If you've been a Christian for a while you might have heard the story of Abraham and how he was led from his home to a promised land. And if you're anything like me, you've accepted this story as a given without giving much thought to the difficulty of what God required of Abram.
As I get older, I'm more and more amazed by Abram's story. According to society's standards, here was a man that was living a good life. He had his family around him, he had a beautiful wife and a good source of income. From the point of view of most people, his life was established. And then one day God speaks to him and says the words “leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you”. We tend to look at this like it's such a simple request. It's easy to say “of course, God had spoken so who wouldn't just follow”, but let's take a step back and actually think about what Abram did.
- Firstly, we already know Abram would have had to choose to leave his comfortable and established a way of life.
- Secondly, he didn't grow up with his family worshipping Yahweh, so he might have had to consider how he would explain to his family that he was uprooting his life because this "new" God said so.
- And lastly, he was being told to go somewhere. God wasn't saying leave and go to Canaan or go down the road or go 1000 miles away. God said go where I will show you.
The equivalent in current society could be, imagine if after jumping through all the hoops of the educational system, finding a great job, establishing yourself in your career, finally getting on the property ladder and after settling into your marriage Someone said to leave everything you know and go somewhere I'll show you. What would you do?
Let me not lie, my natural response would probably be to keep on walking and pretend I haven't heard anything. Or if I'm feeling particularly spiritual, I might pray against the enemy who has come to steal, kill and destroy.
Or let's pretend that I'm a better person, so I might choose to listen and engage in conversation. I might respond with a follow-up question like "where do you want me to go?". At the back of my mind, I'd be thinking "this better be good if you're asking me to leave my home, friends, family, job and my house", but imagine if They responded with "I'll tell you when you get there, for now just pack up your things and leave". And here is where we go back to 2 possible reactions. The first reaction is laughter, raucous laughter. The second option back to the spiritual; not only will I start binding and casting, but I'll make sure to get started on a fasting plan.
This hypothetical scenario might seem far-fetched, but that's exactly what God asked Abram to do in Genesis 12. And Abram did it. He literally left his home with his wife and his brother and went to a place he didn't know. He went in the direction God gave him and trusted that God would tell him when he got to his endpoint. After deciding to obey God, Abram would have gone home and told Sarah to start packing her things. As she began packing, he might have gone to speak to their parents and other family members to tell them he was leaving, he wasn't sure where he was going, but the God they didn't know would tell him when he got there.
I imagine that throughout this process, he would have dealt with protests from his loved ones, but with each protest he continued to decide to obey God. He trusted God and obeyed. That obedience was the root of Abram becoming Abraham (the father of many). It was the beginning of Israel and the promised land that they would possess hundreds of years later.
For so many Christians, (I know it's true of me) we want God to tell us not only the destination but also everything that happens along the way, but that's just not how it works. We have to choose to trust God and trust that He will guide us into our land of milk and honey. We might not know where He is taking us and what He would have us do along the way, but my prayer is that in all things as He speaks may we obey.