Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do Not Hesitate

January 31, 2012

"When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, 'Up, take your wife
and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.' But he hesitated." Genesis 19:15-16a

I consider myself a hesitater. My spell-check dislikes the word hesitater, and frankly so do I. But when it comes to decision making I rarely respond with immediate action. I tend to drag my feet, refusing to take the next step until I've had a chance to weigh my options. I believe God's way is good and trustworthy. I sometimes hesitate to follow God's lead because I question whether I've heard Him correctly. Discretion is good. However, when it comes to following the call of God I believe Scripture reveals that hesitation can prevent us from receiving His best.

In Genesis 12:1 God says to Abram (who in Genesis 17 becomes Abraham), “Leave your native country, your relatives,
and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you."
Notice God doesn't tell Abram where to go, God simply instructs Abram to go to the land that He will show him.

At this point I would have composed a thousand questions for God. In which direction should I head?
Should I pack a snack? Will this be an overnight stay or should I plan for a week? or more? Will it be hot or cold when I arrive? Can I bring my flat iron?

Genesis 12 records no questions from Abram. Instead we read in verse 4, "Abram departed as the LORD had instructed." No questions. Not an ounce of hesitation.
Abram simply obeys.

Skip forward a few chapters to Genesis 19. In this chapter we find Lot, Abraham's nephew, residing in the city of Sodom. Two angels come to Lot and say, "Whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it" (Genesis 19:12-13). Unlike God's call to Abram the angels tell Lot exactly where to take his family in order to escape destruction. But Lot hesitates.

Abraham became the father of many nations. His descendants eventually inherited the Promised Land. God counted Abraham righteous because of his faith.

And Lot?

Lot helped form two nations . . . through his own two daughters (Genesis 19:30-37). Rather than escaping to the mountains as the angels commanded, Lot sought refuge with his daughters in a cave. Seemingly alone and feeling cutoff from civilization Lot's daughters concoct the idea of having relations with their father so that they could preserve their family line. The firstborn daughter bore a son who became the father of the Moabites. The younger daughter also bore a son who became the father of the sons of Ammon. Eventually both the Moabite and Ammonite nations were destroyed.

Lot's outcome may have had to do with more than just his hesitation. But I can't help but to consider how his lot might have changed if he had obeyed the Lord without delay.

For more than a year I have felt the Lord encouraging me to consider other publishing options with my first book, A Place of Peace. Realizing I would find it difficult to cancel my publishing contract I've prayed that God would make it obvious when I should act. A printing error on a recent order, one which the publisher failed to fully reconcile, helped me to recognize that now is the time. I consulted my contract yesterday and realized I have sixty days remaining until my contract automatically renews for an additional year (and I have to give thirty days notice of my intent to cancel). A few weeks of hesitation could have forced me to stay bound another year to an agreement from which I feel the Lord leading me away. In light of the story of Abraham and Lot I decided to obey right away.

Not to worry about the book. Though I may experience a few days of unavailability toward the end of March, the Lord has already provided another way for publication. Not with a big-name publisher but with a way which will still allow me to make my book available to those who need it most.

Where is the Lord calling you to go?

Do not hesitate.

Trust God to make it happen, for He who calls you is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

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