“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;” Genesis 12:1-2
I have been spending some time reading and praying through Abraham’s life. Chapter 12 begins the story of Abraham’s call to leave behind his extended family and follow after God. I was reminded that this was not the first time Abraham heard the summons of God. Chapter 12 could be a renewed summons of God’s call upon Abraham’s life. It was on this occasion when Abraham became fully obedient. I have been at this place. Maybe you have been at this crossroad as well, when you finally made the choice to go full throttle for the Lord. There are several reasons to believe this was God calling Abraham to rededicate or renew his life to the journey of faith.
Chapter 11 indicates the Lord had originally called Terah, Abraham’s father, to leave Ur and go to Canaan. “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan…”
Now we don’t see the Lord speaking directly to Terah or Abraham in this text, but we do see God directing them to leave Ur for the purpose of going to Canaan. This indicates that some form of God calling Terah and his family took place.
In Acts Stephen reiterates this truth.
“Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ’Depart from your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ “Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God removed him into this country in which you are now living.” Acts 7:2-4
Did you notice the tense of these verses. It reminds us the Lord considered the call on Terah’s life to be also a call on Abraham’s life. It was a process that took an entire lifetime to fulfill.
All this suggests this was not the first time that Abraham heard God speak to him. No, the Lord had already spoken to Abraham and now the Lord was calling Abraham to rededicate himself to a life of faith.
Knowing this truth blesses me. I have not always gotten the Lord’s call and word right the first time. Like Abraham, if our heart wants to be obedient, the Lord will continue to speak and work with us until our obedience is sure.
We should avoid Terah’s mistake. He stopped short of God’s call. He settled in Haran. Terah never made it to the Canaan. Instead, he settled for what life had to offer short of what God promised. It was possible that Terah started a life of faith, but became a castaway. Terah wanted the blessings of God, like so many people. I have known many who started the journey of faith in good shape and with strong convictions. But somewhere down the road they settled for less than God ordained.
Even Abraham at first had a hard time believing God in the beginning. The truths gleaned from his life are that the life of faith is a process. When we begin the journey of faith, our ability to trust in God is not perfect. In fact, the journey of faith is really a journey into maturity. Abram’s faith matured over the years because his life of faith was a process.
Just as Abraham had his moments of struggling to trust God, so will everyone else who receives God’s summons. Just as Abram wanted to hold on to the comfortable, the familiar, and the worldly, so will we. The main thing is to stay in our process.
If you are currently in the process of following the Lord, stay in your process. Keep on, keeping on. Things may not look pretty today, but if you stay with God’s word, His word will eventually have its effect in your life.