24 August 2011

“Come to a land that I will show you…” – The Story of Genesis 12.1

Put yourself in Abraham’s position. You are happily married, comfortable, surrounded by much loved family and friends, in a land full of all that you could ever need. And then God tells you to take your wife, and your brother’s son, and move away. But He doesn't tell you where to.

Would you move?

So many times I’ve read that story in the Old Testament without batting an eyelid or giving a second’s thought to how Abraham must have felt.

I wonder how long he thought about it before he went. If it was me, I’d take a pretty long time to decide. How could I uproot my life and family without being one hundred percent sure that where God was taking me would be better than where I was already?

The simple answer is that there was no way I could be one hundred percent sure.

And Abraham couldn’t have been either.

Sure, God made him rich and took care of him, but all of that came after he had taken up the invitation.

Later on in the Old Testament, when Moses had the tiresome task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promise land, there was an interval of time when the Israelites were stuck in the wilderness, living off whatever God gave each day.

And only after that did they get into the promise land.

In both cases, the parties involved had no choice but to put their trust and faith in God, and it is this idea that incites the fear of God in me.

Why? Because I realise that what was required of the characters in those Old Testament stories is exactly what God requires of us.

When God took Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan, He wasn’t just moving him geographically; He was moving Him spiritually too. Abraham had to be taken away from the earthly way of life and into a spiritual one, and on the way He had to learn to trust God.

When God took the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promise land, He wasn’t just moving them geographically either, He was moving them spiritually too. He was taking them out of Egypt and the slave lifestyle they had become accustomed to, and into a new way of life: His way. And on the way, they too like Abraham had to learn to trust Him.

In my weaker moments; when I’m tired, lonely, hungry and irritated, and feeling tempted to do things the way that the world does them, I’m reminded of God and Abraham. God’s way is better. His way is truth and life (John 14.6). The way of the ungodly is darkness (Proverbs 4.19). And whilst the way of the world may seem easier when I’m in those weaker moments, I need to be like Abraham, who, though unsure of where he was going, knew that he was with God and as a result went willingly.

May God give me the strength and grace to be like Abraham.

From the very first day that we become Christians God begins to pull us further and further away from what we know, i.e. the worldly way of doing things. It can be a struggle, especially in those moments when falling back into the ‘natural’ way of doing things seems so much neater. What we really need to do is trust God that His way of doing things is better. As He takes us away from the earthly way of doing things into the Godly way of doing things it can feel a little bit confusing; after all, why leave what you know for what you don’t?

GOD. Whilst He is so far from anything ‘normal’ to us, we can rest in the knowledge that;

He is all powerful. He is Good. He is Love. (Genesis 17.1/Job 36.22, Luke 18.19/Mark 10.18, 1 John 4.8/1 John 4.16)

These three statements are enough to persuade me. I’d rather have my life in the hands of someone who can do something about it than my own. So maybe right now I can’t see all that God has lined up for the future, or certain areas of my life, but knowing that He is God, I know that whatever He has planned, it’s the best thing for me. So I’m not going to worry or fret, but I’m going to trust God and do things His way.

So now when I am unsure of what’s coming next or how to cope with situations, I pray like this;

Lord, I choose to trust in You. You are all powerful. You are Good. You are Love. Yours are the hands I put my life in. I trust that in all things You are sovereign. I trust that You have the best plan for my life. Help me not to fret or worry, but to believe that You have everything under control. Amen.

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