Waiting For The Promise
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 28 January 2022
So Abram leaves Egypt in disgrace and he returns to Canaan, the land God has promised him and at Bethel, Abram begins to rebuild his relationship with God. And Lot (Abram’s nephew) is with him. But by this time, Lot had done rather well for himself and he now had flocks and servants of his own. It became clear that the hill country they were living in could not support both Abram’s and Lot’s herds of sheep and livestock. And so Abram called Lot to him and together they surveyed the hills of Canaan and Abraham said to Lot, “It is time we separated - if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left.”
So Lot looked around him. But he doesn’t look right and he doesn’t look left. Lot looks South to the fertile plains of the Jordan valley and the lively thriving cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and he thought how easy life would be on the plains and in the cities and how rich he might become. It all seemed very tempting.
The story reminds us of another story that also takes place on a mountain: Jesus, who sees all the kingdoms of the earth lying at his feet while a tempting voice says to him, “This is for you, you can have it all. You only need to kneel down.”
Lot is tempted. There lie Sodom and Gomorrah, cities well-known for their corruption and their sinfulness against God, but also for their wealth and easy living. And Lot could not resist. He said to Abram,
“You can have the hill country of Canaan, I shall go to those cities down there in the plain.” And so Lot turned his back on the land God had promised and settled in the city of Sodom leaving Abram behind, to walk alone with his God.
But after Lot had left, God said to Abram, “Lift up your eyes and look north and south east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” So Abram looks around at the arid rocky plains and undulating hills. There isn’t much to see – but Abram looks with the eyes of faith and sees a land full of promise – a land full of hope. And he is thankful.
Jesus once said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
It is sometimes tempting, like Lot, to choose the way that looks easy or the way that looks the most profitable, or the way that gets the quickest results – to choose the wide gate and the broad road. But this story encourages us, like Abram, to look at life with the eyes of faith, to enter the narrow gate, to walk the narrow road and to be willing to wait for God’s promises to come to fulfilment.
This lovely prayer by St Francis of Assisi, sums it up perfectly …
Help us to live this day … quietly, easily
To lean upon your great strength … trustfully, restfully
To wait for the unfolding of your will … patiently, serenely
To meet others … peacefully, joyously
To face tomorrow … confidently, courageously.
Song: Wait for the Lord (Taize)
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