Summary: Abraham's Journey of Faith
Defining the Relationship
After college, when I finished graduate school, I moved home, back from the Carolinas to PA. I started attending an EV Free church in Hershey and became involved in their young adult program. I noticed this lively, vivacious blonde named Ronda, and started building a friendship with her. There WAS one problem though. I was shy. She was talkative and outgoing and a friend to everyone. I was a fly on the wall.
She was a teacher, and so I found excuses to do things with her - going to the games of kids in her class, going shopping, going out to eat with her. In fact, I kept wanting to tell her that I was interested in her and would like to be more than “just friends.” But just when I would get the conversation directed towards talking about dating, it seemed the conversation took off in a totally different direction.
Then came one night, a dreadful, memorable night. We went out to watch a movie together, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. As I was sitting there, feeling so good about being with this woman, wanting us to be more than friends, I slipped my arm around her and started playing with her hair.
**NOTE: I am NOT recommending this as a way to meet women!
She very promptly picked up my arm, took it from behind her back, and put it back in my own lap. On the way home from the movie, we had “THE DISCUSSION.” She said “Is there anything you want to tell me?” I then told her that I wanted to date her and be more than just friends. She told me she really wasn’t interested in dating me.
But I didn’t give up, and a month or two later, after showing her that I really wanted to date her, she gave me another chance and the relationship just grew from there.
In every relationship, there come times where there is a need to “Define the Relationship.” Sometimes the talks are hard, sometimes they are easy, but they are usually necessary. Because relationships don’t just “happen”, but they develop by repeated times of taking steps to deepen the relationship, to take it to the next level.
This morning, we want to look in the book of Genesis, in chapters 12 - 22, at the lesson of Abraham. In the life of Abraham, we see God taking several times to “define the relationship” - to call Abraham to take steps of faith in following Him. And God always shows himself faithful.
1. The Call to Leave - Here in chapter 12, we see God gives Abraham a call to leave - to leave family, relatives, his homeland. Genesis 11:10 tells us that 2 years after the flood, Shem was 100. Then the list of descendants grows. In adding up the years of births and deaths, we find that when Abram was born, almost all his forefathers back to Shem the son of Noah are alive. Abram probably knew Shem and the whole line. Noah was his great (8x) grandfather. He died just about 2 years before Abram is born. Now Hebrews 11:13 says that Noah was living by faith when he died. Yet, we have to wonder about the rest of his generations. God chooses to call Abraham, but he passes over Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, and the whole line of generations. Why?
It appears that even in godly families, often the ways of the fathers are forsaken. Remember, God gave the world a new start in the flood. Yet, what happens, even with a godly man like Noah -- children turn from the Lord. God wants to save a godly race, a people that would be devoted to him. So who does he choose? Not Shem or any other early descendants of Noah. Rather 10 generations removed, a young lad named Abram. Why Abram? I think the answer is found in Genesis 18:19 - The Lord is speaking about Abram, and he says, For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
In chapter 12, we see that Abram receives a call from God. It is a call that takes boldness. The account in Genesis makes it seem he receives this call after his father is dead in Haran. Yet, Acts 7:2-4 tells us he received this call in Ur of the Chaldees, or better stated, near the city of Babylon. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.