Devotional & Reflection

Week 4, Jan 2002

Genesis 13: See And Take
By Pang Hee Hung, Director & Trainer, Ezra Resources

Gen 13:10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. 14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."

A scholar with two Masters degrees had a Lexus. He found a car valet ticket at a hotel, saw an opportunity and took off with a BMW (The Straits Times, 18 Jan 02). It is most unfortunate how we see and take sometimes. Many who see what is "visible" with their physical eyes were led to buy Enron's shares at up to nearly US$90 per share just about a year before its collapse. This undiscerning seeing is not new. There seems to be a repetition of such seeing and taking particularly in Genesis.

1. Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and for gaining wisdom. She took it and ate it. It led to the fall of man (Gen 3:6).
2. The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and "married any of them they chose" (Gen 6:2).
3. The Egyptians saw Sarai was beautiful and took her to the palace (Gen 12:14-15).
4. Later King David saw Bathsheba was beautiful, sent messengers to get her and slept with her (2 Sam 11:2-4).
5. Here in Gen 13:10, Lot saw with his physical eyes.

Lot saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered like the garden of the LORD and chose for himself this plain. This plain was like the Garden of Eden - like a paradise restored. We do not know if this 'saw' was a 'covetous look.' But Lot saw and made a rational humanistic choice based on what was physically observable - missing the spiritual insight. The seeing and wisdom of humankind e.g. Eve, is in contrast to God who saw what was really good (Gen 1). Later, Jesus was to offer us the only proper way to seeing, eating and taking. It is to "take and eat; this is my body" (Matt 26:26), to feed on Him and be His disciples as we believe that He is the lamb who is the sacrifice for us all.

In contrast to Lot who seemed to see and grab, Abram let Lot choose first. This raised the possibility of a loss of the blessing of the promised land should Lot choose this land. Thus, there seemed to be a teasing motif of a possibility of losing the blessing - at first the near loss of Sarai to Pharaoh, then Sarai's barrenness and here, the land. It is not an easy matter, especially for Abram, to let someone else have the first right of refusal or first choice. Firstly, it is obvious that anyone who chooses first will get the best of the pickings. But Abram was a peace lover. Secondly, Lot should have acted honorably by deferring to his uncle to have the first choice. But Abram trusted in and surrendered to God to work matters out for him. Although prospects looked dismal, God did not disappoint Abram. God asked Abram to lift up his eyes.

Likewise, we may be in dismal circumstances - like Lot and Abram whose herdsmen were quarrelling because the land could not support both groups. There is friction and separation. God is telling us to "Lift up your eyes from where you are" and see His mighty work. How we see things can make a great difference in how we choose. When we see with spiritual insight, we realize God's fullest potential of what we choose (or more correctly, what He chooses for us) - although others cannot see it.

1. How discerning is our seeing? How have we been discerning or failed to be discerning in our seeing?
2. In what areas can our eye lenses be corrected to see matters from the divine perspective?
3. How has friction preceded blessing in our lives?
4. From what dismal circumstance is God asking us to lift up our eyes?

Tools For Reflection:
To refresh our memory, what is a move "eastward" symbolizing? (See devotional, Tower of Power, Week 1, January 2002).

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