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Abraham: The Call


Sermon shared by Tammy Garrison

July 2001
Summary: The call of Abraham is addressed in three elements contained in the following statement: íGod calls ordinary people.í
Denomination: Methodist
Audience: General adults
Thereís a childrenís Bible song called ďFather Abraham.Ē The words speak of Abraham having many children, and also speaks of you and I being Abrahamís children. It reminds me of a couple back home. They adopted two children because they believed they couldnít have any biologically, but then they had three. Our families were at a gathering together, and the father of the family was wearing a T-Shirt someone had given him as a joke in reference to our Bible lesson this evening labeling him as ďFather Abraham.Ē

The story of how Abraham becomes father of us all begins with our Bible story tonight. Tonight we read of Abram and his wife Sarai. Together with his father, his brother and his brotherís family, and his nephew, Abramís household gathers all their belongings and move from the place known as Babylon today and migrate towards the land we now call Israel.
At one point in this journey, the family would settle in an area nearby, called Haran for a time. There, God spoke to Abram, later to become ďFather Abraham.Ē
There God gave Abraham a promise. Abraham and his family were called to follow God to a place Abraham would be shown. These are the words God used to tell Abraham what would happen to him there.

ďThis is the country Iím going to give to your descendants. 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.

Godís promise is one of land - something very important to the Hebrew people, in a way I donít believe we can truly grasp today. Godís promise was also one of many children to carry on the family name - something else that was very important to Hebrew culture. In a later story, God shows Abraham the stars:
ďYour descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens.Ē Abraham is told.
Together, the promise of land and of children constituted a promise of prosperity for Abraham and his family. It was a promise of a future for Abraham.
It was a promise of hope.
As a girl, I envisioned what my family would look like someday. I pictured what my husband would be like, how many children we would have, how we would get along together. I envisioned what the future held for me.

Abrahamís future wasnít a childís daydream. Abrahamís future is a vision and promise from God. Tonight we read of the calling by God of Abraham, the giving of the promise, and the start of the journey Abraham and God began together.
These words at the beginning of the 12th chapter of Genesis tell us the beginning of the journey Abraham began with God. In some ways tonightís story seems to be a historical record, an incedental account of what happened to Abraham as he responded to God.
But there is more happening here than just the story of one manís travels across a desert land.

What are we to make of one manís journey across a wild and primitive countryside? What are we to do with the vision Abraham received from God, projecting his fortune into the indefinite future? In what way is Abrahamís story our story?
What does Abrahamís story tell us about us?

As I reflect upon this, the following statement comes to mind:
God calls ordinary people.
It contains three very important elements to Abrahamís call that I believe speaks directly to us. Lets look at each of these and lets turn our attention now to the first point our story makes.
God calls ordinary
Comments and Shared Ideas
Alden Dick of Bethel Mennonite Church
September 17, 2008
I appreciate the faithfulness to the higher story here (Heilsgeschichte). This is not just about Abraham - - - it is about salvation history and the part that he played and the part our own calling plays. Well articulated.

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