Thursday, February 24, 2011

Genesis 12:1

Good morning, dear friends!

I am so excited to be in this chapter, at last! Here we meet our spiritual ancestor, our adopted spiritual father, Abraham! And he's not some unreal hero with whom we can't relate. He's as real and flawed as we are. He was by no means perfect, but he was called by God to do two things:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.

Do you see the two verbs in that sentence? God called Abraham to leave and to go. Leave what and go where?? We saw from the last chapter that Abram was living with his family in Ur, an ancient city in the southern part of Mesopotamia. Apparently it was quite the wealthy city of at least 200,000 - one which was a center of worship for many gods, but particularly devoted to the patron god of the moon. In Joshua 24:2, we read,

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods."

So Abram was raised in the heart of polytheistic idol worship. He was a city boy (according to Jon Courson, he was actually about 50 when first called), who was very comfortable in his neighborhood. Beth Moore, in her study, The Patriarchs, says, "Like many of us, he knew too little of the more to be dissatisfied with the less." (emphasis mine) But it was this environment that God calls him to leave. I'm hoping you are beginning to grasp the significance of Abram's choice to leave everything and everyone he knew to follow the one true God. You have to wonder what kind of supernatural encounter Abram had with God that made him want to obey the call. The Bible is not specific as to what Abram saw and heard. We know about the encounters that Moses and Isaiah and Paul had, but we're not given details about this one. In Acts 7:2-3, we catch a glimpse from Stephen's testimony:

Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran. God told him, ‘Leave your native land and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran until his father died.

He apparently saw our God in all of His glory! WOW! Beth Moore reminds us that "out of this holy confrontation monotheism was reborn in a heinously idolatrous world culture. This encounter was thus one of the most pivotal moments in human history." I love that!

Now, God also called Abram to go. Go where? "... to the land I will show you." He was being asked to step out, without a map or GPS, and to just follow God's lead! We know from the last verse in chapter 11 that they were being led to Canaan. And we also know that when they came to the very door of Canaan, they instead settled in Haran, and tarried there until Abram's father, Terah, died. So even from the get go, Abram delays going the full distance in obedience. However, God does not give up on Abram. He surely saw something in Abram that made Him choose Abram to become the father of nations. What was it? Was it because Abram was deeply spiritual in nature and had been seeking the true God daily since childhood? I like Beth Moore's take on this: "We have no biblical reason to believe Abram and Sarai were looking for another god, but God was undoubtedly looking for them." This is the key. We don't choose God, He chooses us!!! He is ALWAYS the initiator in this relationship we have with Him. However, our part is to BELIEVE God. And this is what Abram did. When God called him to leave, he did!

What is God calling us to leave? Old habits? A bad temper? A problem with alcohol? A bad relationship? A comfortable job? And where is He calling us to go??? Maybe you have done the leaving part, but your having trouble with the going ... Like Abram, we are being asked to trust Him and to step out of our comfort zones into something new - something more! This blog seems to be something like that for me!!! Let's not be afraid to follow! Ye gads! We only looked at one verse!!! This is such a great story - can't wait to continue!

Love to you all 

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