Summary: God reveals himself to Abram and Sarai and calls them to follow him and become a great nation.
Genesis 12:1-9 “Called”
Have you ever experienced God speaking to you? I’ve seen some husbands nudge their wives during my sermons and say something like, “Myrtle, have you been talking to the pastor?” After the worship service, they will come up to me and compliment me by saying, “It felt like God was using you to speak directly to my heart.” Sometimes God speaks to us with gut feelings, dreams, or a quiet voice during our times of prayer. If we understand ourselves to be living in a relationship with God, it should not be surprising or uncommon for God to communicate with us.
It our lesson today, we have the story of God speaking to Abraham and Sarah. We do not know how God spoke to Abraham. What we do know is that it was a transformative experience for Abraham and Sarah. It was also a watershed event in the history of the world. As we delve into the details of the story, we soon realize that it speaks to our hearts and lives and is applicable to our everyday walk of faith.
In the first eleven chapters of Genesis with have the creation of the good world followed by the fall of humankind and the spread of sin and its effects in the world. Chapter twelve is a dramatic change. The focus moves from the world to an individual. God is going to renew and restore the world, but God won’t do it alone. God will join with humankind and they will work together.
Abraham and Sarah are the people through whom God has chosen to move and bring the kingdom of God once more into the world. We do not know why God chose Abraham and Sarah. Some Jewish writings hint that Abraham was the first monotheist. We can only speculate, however. We do know that God expressed God’s will and chose Abraham.
Throughout the Bible God continues to use humans to bring God’s kingdom near. God calls Moses from a burning bush. Later David was called to serve as king. God call the prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God called Mary to be the mother of God. Peter, James and John along with Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha were called to be followers of Jesus. Paul was called to be a missionary and theologian.
Throughout the ages, God has called people to specific tasks and particular ministries. God’s call continues to our lives today. To what is God calling you?
THE PRICE OF THE CALL
We might, at first, be tempted to be envious of people who have been called to a certain task. Abraham was called to be God’s special envoy to the world—the father of monotheism and the patriarch of the nation of Israel. Abraham’s call was not an easy one. He and Sarah had to leave behind land, kindred and their father’s house.
Mary was honored to be called to be the mother of the Messiah. As mother of the Messiah, though, her life was difficult. She had to suffer the shame of being an unwed mother and she went through the nightmare of watching her son die a horrific death, to name but a few costs.
God’s love is free. Our citizenship in God’s kingdom and our membership as family of God cost us nothing. They cost Jesus everything. Our calls, however, are pricey. Different calls require different costs. Some costs are great and some are small. We all pay a price in order for us to answer our calls. We leave family, we study long years and work long hours. We pay with our lives—and sometimes our lives are violently cut short.
I have never met any follower of Jesus who has felt that the price he or she paid to answer his or her call was too much. Their call allowed them to experience abundant lives.
BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
God tells Abraham that God will bless him so that he will be a blessing to others. God proclaims the very same message to us. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Contrary to popular belief, blessings are not meant to be hoarded. Nor are blessings meant to set us apart from others.
Blessings are meant to be share. Blessings enable us to live for something bigger than ourselves. We are blessed so that we can serve God with our gifts and talents. We are blessed so that we can make a positive impact on the lives of others. We are blessed so that we can leave a legacy.
Abraham discovered that he was at his best when he was were God wanted him to be. We are at our best when we are living out our call and being bigger than ourselves by serving.