In a few moments I am going to reference four other scripture passages. Before doing so I ask that you note these two vital directives God gave to Abram in this conversation. The first is this: “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are…”
The critical reality for all of us is not so much where we presently are; not so much what our present position is. Far more important is what we see from where we are – what we see beyond where we are, what we behold past present experience and position. That is the far more critical issue.
Note also that Abram was not instructed to see through someone else’s eyes but his own. Neither was he instructed to see from someone else’s position but his own. In other words you are not responsible for what I see or the place from which I see what I see. So stop judging me. And I will strive to practice the same discipline with respect to your eyes and your position. It is enough that I lift up my own eyes and that I look from the place I am in. I am not responsible for your eyes and your position.
The second vital directive came at the end of the conversation: “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth…”
Please note the relationship between the eyes and the feet. First you see it and then you walk through what you see. The eyes lead the feet; vision directs the steps. To know what a person is seeing simply watch where their feet go.
What we can conclude based on these two directives is that regardless of where you are and regardless of how you got where you are – the journey that brought you there – you are not at the end, there is more (much more) beyond. And I will never tire of reminding you as well as my own soul on those dark days: the best is not behind us; it’s in front of us.
Returning to the first directive note what God said: “…for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.” It seems simple enough: you get what you see. But (and this is vital) you don’t get it because of your seeing but because of the promise of God. We do not create our future by seeing but we need to see the future God has created.
The final thing to note regarding this first directive is that what you see is about more than just you – it’s about those coming after you. What you see is going to influence the generations coming after you.
We see this same promise associated with the second directive: “…I will give it to you.” I said a moment ago that we get what we see and certainly we do, but only as we walk into and through what we see. You see it. You walk it. God grants it.
Note what Abram did at the end of this conversation – the first three words of verse 18: Then Abram moved…’
This is where many are in this house this morning – in fact it is where we all are. First let us acknowledge the place where we are at. I do not mean physical position but the place where our soul is at. Be honest rather than religious regarding the true state of your soul.
Second as we do this our eyes will begin to lift and we will begin to see more than our own soul; we will begin to see beyond present position.
Third this growing vision of realities beyond the present state of my soul will affect my feet and like Abram I will find myself moving in a new direction – walking into and through what I am seeing. And don’t ever forget this: With each new step you take you will see more of the promised inheritance.
This brings me to the final consideration of this message and to those four scripture references I mentioned on the front end of this message.
Gen. 17: 8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Gen.26: 2 The Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
Gen.28: 4 May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
Ex.6: 4 "I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned.
What I want to point out is the relationship between the word sojourn and the promised inheritance God spoke to each of the patriarchs and to all Israel. Sojourn is an interesting word. Among many other things it means to travel in, to live in, and to walk through.
Pull it together and this is what we have: To travel in, to live in, and, to walk through means you have experienced something. We can have the promise of an inheritance; even the legal documentation of an inheritance but an inheritance is not possessed apart from living in it experientially.
I can tell you with absolute Biblical certainty that our true and only inheritance this morning is Jesus Christ our Lord. But with equal conviction I can also tell you that growing or expanding in the possession of our inheritance cannot be divorced form ‘the land of our sojourn.’
In other words every detail of the journey – the good, the bad, the ugly – is not without meaning and significance in relation to the experiential possession of our inheritance – Christ.
Everything – and I do mean everything – I have walked through in my 64 years has been about one single reality: expanding and enlarging my actual personal experience of God’s promised inheritance in Christ. If we properly understand what Abraham and the patriarchs and all Israel walked through in gaining possession of their promised inheritance we should conclude that none of it was about loss, none of it was about what the enemy was up to. It was all about and only about what God was up to in preparing a people to possess a promised inheritance.
Whatever you have walked through, whatever you are presently walking through – ultimately it is all about a greater and greater experiential possession of the fullness of Christ our true inheritance.
Let us continue to lift up our eyes. Let us continue to walk through the “land of our sojourn.” And in doing so let us continue to understand the real significance of the journey – we are actually setting the measure of our possession of the promised inheritance.
I conclude with this: For the generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all o0f the various enemy tribes were firmly fixed in the land. These three patriarchs lived in their presence and walked through the land in their presence.
Then came Joseph, and through him Abraham’s descendents would go into Egypt. There they would become a great nation.
About five hundred years after Abraham walked through the land Moses would appear, and then Joshua would come on the scene. Finally in the sixth chapter of the Joshua record the walls of Jericho fall and the possession of the inheritance begins.
Every one of those victories of the Joshua generation has to be firmly tied to a journey made by an old man five hundred years earlier.
Where is your inheritance this morning? It is where you are walking. You can focus on the enemy in the land or you can understand that Jesus is where you are and being where you are is opening you up to a greater realization of Himself.
We have a saying: The devil is in the details. I have another saying: Jesus is in the details.