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Sermon of the week

Sojourners in this life

Because opportunities to attend services may be limited for several weeks, the newspaper has invited local clergy to submit sermons for publication here.

Strassburg Baptist Church

Every day life is a series of choices. Almost everything we do has more than one possible outcome.

From the daily drudge to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, life is a combined result of our decisions. Even so, it can feel that we are getting pushed along with the herd. It can seem that we have little input into what is happening.

As you read the Bible, perhaps you have noticed the times it encourages the reader to watch, pay attention and be aware of what is going on around us.

Our choices do matter. One example of this truth is found in Genesis 13. This account contains the story of Abram and Lot and the choices they made. A choice was made to sojourn.

To those observing Abram’s life it must have appeared that he had lost his senses. Even Abram could not give a good reason for his own actions other than God said so. When we read the Bible we find these men continuing their sojourn south out of Egypt.

After traveling many days there is evidence that the daily grind was beginning to take its toll. Genesis 13:7 tells us, “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.”

Abram decided it was time for Lot to choose for himself. Whatever Lot’s choice was to be, Abram would not stand in his way.

Genesis 13:8-9 says, “So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.’ ”

During this time of stress and discomfort, Lot made choices that changed his life forever.

Lot’s decision was based on ease, comfort and self desire, not based on the directions and calling of God.

Abram chose to let God be in control. Genesis 13:11 says, “Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram.”

Lot was not very interested in much beyond his own needs and wants. As long as things were fairly normal and reasonably tolerable he joined in with the sojourning travelers. When life became difficult, Lot chose the “easy button.”

Genesis 13:12b-13 says, “Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD.”

Some have said Lot chose to have possessions so he gave up God. I am not sure this is correct as Abram and Lot had great wealth when God called them on their journey.

What was a bad thing was when Lot made the choice to let his possessions “possess” him to the point that he was willing to set God aside. This is in contrast to Abram who continued to have a sojourner’s frame of mind. He would follow as God led.

If God directed him to the left he would turn. If God directed to the right, that would be his new direction.

Gen. 13:9 says, “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”

Abram chose based on God’s calling in his life. He was content to place himself in God’s care without knowing what the end would be.

Genesis 12:1 says, “Now the LORD had said to Abram, ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

Consequences resulted from the choices these men made. To Abram the Lord gave blessing and rest from his sojourning. We read in Genesis 13:14-17, “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are — northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”

Things turned out differently for Lot. Later in Genesis 19:15-17 the Bible says, “When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.’ And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.’”

Lot’s decision, his choice to put a halt to trusting the Lord and take control of his own life brought trouble.

His choice backfired on him and he paid a heavy price for ignoring the Lord. In these scary and confusing days we live in, it is easy to believe that we are being swept along with little ability to influence the outcome.

The examples of Lot and Abram illustrate that our choices do make a difference. God wants to be included in your life. God loves you so much that He did something about it. God chose a way to enter into your daily living and not remain distance from you.

The Bible tells us in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The most important choice you will ever make is about your relationship with Jesus Christ. The account of Abram and Lot emphasizes the importance of choosing to follow God and His directions in life. Will you trust what Jesus did on the cross when He died for you? His death paid the penalty of your sin. Jesus took your place of punishment for what you did to offend God.

God in His goodness allowed Jesus to become the bearer of your sin and be the means of your forgiveness.

God wants you to believe this and put your faith and trust in His Son Jesus.

John 3:18 states, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Today I invite you to trust what Jesus did when He died on the cross. He died and was buried, then rose again from the dead three days later. Today if you trust in Jesus, He will forgive you of your sin and bring you into a right relationship with God. This is the best choice a person can ever make.

Last modified May 14, 2020

 

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