PROXIMITY TO GOD

hand of God

Genesis 18 is an interesting chapter that details a conversation between Abraham and the Lord. While different interpretations have been given as to who the three men were, it is commonly understood that the Lord along with two angels appeared to Abraham in human form.

 

1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

 

The fact that the Lord appeared to Abraham and had a conversation with him is a testament to the righteousness of Abraham. His proximity to God made it possible for him to recognize the three men as heavenly visitors and give them due respect. In today’s world where there is instant communication and instant gratification, the voice of God is all but drowned out by the cacophony of the world. Man finds it difficult to silence himself and separate from the world enough to be able to listen to that still small voice of the Lord within him. There is always so much to think about, to see with your eyes, to be distracted and to be gratified through your senses that man hardly finds the need for God nor bothers about developing a proximity to God. Abraham did not live in a world too different from ours. Living in close proximity to Sodom and Gomorrah, where sin abounded, he could easily have fallen prey to similar temptations. Yet, he valued proximity to God more than anything else in his life.

 

17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

 

To one who lives in close proximity to God and who values his relationship with God above all, the revelations from God are not withheld. The prophetic aspect of a Christian’s life should not be a surprise. He senses events to come as life unfolds and sees danger that others don’t. He is always one step ahead of the others and bases the decisions of his life not on what he senses in the world around but through spiritual insight gathered from a life lived in union with God. Grounding his decisions on faith and an overriding desire to please God above all else, his life turns out to be quite unorthodox, but also highly productive. Imagine Noah, warned of danger, believing God and embarking on an ark-building project, ridiculed by one and all, yet having the last laugh.

 

18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

 

To one who painstakingly follows the Lord and honors him above all else, blessing will follow. God is no man’s debtor and the smallest of effort by man to live for God and honor him will not go unrewarded. V19 is a beautiful demonstration of how predestination and man’s responsibility work together in harmony in the Christian theology. Anyone who preaches one at the expense of the other is in error. God chose to bless Abraham but we also see a responsive Abraham taking the initiative to lead his family and progeny to obey and honor God. Never stop rejoicing in the fact that God delights in you and chose to richly bless you. Yet, also never stop constantly living in the realm of obedience and painful self-denial.

 

‘Proximity to God’ may be one of the least valued commodities in today’s world, yet for one who has experienced it, nothing else comes even close.

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