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God's Inconvenient Will

God’s Inconvenient Will

When was the last time God called you to act? When was the last time you were willing to let Him shape and guide your day to accomplish His purposes?

Often times, we get so caught up in our “To Do” lists, that wGenesis 14 Mape hardly have time for “inconvenient” moments that require soul flexibility to lovingly serve others.

It might be a moment when our child makes a theologically off-base statement that would be easier to dismiss or ignore, rather than stop and explain.

It might be a time when a slight comment like “help me understand what you’re saying” turns a conversation at church from a quick “touch and go” chat into a 45 minute heart-to-heart discussion.

It might be a time when a phone call in the early evening (when the person is actually home) yields a far deeper, though far longer, conversation than a short message on their answering machine at 2 in the afternoon.

There are times each day—each night—each week—when we have the opportunity to serve God versus serve self. Often times, these are moments of inconvenience.

I saw this principle this morning when I was reading in Genesis 14. It’s an account of a dicey situation where Abraham (then known as Abram but I’ll just call him Abraham for simplicity) was called upon to rescue his nephew named Lot. This whole account is fast-paced and laden with obscure geographical landmarks. Unless we read Genesis 14 with a map in hand, we’ll miss the practical lesson for our lives today. But have no fear, I’ve included a satellite map here to help us appreciate the action!

In Genesis 14, verses 1 through 3 list the enemy forces and explains how they converge in a region called the Valley of Siddim (“A” on the map). The Valley of Siddim is a flat, dessert-like area south of the Dead Sea. It’s near to where Lot lived, which also happened to be a city called Sodom of the infamous “Sodom and Gomorrah”.

As the events unfold, we find out that these enemy forces capture the man named Lot. Now, Lot was Abraham’s nephew and somehow news of this event finds its way to Abraham who was living in a town called Hebron (“B” on the map). Verse 13 tells us just that it was the “Oaks of Mamre”—but here’s where a good map helps because they’ll also call that place Hebron.

Now at this point in story, we begin to see how God’s call for us can at times be inconvenient. If you look on the map, you’ll see that Hebron is pretty far away from Sodom. But what’s worse, Lot’s captors have actually taken him far north, up towards Syria (“C” on the map).

If Abraham is going to act, it’s not going to be convenient. Think about what a journey like that would require. Abraham was looking at several days of travel. That probably meant a day or two for preparations—probably various challenges for his equipment and expenses for bringing servants and food, etc.  Plus it was going to take time to enter the coordinates into his GPS, to get the PriceLine hotel rooms bought, etc! So clearly, Abraham’s rescue effort was definitely not easy.

As the biblical account goes, Abraham and his men went north and went to the hill country of Dan (“C” on the map). There Abraham divided his forces at night and snuck up to the enemy. The enemy fled out towards Hobah which is beyond Damascus ( “D” just off the map). This was not an easy place to go--the whole region is mountainous and sparse.

But thankfully, by God’s grace, Abraham defeats the enemy, rescues Lot and returns all the way back towards home (“B” on the map). There he goes to the Valley of Shaveh which was near Jerusalem (which was called Salem back then). The king of Salem was named Melchizedek and comes out to meet Abraham. There Melchizedek blesses Abraham and the story wraps up (by the way, this Melchizedek was an important dude for understanding how Jesus is our High Priest presenting His own life as an atonement for our sins).

But going back to our story, if you read this account without a map, it might seems to just be a quick route—the enemy captures Lot, Abraham goes and rescues him, and then they all return home to laugh and talk about it. Instead we see that Abraham went to great efforts to save his nephew.

This all points to the principle that there are times when God calls us to do hard things. Life in Christ is not always easy. There are challenges on God’s path for us.

But we have to remember, that those challenges don’t necessarily mean that we are out of favor with God. Indeed, there may be times when those challenges are exactly what God has in store for us! God’s will is God’s best for us, but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy, clear and pain-free. If we find that following God is hard, we must remember that Jesus told us that if we are to be His disciples, we must be willing to pick up our cross and follow Him (Luke 14:27).

So my friend, what is God calling you to do? What changes does He want for you? Are there preparations to make? Are there mountains to climb? Are there roads to travel?

Look to your own situation and ask yourself, “How do I approach this with the faithful righteousness of Abraham?” Prayerfully seek to honor God in all that you do and then step out and see what God does in and through you, for His glory and your joy.

Well, those are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Grace and peace,

Russ

Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...

Website: www.thegracetabernacle.org