“And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:7).
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward.” (Genesis 13:14).
Things had not worked out as Abraham had planned. Abraham had left the Ur of the Chaldees at the command of God to look for a city that had foundations whose builder and ruler is God. Abraham had been told by God to leave his kindred and to leave his father’s household and to go to the land of which God had told Abraham would be his.
By faith Abraham left the Ur of the Chaldees to look for a city. He traveled long distances across dessert land. He came to the door of his dreams at the city of Sichem. The Bible says he pitched a tent and built an altar halfway between Haran on one side and Bethel on the other side.
In this valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, the same place where Goliath had come with his threatenings to the people of God, we find Abraham. He pitches a tent there and he builds an altar there.
God had given Abraham three commandments.
- Leave your kindred – He did not
- Leave your father’s house – He did not
- Go to the land that I will for you – He went half way
Where Abraham was – was the most beautiful view of all of the Promised Land, but Abraham did not go all the way and obey God completely.
Some how we have the idea that if we obey God in a part of our lives that is all that is necessary. However, the truth is there is always a price to pay for half way obedience.
God says that the tithes and offerings belong to him. God says they are holy unto the Lord. The Scriptures make it clear there is a price to pay for halfway obedience.
If you cannot understand the commands of God do it anyway, if you say I can’t afford it do it anyway, if it doesn’t make sense do it anyway, if it’s not logical do it anyway, if you can’t see how do it any way, or if you can’t see your way through do it anyway.
God told Abraham to leave his kindred. He left everyone but Lot. But, preacher surely he ought to be admired for leaving everyone else?
Do not forget there is a price to be paid in the Bible for obeying God halfway. Abraham left his uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, and nieces. The truth is Abraham in halfway obeying God was disobeying God.
Dr. John R. Rice use to say God owns not just the tithe, but all the money in the billfold, the pocket the billfold’s in, the pants the pockets in, and the man in the pants. God knows nothing but total surrender.
Leaders who give halfhearted allegiance to God will never provide wholehearted leadership.
God loves you and because of that love God says you will never receive the most out of life until you totally surrender to the author of life. Total surrender to the will of God, the work of God, and the plan of God is still what God desires from his children and especially those who lead his children.
God told Abraham to leave all his kindred, but he took Lot. God told Abraham to leave his father’s household, but he took his father. God said go straight to the land of Promise, but he went to the door of the land and stopped.
Famine then came to the land and this man, Abraham, who had left his homeland by faith and followed God, now becomes fearful hurriedly heading south to Egypt. While in Egypt he became wealthy while in Egypt during the famine back home. He had his nephew Lot with him and Abraham leaves Egypt, but Egypt never left him or his.
Abraham brought Lot out of Egypt, but he never took Egypt out of Lot. Do not forget there is always a price to pay for halfway obedience. Abraham leaves the will of God because of money. I would rather be hungry in the will of God than full outside of the will of God.
Abraham brought Lot back and they went straight to Bethel. He and his nephew, a legal son, is a man when they begin to quarrel. They have too much and they begin to fuss over it.
Abraham and Lot do not get along and their employees do not get along with each other. Strife becomes even worse. God bless Abraham for he fold Lot you take whatever you want. He told Lot to choose what land he wanted and Lot took it. Lot choose the richest land and Abraham was left with the barren land.
Never forget when a leader halfway obeys God it always costs. There is a price to be paid. No leader is able to provide great leadership when he or she is thinking about themselves.
Abraham lost his botanical Gardens, but he kept his peace with God. Abraham lost the luscious Garden of Eden, but he kept his character. Now, Abraham is left with the barren land, nephew gone and a terrible price is paid for halfway obedience.
Abraham had a dream of the land being his and now it is no longer his for the best is gone. Abraham had a dream of sharing that land with Lot, his adopted legal son now that dream is gone. Abraham had a dream of being right in the center of God’s will, but that is all gone. Abraham’s dreams are all gone down the drain and there stands Abraham with his dreams shattered.
Suddenly God interrupts Abraham and says lift up your eyes again looking toward the north, east, south, and west. God said, “Abraham you may not possess it now, but that land is yours and to your seed as an everlasting inheritance.”
Then God said to Abraham, “Look from the place where thou art”. God is saying you can’t start again back in the Ur of the Chaldees, nor can you start in the Promised Land with all the blessings I promised. You have lost Lot, you have lost your father, and you have lost the best of the land, but you can “Look from the place where thou art”.
There are leaders reading this article who find yourself in the same situation and I tell you what God told Abraham, “Look from the place where thou art”.
You have not done your best, you have failed, you have missed the perfect will of God, pitched your tent toward Sichem, or maybe you didn’t go all the way to the land of Promise either? You find yourself having not completely obeying God. You stand with the spoils of partial obedience.
I am not speaking to adulterers, whoremongers, harlots, or alcoholics, but I am talking to God’s people who accepted a place of leadership and feel defeated because of some bad choices and decisions. You knew what God wanted and you set out to do it but stopped short. It is time to “Look from the place where thou art”.
The great men of God you admire so much did not arrive on the scene with great works or great reputations overnight. Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Curtis Hutson, and others made many mistakes while pastoring smaller works.
They did not throw in the towel, but rather learned from their adventurous youthful ministries. They supplemented and never substituted the events in their lives. The way to supplement and not substitute is to “Look from the place where thou art”.
Dozens of you are not what you dreamed of being, you have not done what you dreamed of doing, you have not claimed all the blessings and promises God gave you. But God comes right back to Abraham and says the same thing he said years before. God told Abraham years before, “Look to the north, look to the south, look to the east, and look to the west for it is all yours.”
Abraham has blown it. He has spent years in Egypt when he should have been in Canaan. He has not even lived in Canaan yet. He went to Sichem instead of Canaan. He didn’t leave his kindred for he took Lot, didn’t leave his father for he took Terah, and he did not obey completely for he went part way.
By the way because he did not obey God completely Egypt looked pretty good as a result. So, he went down to Egypt to make money. He lost his faith in God, his nephew, his father, his land, and his dreams are gone, but God said Abraham, “Look from the place where thou art”.
God was waiting for Abraham to quit going his own way so he could go God’s way. God is patiently waiting for Abraham to quit wandering around so he could have Abraham’s full attention again.
God did not say to him, “Look what you have done” rather he said, “Look from the place where thou art”. Thank the Lord my dear leader friend God looks at what we can do and not what we did not do. Thank about that?
God is saying, “I have not changed my mind. I still want to use you Abraham.” God says to Abraham with his shattered dreams, with the lose of his nephew, with the lose of his father, and the lose of his possessions, “Look from the place where thou art”.
God is saying not only to Abraham, but also to other leaders, “I’ve been waiting for you. Do I have your full attention now? Ok Abraham lets’ start from here at the place where you are. You can’t go back and start over. You have to “Look from the place where thou art”.
Abraham you cannot start in Canaan and you cannot start over in the Ur of the Chaldees, but you can start from the place where thou art. Abraham the land is not yours now, but it will be. Abraham you are not in the will of God right now, but you can be again. Abraham you did not totally surrender, but you can.
Our God is the God of the second chance. So, if you also have blown it and not totally surrendered to God as a leader it is not too late, “Look from the place where thou art” for God is patiently waiting for you too. God is waiting for you to give your full attention to him once again.
You did it once before. You did give him your full attention once before. When you quit wandering around decide to settle down and God will be waiting for you to settle down. God will say to you, “Look from the place where thou art”.
Ask Jonah if our God is not the God of the second chance, or ask Jeremiah, or ask Moses, or ask Joshua, or ask Elijah, or ask Peter, or ask Paul, or ask John Mark.
If God were not going to use you again you would not be breathing right now. As long as you are alive you can do something for God and God is waiting for you to give him your full attention.