Word of the Month

Do not hesitate

July 2006

The Holy Scripture relates the story of Lot’s rescue from Sodom. According to God’s will, Sodom was doomed to destruction because of its sinfulness. Two angels came to Lot and told him to flee the city. Lot must have recognised these two men as messengers of God. We can see that he believed their message and definitely understood that this city was to be destroyed. He even tried to point this out to others around him. He told them: “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But they did not heed his words. It says that they thought he was joking. The angels, the messengers of God, urged him to make haste and pressed Lot with the words: “Hurry! … or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” Then it goes on to say: “When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them” (cf. Genesis 19: 14-16, NIV). Here the Lord, through the angels, saved Lot and his family from certain death.

“When he hesitated” – this is a typically human attitude. Why did Lot hesitate? After all, he was apparently convinced that the angels were telling the truth and that the city’s destruction was indeed imminent. Nevertheless, the human element gained the upper hand and he hesitated. When things become serious, people are inclined to shy away, to wait and see if there might be an opportunity to delay after all. The word “hesitate” does not appear often in Scripture, but in this passage it very appropriately describes a human way of acting.

The moment we recognise something unpleasant, let us make haste to flee from these circumstances that do not please God: let us flee from sluggishness and superficiality, from unbelief, from strife, from irreconcilability. But then at times the human element takes the upper hand and we hesitate too long.

I call upon all of us: do not hesitate! Let us grasp the hands of God’s messengers in this time, the servants of God. God still reveals Himself through them today – through their word and care of our souls. All we need to do is act quickly, but it is in our hands. Let us allow ourselves to be led and guided, and when it comes to the things that serve to our soul’s salvation, let us not procrastinate. Let us not think: “Perhaps we can still manage to put things off a little.” That may well be a human reaction, but the divine way of acting is to put into practice what we have come to recognise – not to hesitate, but to act accordingly.

Abraham did not hesitate. When he was called upon to sacrifice His own son, the son of promise, he could easily have hesitated, looking at it from a human perspective. After all, it was contrary to all reason that Isaac should have been sacrificed. What possible sense could this make? But it says very clearly in the Scripture that Abraham rose early the next day and without reservation did what the Lord expected of him. It was only at the very last moment that the angel of the Lord intervened and prevented Abraham from sacrificing his own son (cf. Genesis 22: 1-12).

Abraham’s example makes it clear that we should not procrastinate and think: “Perhaps there will be another opportunity sometime in the future …” No, let us act today, right away, immediately – that is the way of blessing. After all, who knows if we will ever have the opportunity to put an intention into practice? If we hesitate, if we procrastinate, it could well be too late. Let us act wisely and utilise our years on earth as a period of grace, as a time of action. As New Apostolic Christians – as children of God – let us be those who also practise what they hear from the Spirit of God. Let us be doers of God’s word!

(From a divine service by Chief Apostle Leber)