The angels warned Lot to get out of the city before God destroyed it. Although Lot heard what the angels said, he still had to make a decision. Either he would choose to stay or choose to leave.
The scripture tells us that Lot lingered, which means he stayed in that place or in that condition longer than he should have. God told him that his time in that city was up, but he wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t let it go. He thought he had a little more time. (The word, linger, also means to remain present while gradually dying).
Because of the prayer of the righteous (Abraham), God showed mercy and saved them. He used angels to take Abraham and his family by their hands to bring them out of what should have destroyed them.
There are some things that we have been in for far too long and we need God’s help because we don’t have as much time as we think we do.
May God be merciful to you today. May the same angels that God used to deliver Lot and his family, be released in your life. May they take you by your hand and pull you out of what should be behind you so that you may see what is before you. May they pull you out of your past and bring you into your future. And may God heal and deliver you from the thing that you keep looking back at – the past hurts, past relationships, past disappointments, and past mistakes – so that it will not destroy you.
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for your life; look not behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed (Genesis 19:15-17).
I just don’t want someone who can touch my flesh, but I want someone who can touch my spirit also.
Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me…that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth (Isaiah 30:1-2).
The Assyrian army was going to attack Israel first and then Judah. God already knew what Judah was going to do. They were going to try to make their enemy, their friend. They thought they would have greater success if they joined forces with Egypt, but it was already prophesied that Egypt would fall to Assyria, which meant that when Egypt fall, Judah would fall also. God didn’t have to send a prophet to His people, but because He loved them, He warned them.
Judah was aware that they needed help, but they were asking for advice from everyone except God. They never asked God if it was okay to go to Egypt. They just made a decision without Him. They thought Pharaoh was the answer, but Pharaoh was really the problem. Egypt couldn’t protect them and in the end, they would only be disappointed and embarrassed because the Egyptians are only men, not God (Isaiah 31:3).
The reason why some of us don’t ask God for advice before we make certain decisions is because we are afraid He is going to say no. We are afraid that God is going to tell us something that we don’t want to hear.
Let’s say for example, you’re dating someone. Because this is the person YOU want to marry, you refuse to ask God for advice because you don’t want Him to tell you that this person is not the wife or husband He picked for you. You’ve already made plans and you don’t want God’s plan to change your plan.
Maybe you’re tired of being single and you think you’re ready for marriage now, but God sees what is going to happen in the near future if you make a decision without consulting Him first. What you think is going to be an answer just may become a problem. Remember, the person you are about to join yourself to is just a man or a woman. They are not God. They are not a Healer and they are not a Savior.
If you’re not sure about anything else, know that God loves you. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t warn you before you go in the wrong direction or convict you when you do wrong. He does care for you and He doesn’t want you to make a decision that will only bring you disappointment and shame.
Jesus is called our Counselor and God has placed counselors around us. I know Proverbs 11:14 speaks about the condition of a nation without wise leadership, but even in your personal life, where there is no counsel, you will fall.
Before you make a permanent decision, seek godly counsel, ask for advice and then follow the advice.
Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).
To those who have questioned why God chose them or why He wants to use them, this is your answer.
I didn’t wait until after you were born.
Before I even formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew all about you. I knew what you would do. I knew the choices (good and bad) you would make.
Before you took your first breath, I had already chosen you to be My (prophet, evangelist, son/daughter, spokesman, etc) to speak My word to the nations.
I did not make a mistake.
I chose you because I loved you and I have not changed My mind about you.
Yes, I know your past, but I also know your future.
Don’t use (fear, past mistakes, ‘I’m not good enough’, I’m not smart enough’, etc) as an excuse.
You can and you will go wherever I send you.
You can and you will say whatever I tell you to say.
You have no reason to fear for I am with you and I will defend you.
My words are in you because I have placed them there.
You will know what to say for you will be My voice.
This day I have appointed you to speak with My authority over nations and kingdoms.
My word – in your mouth – has power.
Let My word change your life so you can change the lives of others.
(Jeremiah 1:5-10, paraphrased).
After Moses read God’s instructions, laws and commands to the children of Israel, they made an agreement with their mouths. All that the Lord has said, we will do and be obedient (Exodus 24:7).
But their hearts were from far Him. Make us gods, which shall go before us (Exodus 32:1).
Throughout their journey in the wilderness, the Lord had to always remind them of what He said or what He did for them.
Don’t forget the Lord your God.
Don’t forget how you provoked the Lord in the wilderness.
Don’t forget the covenant I made with you.
Remember when you came out of Egypt.
Remember what I did to Pharaoh.
Remember how I kept you for 40 years in the wilderness.
Your clothes and your shoes didn’t wear out.
There were fiery serpents and scorpions in that great and terrible wilderness, but they didn’t harm you.
You never went hungry for I gave you fresh manna from heaven every day.
There was drought and no water, but you didn’t die of thirst.
In Judges 6, the Israelites were crying to God. The Lord had given them over to their enemies for seven years because they did evil in His sight. God allowed the Midianites to destroy their crops and to take everything that belonged to them – their land, sheep, oxen and donkeys. Prior to this, He warned them not to serve the gods of the Amorites once they lived in their land, but they didn’t obey His voice.
They forgot that they had cried to the Lord before, but God sent them help (Moses). He brought them out of Egypt. He brought them out of bondage. He delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians and their oppressors. He drove their enemies out and gave the Israelites their land. God set them free, but they kept returning to the things that placed them back in bondage.
I’m reminded of the man who had an infirmity for 38 years. After he received his healing, Jesus found him later in the temple and said, You are made whole. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come to you (John 5:14). For Jesus to tell him not to sin any more meant that he was in that condition because of sin. I believe this is what Jesus was really saying to that man then and this is what He is saying to us now:
I forgave you. Despite your past, I gave you a future. Remember what I did for you. I’ve shown you how good I am. I gave you another chance. You are whole now. Don’t go back. Remember what happened the last time. Don’t return to the thing that made you sick. If the Son makes you free, you are free indeed. Stay free. Stay whole. Show others what I’ve done for you so that they may know what I can do for them.
I know sometimes we wish that God would erase all the painful memories of our past, but I told the Lord recently that there are some memories that I don’t want to forget because if I forget it, I may repeat it.
May we always remember what the Lord has done for us.
[Scripture references: Exodus 13:3; Deuteronomy 4:23, 7:18, 8:1-18, 9:7; Judges 6:1-10; John 5:1-9, 14-15]
plan: a decision to do something; to devise a way to overcome difficulties; a step-by-step method
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).
He doesn’t think about you the way you think about yourself nor does He regret the decision He made concerning you.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
When God devised a plan, He included you in it. He didn’t leave you out of His plan.
And, what is His plan?
His plan is to save you.
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 (John 3:16).
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
His plan is to deliver you.
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (Galatians 1:3-4).
His plan is to heal you.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
His plan is to fill you with His Spirit.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
His plan is to use you to bring others to Him.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Your adversary is always trying to put what’s behind you, in front of you. He wants you to focus on the past, but God doesn’t care about your past. He cares about your future.
There is so much that God wants to do through you, but there is so much He wants to do in you – first.
Don’t worry about your plans (that didn’t work out), for His plan is better.
His plan is not to harm you, but His plan is to bless you.
Follow His plan.
Trust the plan.