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).
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.
Yesterday morning, I put some of my daughter’s belongings on the floor. When she came into the room, she just stood there like she couldn’t get to the other side. From where I was standing, it looked simple and easy to me. She had a choice to either go around it or go over it, but maybe she couldn’t see this from where she was standing. (Sometimes you have to change your position). When I got tired of her standing there, I finally said, There is nothing stopping you.
Apostle Paul knew what he used to be. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man (1 Timothy 1:13). And he knew that people didn’t forget what he did. Lord, these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you (Acts 22:19). He even consented to Stephen’s death, but he didn’t allow what he used to be to stop him from becoming what he would be.
He was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5), very intelligent and didn’t lack knowledge, but God didn’t want him and He doesn’t want us to be people who study the word, but yet refuse to become what we read about. You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify of me yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:39-40).
To many, Paul was a horrible person, but God knew that what he did was out of ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13). Inside of Paul was the wheat and tares and God allowed them to grow together, but at the right time He showed mercy and separated them. People may have counted him out, but God counted him faithful, putting him in the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12). After all the awful things he had done to God’s people, Paul didn’t think he deserved to be called an apostle, but by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Are you still trying to figure out what kind of life you should live? Well, God wants you to live a life that pleases Him and that will reveal His Son to others. This is why it’s never good to compare your life with the lives of others or to wish to be someone other than who God created you to be. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us that whoever compares themselves to another are without understanding and are not wise. There is nothing wrong with desiring more in life, but those things that you are lusting after doesn’t make you great. You will never find greatness outside of you because it is already in you. Greater is He that is in you.
Comparing can make you feel bad about yourself. It steals your joy. It makes you feel like you’re losing while everyone else is winning. When you don’t know what you should be doing, it’s easy to become angry with those who are doing. Instead of trying to become what you think people want you to be, ask God the same question Paul asked Christ – What will you have me to do?
Comparing also reveals how ungrateful we are and that we really don’t like God’s plan for our lives, but despite how you feel, God still loves you and although you can’t see it right now, His plan for you is good. It’s all about how you see yourself and this is the area that the enemy attacks a lot of us in. He wants you to see yourself as a grasshopper even though there is a Giant in you. You may think that you are a mess or just like my daughter, all you can see is a mess before you, but God can turn your mess into a message. He will give you grace to get to the other side and He will even tell you in bits and pieces how to get there. When Paul asked Jesus what he wanted him to do, Jesus didn’t tell him everything at first. He told him to go to the city and once he obeyed that instruction, then He would tell him what to do next (Acts 9:6). Don’t think God isn’t doing anything. He is doing what He said, but He’s not doing it all at once. He is doing it in stages. Stages are steps of a process. Each step is maturing and developing you and proving you trustworthy and faithful to the call.
Just like Paul, God wants to make you a witness for Him. Do you remember the woman at the well? Many of the Samaritans believed because of her testimony. Yes, the enemy will send things to stop you from becoming what God separated and called you to be, but even what he sends can’t stop you. Sometimes it is what you think about yourself that stops you, but think yourself victorious. You may have failed in certain areas, but you are not a failure. Let your past (even the tares) be a testimony to many that God not only changed you, but He can change them, too. You have a bright future ahead of you because the blood of Jesus has separated you from your past. You know what that means? Not even your past can stop you! So let us thank God that He didn’t erase our future because of our past, but that He erased our past because of our future.
There is nothing stopping you.