GO WEST, YOUNG MAN
Gen.13:11 "Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other." In a previous meditation we had taken notice of the fact that Lot was a just, righteous man (2 Pe.2:7-9) but he too often walked according to the flesh, not the Spirit. When Lot made his ill-fated decision to choose Sodom, like Eve, he let the sight of his eyes outweigh better knowledge (Gen.13:10 c/w Gen.3:6) and was in principle not walking to God nor with God but from God. It is noteworthy that in so doing, we read here, "and Lot journeyed east." In a natural sense, the points of the compass have no direct bearing on the rightness or wrongness of a thing nor on the condition or destination of the soul: God gathers His redeemed from all directions (Psa.107:2-3). There is, however, an interesting spiritual significance seen sometimes in Scripture relative to the compass points. One such example is the frequency with which "going east" is commensurate with moving away from God towards error, deception and lies: a step in the wrong direction. The devil is the father of lies (Joh.8:44). When Adam sinned, he was sent out from Eden and the presence of the LORD. God placed Cherubims and a flaming sword at the east of Eden to bar man's way back to the tree of life (Gen.3:24). To move towards God, man would have to go west, not east. When Abram left Ur of the Chaldees, he "pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ha-i on the east..." (Gen.12:8). The name, "Beth-el" means "house of God." The name "Ha-i" comes from a word which means "place or heap of ruins." For Abram, therefore, going west meant going unto God; going east was going unto ruin. It appears that the tabernacle of witness which God commanded Moses to set up was done so with the entrance in the east and the Holy of Holies in the west. Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp on the east side of the tabernacle to bar entrance to "the stranger that cometh nigh..." (Num.3:38). The idea was that the Holy of Holies was the innermost compartment of the tabernacle where the ark of the covenant was housed and from which the unqualified were to be barred . It was there over the mercy seat of the ark that God would meet with only the High Priest of Israel on only one day per year (Exo.25:21-22 c/w Heb.9:1-7). Accordingly, then, the direction towards the place of mercy and communion with God was west, not east. When God became manifest in the flesh in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the wise men journeyed from the east to come to Him (Mat.2:1), unto Christ, "in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col.2:3). Vain and occult philosophers may look to the Orient, to the east for wisdom and knowledge. The workings of the rituals of Freemasons, for example, are such that a hoodwinked initiate moves from west to east towards the "Worshipful Master" (Mat.23:10 comes to mind here) who represents divine enlightenment. They are on a fool's errand, heading the wrong way. Wise men will always look west; they will look to Jesus Christ. A very revealing passage is found in Eze.8:1-18; Eze.9:1-11. The prophet Ezekiel was shown why Judah was being punished and brought under the iron hand of the Babylonians: primarily because the priesthood had corrupted the temple and God's religion by incorporating idols and pagan practices. Judgment invariably begins at the house of God (1 Pe.4:17). The abominations were manifold and the greatest was that "at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east" (Eze.8:16). When men turn their backs on God in order to indulge their own "bright" ideas, they think east, look east, go east. When those who call themselves by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ imitate old pagan customs by rising early on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox and face the rising sun towards the east, they are, wittingly or unwittingly, showing that they have turned their backs on God. Of course, this would also raise the question, "Just what do colored eggs and bunny rabbits have to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ anyway?" If one is convinced that God wants us to honor Jesus Christ's resurrection by observing a "holy day" (an extinct concept which died on the cross, Gal.4:8-10; Col.2:14-17), and somehow have the sun, eggs and bunnies involved, then let it be done in an appropriate manner: fry an egg sunny-side up for breakfast, run over a rabbit on the way to church, then worship Jesus Christ in spirit and truth (Joh.4:23-24) and call it "Wester." Go west, young man, go west!