I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.Genesis 12:2-3
Who was Abram? Abram became Abraham, he was the son of a man called Terah and he was married to Sari. Abram was one of three brothers. Abram and Sari could not have children. (Genesis 11:27-32)
It seems Abram was an ordinary man. We are not told he was particularly holy or devout. We are not even told that he worshipped the Lord. Yet the thing that marks Abram, who became Abraham, out is the call the Lord made on his life. Other than the fact he and Sari where not able to have children, the first real piece of information we get about him is that the Lord said…
The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.‘ (Genesis 12:1)
Abram, or Abraham, is a stand out character in the bible not because of who he was or what he did but because of what God did. God called Abram out of obscurity, out from the crowd, out from his family, his homeland, his comfort zone and into a new way of life with God.
Why Abraham, why not his father Terah or brothers Nahor or Haran? There is no reason other than the creator God, who can claim ownership over all things, chose Abram.
If we are to understand God then at a very early outset we need to understand that God calls. He calls us into a new way of life, away from what we have been used to. For Abram that was a life away from his family and homeland. For some of us that is also true. God calls into service abroad, away from our home towns, or in new situations.
God does not call because there is something worthwhile about us. He isn’t like a premiership manager wanting the best possible players for his team. His call is an act of grace, it is an undeserving call on individual lives.
This call is not just into service. It isn’t just a call to be a missionary or minster or anything else. (Although we should consider carefully if God is calling us into one of these areas of service.) God’s call is to a new way of life. Abram left an old life behind and started a new life with God at the centre.
This relationship that God called Abram into was a solemn agreement, or covenant. It was binding and there were penalties for failure to honour the agreement. In Genesis 15 we read about a strange encounter Abram had with God where the Lord walked through a series of animals that had been slaughtered, butchered and arranged on the ground. This ceremony was God’s way of saying if I do not honour my word to you I will become like these animals.
Of course throughout history we know God honoured his word to Abram and his descendants, it was Abram and each generation after him that failed to keep the covenant. Yet this did not stop God calling people through every generation. Until eventually God came to earth himself in the person of Jesus Christ becoming like those animals in Genesis 15. Not because of his unfaithfulness but because of ours.
To understand God is to understand how seriously he takes the call on our lives. It is to understand the transformation he seeks to make in our lives.
The question we are faced with today is what will we do with the call of God? Will we respond as Abram did leaving an old way of life behind, entering into a new relationship with God. A relationship of blessing and promise. Or will we continue to live outside of that call, outside of the blessing of God, outside of the transformation of the cross?
Prayer Father, I thank you for the call on my life. I thank you for how you have guaranteed every promise in that call through Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection. Lord I offer my life to you now in response. I walk away from the old things, the old securities into whatever land, whatever area of service, to whatever people you will lead. In Jesus name, amen.