‘Arise!’ The word has stuck in my head and it won’t get out. Arise! Get up! In other words, stop sitting, stand up and prepare for action. It is time to have a change of activity. Get up and get ready for movement. So I decided to go through the Bible looking at the various occasions when God came to His people and said, ‘Arise.’ The very first one occurs in Genesis.
‘Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto you.’ Gen 13:17 KJV
Lot, the man Abram had regarded as a son and lavished his love and experience on, had just walked out of Abram’s tents and gone his own way for good.
Can you imagine the turmoil of emotions within Abram at that moment? The overwhelming sense of loneliness that engulfed him at that moment? Even the sense of futility and meaninglessness of all of existence and human effort?
At that point God enters in to speak to Abram. What comfort that must have brought to Abram to know that he had not been abandoned; that the Unshakeable, Indestructible, Faithful Creator God was with him to give him a hope, meaning and purpose in moving on.
God starts by telling Abram, ‘Lift up your eyes now, and look from the place where you are…’ Lift up your eyes! Abram don’t hang your head in defeat and despair. All is not lost. I am with you. I am your God, I own all the lands and the entire universe. What has been taken from you, I can return to you a thousand times over. You’ve lost a companion, a man whom you regarded as a son, don’t lose heart. You lost one? In time Abram I will so bless you that your progeny will be as numerous as the dust on the earth. Arise Abram! Come on, take a walk, explore your inheritance.
So Abram arose from the land of Canaan, and he moved to the plain of Mamre. Interestingly, ‘Canaan’ means ‘lowlands or humilation’ and ‘Mamre’ means ‘strength, vigour, fatness.’
Maybe today you are sitting with your head bent low, unable to see the way forward, feeling dejected and lonely, wondering where God is in all of this. He’s right beside you. And he speaks to you as he spoke to Abram – ‘I am with you. Arise, let’s move from this valley of dead-ends and humiliation to the place I have prepared for you. A place of strength and vigour and completeness and fulfilment. What have you lost? I will restore it you a thousand times over. Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are.’