Juxtapositioning . . . .

juxtoposition  We traffic in the world of WORDS!

It might be a good idea to create a list of Bible characters which delineates the events, associates, relatives, and/or biblically descriptive comments.  I wish I had developed these kinds of lists sooner.

Abraham:

  • Ur of the Chaldees
  • Terah
  • Lot – Nephew
  • Sarai
  • Keturah
  • age 75 when called
  • died at 175 years old
  • Hagar
  • Isaac
  • Ishmael
  • 137 man army
  • Prayed for Sodom
  • Melchizedek
  • Haran
  • Friend of God
  • Egypt
  • Lied about his wife
  • etc.

 

I again began thinking about this kind of list when Warren Wiersbe made an interesting connection between one of these details in Abraham’s “life list” and Lot’s decision to leave Abraham (I know – “Abram”) and pitch his tent towards Sodom.

As a lesser point,* Warren Wiersbe makes this insightful connection about Lot, while preaching on the worldliness of Lot’s wife . . . .

 

And when the Rapture takes place, and we stand before the Lord, we’re going to have to confess this sin of wasted opportunities — Lot wasted his opportunity

 

The God of glory appeared to Abraham the Ur of the Chaldees and said, “Get out — Get out — Go over to the land I’m going to show you.”

 

— and so Abraham took Lot with him — And Lot had the privilege of walking with the man who was — the friend of God! . . . .

 

. . . . And there are some Christians here tonight who need to get serious about godly living.  We need to move away from that lie of compromise — and no influence — and no tent — and no altar — and no prayer — and get back with Abraham — the friend of God.  The friend of the world was Lot  The friend of God was Abraham.  Lot got what the world offered him Abraham got what God offered him — I’ll take God’s offers any day.

 

— Warren Wiersbe — The Women We Must Never Forget

 

When Wiersbe made that comment, using his vocal inflection to highlight the fact that Lot made a decision to not only leave Abraham but to leave a man who was a friend of God, it caught my attention.

When that happens, I go into analytical mode and ask — “What did he just do or say that caught my mind?”  While I knew that Abraham was called a friend of God, I did not connect it with Lot’s decision.  If I had the above list before me, which delineated some of the events, people, and words that marked Abraham’s life, that might have helped me connect Lot’s action to some or one of the other details.

It was the connecting of a fact about Abraham to Lot’s leaving of Abraham that made and drove the point which was being made. He put two ideas together, and it birthed a third thought.  It magnified the nature of the action of Lot.

We could call it, “Biblical Juxtapositing.”  Juxtapositioning involves placing two concepts, characters, ideas, pictures, or places near or next to each other so that the reader will arrive at another thought.  For instance, if one were to read an article on the crisis of alcohol in American life and after the last page of the article was a full page of advertisement which promoted a particular beer or liquor.

The aim of bringing the two items together is to have the reader or hearer add yet another thought which is related to both items.  For instance, if a person finished reading such an article and looked over at the opposing page, he/she might well say when looking at the advertisement . . . .

“Yea, there is a problem with alcohol in American culture, and we create and promote the problem!”

or

“That’s crazy!  — putting a full-page ad opposite an article like this.  I wouldn’t be happy about spending my advertising dollars with my ad placed where it is!”

Likewise, when you have Lot leaving the side of Abraham and on the other side of the page is a picture of Abraham which features the words – “A Friend of God” – signed The Lord!  Abraham was the only man who is ever called “a friend of God,” and that may well cause one to think — “Lot, you just made a bad, a foolish — in fact, an absolutely terrible decision!”

Now one could run with that juxtapositioned thought a little further.  However, as Wiersbe states in his message, the focus in on Lot’s wife, not Lot.

I might run with it a little more and even state the actual thought** that the juxtapositing should call up to the listener . . . .

. . . . and so Abraham took Lot with him — And Lot had the privilege of walking with the man who was — the friend of God! . . . . Now, you may be thinking what I am thinking — how bad of a decision is that!**

 

Just on the basis of the fact that Abraham was a friend of God — just on the basis of the fact that there was not another individual in all of Scripture of whom that is said.

 

Disregard that Abraham extended grace and kindness to Lot and brought Lot with him when he left the Ur — and perhaps brought him into his own family due to his brother’s death.

 

Beyond the basis that Lot’s success and wealth came from his connection with Abraham and on Abraham’s farm.

 

Disgregard that Abraham is clearly the elder of the family in an eastern culture.

 

But just the fact that Lot was connected with such a man – one who is deemed by God Himself — “my friend” — You know how wrong-headed, how bad, how foolish, in fact, how much of an absolutely terrible decision!

 

– just on the basis of that single fact concerning Abraham — Lot should have never entertained this solution!

 

If Wiersbe did not call up this fact about Abraham being a friend of God and position it next to Lot’s decision to leave, this insightful point might have been left unstated and lost.  Nevertheless, Wiersbe reveals his agile mind in both calling up and then in connecting that part of Abraham’s resume with the decision of Lot.

Dr. Wiersbe does that again in a different way when talking about Lot.

Lot:

  • Son of Haran
  • Abraham – his uncle
  • Married
  • Wife’s name never recorded
  • Two daughters / Maybe four
  • Two daughters married
  • Two sons-in-law
  • Pitched tent towards Sodom
  • City official
  • Live in Sodom
  • Delivered from a war against Sodom
  • Dragged out of Sodom
  • Visited in Sodom by two angels
  • Invited two “strangers” into his home
  • Protected them from the depraved of the city
  • Lived in a cave with his two daughters
  • Father of Moabites & Ammonites
  • Soul vexed by the sins of Sodom
  • “Righteous” man – II Peter 2:7
  • Not even ten righteous in the city
  • Only “four” escaped the city’s destruction

 

Do you see it? — Oh do you see it tonight? — Not only did lots wife have a worldly husband but she had a worldly home.

 

I’ve never been able to piece together all of the details — there’s some indication that they had two daughters who were married — it talks about his sons-in-law.

 

And the two daughters that weren’t married — or it’s possible the two daughters who weren’t married were going to marry these other boys – I don’t know.

 

I’ve usually felt– I’ve often felt– that there were two married girls and two sons in law — that’s four

 

And Lot & misses Lot — that’s six

 

And two unmarried daughters — that’s eight

 

You know if Lot had won his family — and two of his neighbors for the Lord– God would have spared Sodom!

 

That’s interesting.

 

Again, Wiersbe connects some of the facts concerning Lot’s family and puts it together with the fact that the city would have been spared were there ten righteous in Sodom.

TYPICAL Wiersbe!

At times, our minds do not entertain the many details of a biblical character’s life to see if there is an insightful connection that can be and ought to be made.  That is why I said it would be profitable to develop a list of details concerning the story of this-or-that Bible character’s life.  Such a list gives us the ability to entertain details we might easily forget at the moment.

Beyond that, we should think about doing that as we work our way through a message and continue to develop that agile mind which marks men like Warren Wiersbe.  Over time our minds will run down those rhetorical avenues.

We live in the world of words!  Our tool chest includes words, thought, ways of phrasing, illustrations, imagery, insights — all used to help our audience understand and feel the truths of Scripture.  We are going to be doing this until Jesus comes or our teaching & preaching ministry ends.  Develop some of these kinds of lists and add some of these techniques to your tool chest and become a better communicator!




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