From Fighting Against to Fighting For...is it possible?
We don't want to admit it, but the truth is that we are often the victims of our own disobedience. We face difficulties and trials due to our unwillingness to be in full submission to the command of God. In our efforts to be obedient to what God has commanded unto us, we have the tendency to add to our "thus saith the LORD" moments. We can even do so with the very best of intentions. It's not that every time we seek to be disobedient it's because we have a heart like King Saul. Rather it's as though we make these decisions that are very similar to Abram. We know what the LORD has said, but we make the decision to bring those with us who should have never come along to begin with. As the result of our decision we have now established a relationship on a journey to a specific destination. And yet, we discover strife, disagreements, and often different paths will have to be chosen.
In Genesis 12 we are told what the LORD specifically told Abram. Abram was instructed to leave his country, his relatives, and his father's house. And yet, Abram made the conscious decision to bring Lot, his nephew (yep, that would be a relative) along the journey. Both Abram and Lot were wealthy individuals who had obtained a massive number of livestock and men that worked for them. They both had something to offer one another and the only requirement for both was to keep peace among the two different camps. Sadly, this would not be the case and ultimately the strife, contention, disagreements, and arguments between the different sides would result in the separation of the two. Genesis 13 tells us how Abram would permit Lot the opportunity to make the decision to go in whichever direction that he determined would be best for him and his camp. Abram would go in opposite direction and with that one moment the two would go their separate ways.
At this point, it's very simple to point fingers at Abram with the simple fact that this separation would have never occurred had Abram obeyed the LORD and not brought Lot along the journey. However, let me implore your thoughts for a moment. We know that Abram had a very unique relationship with Lot and it was more like a Spiritual Father and Spiritual Son, rather than an Uncle and a Nephew. But the most important thing for us to recognize is that God permitted Abram to bring Lot. In other words, the LORD did not rebuke, reprimand, and punish Abram for doing so. So, although the instructions called to leave everyone and clearly Abram disobeyed...the LORD still permitted for this to take place.
Because of the fact that these two were permitted to move their relationship in a path that neither knew anything about, it causes my mind to wonder. Was there something different about the two of them? Did God see a potential in them both that neither could see alone? Why did the two of them have the relationship that they had before the disagreement/separation? What could have been had the two camps been able to get alone?
For sometime now I have had my thoughts consumed with the type of relationship that Abraham had with Lot. One not simply of family, but for a sincere love for someone who they have a disagreement and separation. It’s caused my thoughts to require a depth of purging in which I have questioned my own willingness to do for others what they may not be able to do for themselves. Would I be willing to fight for those who I may have been fighting with? Am I truly for the advancement of the Kingdom, or for my own? The disagreement & separation that occurred between the camps of Abraham & Lot were never so damaged to the point that Abraham refused to fight for Lot when his destruction was near. We can disagree & sometimes we can decide to choose another path, but may we never let our hearts fail to see the value in fighting for one another.
In Genesis chapter 18 the LORD appears to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre, while Abraham was at the door of the tent during the heat of the day. This fascinates me because the LORD didn't appear in the cool of the day, but at the hottest part in which Abraham was at the door of the tent. There are a multitude of prophetic types and shadows here...
1. The LORD appears: 3 Men (Representing Father, Son, & Holy Spirit)
2. The Oak: Cross, oaks of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3)
2. The Tent: a dwelling place or habitation
3. The door: Abraham is at an opening
In this Chapter, we see where the first thing that these men tell Abraham is involving the fact that Sarah would be pregnant with the promised son by that time next year. But, let us face our attention to what is said in verse 16-21: "Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” And the Lord said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” In one brief moment, Abraham was given the word about their son, and then his nephew (who was like a son) would soon be destroyed.
When the men arrive to Sodom in Chapter 19, Lot is sitting at the Gate of Sodom. The Gate...the place that receives and rejects! The moment that Lot saw the men he recognized that they were from the LORD. Even in the midst of darkness and Sin, Lot was still able to recognize righteousness. And there is a major key for me with all of this. Before the men arrived in Sodom, Abraham did what he could to find a way for Lot's life to be spared (along with his family). When the men arrived, Lot not only recognized that they were from the LORD, but he did his best to protect them in his home from the wickedness of the men of the city.
So what is this key? Glad you asked...People are worth fighting for! Not just people, but people that we have had a personal relationship. People that can still recognize the righteousness of the LORD in the midst of a wicked state of affairs. People that we once ran with, but disagreements, strife, and contention became the cause of separation. We aren't always going to agree. That's Life and that's just a fact. We aren't always going to run with the people that we are currently aligned with in this very moment. Sad, but true. People come and people go. The problem is that we have become a vicious people, hell bent on the destruction of others because of our disagreements. We have become so angry in the midst of our arguments that we have failed to allow our love for others to fight for them in the midst of destruction.
If we don't stop the bleeding within the Ekklesia we will soon see the destruction of people, but it won't be by the hands of those sent by the LORD. It will be because of our own wickedness from the result of our selfish ambitions to see others destroyed simply because we thought the LORD was for us when we advanced and they (those who chose a different path) fell by the wayside. When Jesus made a way for a criminal to be a part of the Kingdom, we have to be willing to ask how we are so unwilling to fight for those we know?