Sunday, September 21, 2014

Learning When to Look

You've probably heard of the silly portrayal of how dogs are so easily distracted by things they see -- a portrayal often imitated when people are making fun of someone who can't focus?

I can be like that. And sometimes it's not so funny. Like when I see things that aren't wholesome to look at, or that cause my heart to covet, or that cause me to lose heart because I end up focused on something sad.

There are two instances about two inches apart on a page in my Bible in which people lift their eyes and look at something. And in one case it's a good thing, and in the other case it turns out not so good. And only today did I appreciate a lesson to be learned from the contrast.

In Genesis 13:10 it says, "And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar." Then four verses later, it says, "And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: 'Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are -- northward, southward, eastward, and westward'" (13:14). 

I'm intrigued by the fact that Lot may have looked at things prematurely -- before looking to the LORD -- to identify what would be best for him from his own limited perspective. But Abraham seems to have waited until the Lord spoke to him before he looked closely at what was around him.

F.B. Meyer writes, "Abraham lifted up his eyes, not to discern what would best make for his material interests, but to behold what God had prepared for him. How much better it is to keep the eye steadfastly fastened on God till He says to us! -- 'Lift up now thine eyes, and look...'"

I'm so easily distracted from the great big God I love to follow, that I'm like that dog, except that I'm more likely to suddenly say "Trouble!" instead of "Squirrel!" But now I hear God telling me to look at Him before I look at things around me. He wants me to first gaze at Him, waiting until He tells me to lift my eyes and look, because He knows I'll find it difficult seeing some of the things around me without His help.

And then when I lift my eyes and look, I'll see with the eyes of faith that come when one has been given divine perspective. I'll see things with hope and trust, because what I see will be combined with what God has spoken to me when my gaze was fixed on Him.

© 2014 by Ken Peters

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