In our last two stories, we get a glimpse of God’s command to Abram to leave his country and his father’s household and go to a country God will show him. We also teased out God’s promise to Abram in Genesis 12:2, which is a stark anthesis to man’s desire to make himself great. So this week’s installment will take a deeper look at God’s call to Abram in Genesis 12:1-2 to understand exactly what God intended to accomplish through it.
Let’s take a look at the Genesis 12:1-2 passages again:
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go 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 into a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing;
This seems like a really big ask. Leave, depart, move. However, notice that God was not asking but commanding Abram to leave behind all that felt comfortable and recognizable. Abram’s allegiance was being put to a test here, even before it was faith. In Abrahm’s call from Ur, we see Him stress a call with few rules and no direction except to depart. How would Abram again respond now that he’s been in Haran for nearly 70 years? How would he convince Sarai? Whom would he take? We can only imagine all the questions running through Abram’s mind as he was considering the weight of this calling.
But there was something subtly attractive about God’s call that Abram couldn’t shake. There was a promise and a blessing, a message quite different from the ANE faith of the day. To the Ancient Near East gods, humans were slaves who served the gods with no promises and certainly no blessings. With this promise, Abam wasn’t just being called away from something, but into something: into a relationship and a faith; into a letting go and letting God; into a future repentance and restoration, into a promise and a blessing–and it wasn’t optional. It involved something more than following a command, it involved strength, trust, and seeds of hope. Indeed, it was the beginning of Abram’s faith. Before Abram even knew God, God was working in Abram to accomplish His purpose through him.
We should take a moment to marvel at the moment faith takes hold. The God of all the universe calls on a regular man, a sinner, and an unbeliever. Hearing the call, Abram boldly and blindly steps from a wrong faith to a right faith; from the familiar to the unfamiliar; from despair to hope. This is the very moment that Abram’s heart shifts. In crossing the border of Haran, Abram also crosses the border of belief. His allegiance changes forever, and God has accomplished the first part of His task for Abram.
Can you recall the moment you had a change of allegiance, or that moment when you traded your faith in the world or yourself for faith in God? What were the subtle or simple things that led to that pivotal moment for you? How do you see God’s calling on your life long before you completely recognized His voice?