Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A calling, a promise, a small start.


1    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;
2    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;
3    And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

Genesis 12:1-3

In the call of Abram to leave his familiar surroundings and follow the Lord’s direction we have the beginning of what has been an ancient relationship God has had with a unique people: Israel. And in “father Abraham” we see the standard for what faith, following, and friendship with God are all about.

First, the faith… Abram simply was told to leave and that God would show him a land that would be his own. He was to live the life of a faithful nomad, trusting God’s call more than his own security. From that step God would make of this childless old man and his wife a great nation. He would be blessed, become someone of fame, and be a blessing to the world.

Then there had to come “the following”. I would not be commenting on this story if Abram had not believed. But the old man took God at his word (even though we do not know WHY God chose him… I think Abram was equally dumbfounded) and packed up the extended family and headed out into what was for him terra incognita. He followed by faith.

And Abram received a friendship with God. God began the whole thing. Later, as they dwell in Canaan God simply says to him, “This is the land I was talking about.” A series of brief encounters with God occurs from there on it. It is clear that God is talking to Abram and the old man is listening. This conversation is the essence of a faithful friendship with God that persisted through several manifestations of this initial covenant that God made with the patriarch.

It is with Abram that we see the care of God for individuals that ultimately changes the world. The personal desire of God to walk with us did not abate despite Adam’s sin, Cain’s murder of his brother, the generation that died in the Flood, the overt humanism of Babel, or the simple existence of Terah and his nomadic son Abram. And with that patriarch, God began to show us what faith in His Word could do. And through that pursuit by God of us, we have been blessed, for Abram became the father of the Jewish nation, and in Bethlehem, in Judea, in the land God promised Abram, a Savior was born Who has blessed the entire world forever.

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