Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.”
Genesis 13: 10
King James Version
“By Beholding We Are Changed”
“What we are, that we behold: and what we behold, that we are! For our thought, our life and our being are uplifted in simplicity, and made one with the Truth, which is God.”
John of Ruysbroeck
What have I beheld in my life that has changed me?
“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the God head itself.”
Clare of Assisi
“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.”
Psalm 119: 36-37
King James Version
Several days ago, I was in a bookstore and nearby was a table displaying books about “pets.” One particular volume really caught my attention. It was a book that showed pictures of dogs and their owners. The point of the book was how dogs and the people who own them begin to look alike. Honestly, the pictures were hilarious. The author noted that he wasn’t certain whether dogs began to look like their owners or if owners began to look like their dogs.
What made my bookstore excursion even more interesting was that not far from the dog and owner pictures was another book that showed couples who had been married for quite awhile, and how the pair began to look like each other. I couldn’t believe some of the pictures. One could make a case that the similarity of a pair had a great deal to do with external features such as the way they dressed or cut their hair – but the end result was the same. Time together helped these couples to develop a “likeness” to one another.
Years ago, a teacher in one of my Bible classes kept saying, “By beholding we become changed.” At a young age, words like this didn’t mean a lot to me. It can be difficult to connect a rather abstract idea to the practicalities of life, especially when you are young and feel invincible.
But as we have looked at the life of Mr. and Mrs. Lot and their daughters this week, we have been given a clear picture and loud warning as to what happens to us when we behold the wrong things.
In our text today, we read how Sodom’s beauty and pleasure reminded Lot’s family of Egypt, a place where Abram’s entire family became wealthy and left, as we might say, with their “future taken care of.”
A life of ease and indulgence led Lot’s family to behold the tinsel of the earthly. The glitter blinded their vision and soon the heavenly had been blotted not only from their view but from their hearts. They beheld and were changed.
David, the Psalmist, found out way too late what happens when our hearts and our eyes linger on beholding what is earthly. David’s “beholding” of Bathsheba led him down a road that ended in the murder of an innocent spouse. I am certain there was a day in David’s life when he could not have imagined stooping so low as to commit murder in order to satisfy the longing in his heart from beholding someone else’s wife. However, after David realized how low he could sink, he asked God to “turn mine eyes from beholding vanity,” or as the Hebrew translation says: “cover” my eyes from “considering or approving” of “evil or destructiveness or wasteness.” What an irony that the once gorgeous Jordan Valley, that reminded Lot’s family of Egypt, ended up becoming a wasteland after the destructive fire from heaven cleansed the evil that had already destroyed the image of God in the people of Sodom.
As Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Never forget that what we behold can become so ingrained in us that we can’t see clearly and even if we physically walk out of Sodom, if our hearts are left behind, what we have beheld will take over and destroy us.
“We are mirrors of God, created to reflect Him. Even when the water is not calm, it reflects the sky.”
“If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with You! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with You. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to Your perfect goodness. You are all mine; when shall I be Yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to Your sacred heart. You have made me for Yourself, make me one with You. Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came.”
Francis de Sales
Dorothy Valcárcel. Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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