment of thoughtful abandon; however, God cares less about how faraway you are from Him than the direction you are headed, either back, or away, from Him.