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Summary: Every one must go his own way God calls for him.

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Go Your Way

God’s purposes for man are two fold.

1) to serve God above,

2) to serve the people below. To fulfill these purposes of God, God calls people as he did Abraham. I want to share with you what God does with us when he call us.

1. God’s Free Will was the Cause of the Call

It was solely His free will when God chose Abraham. Some passages base God’s election of Israel upon His love (Deut 4:37, 7:8, 10:15 etc.). These verses gave rise to the Rabbinic thought that descendants can benefit and even can claim salvation on the ground of their ancestors’ righteousness (cf. Matt 3:9, John 8:33, Exodus Rabbah 23:5). Yet ancestral righteousness, if there is any, came only after God’s election and call of Abram. The divine call already accompanied the promise of the seed and the land, which would develop into the Israel. Therefore, merit theology has no ground in these verses as Israel’s existence itself goes back to the free election of Abram.

The Old Testament often speaks of "finding favor in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen 6:8, 18:3, 19:19, Ex 33:12 etc.). The basic idea is that God’s favor is freely given, not in consideration of any merit. Along the same line, Paul the apostle found in the story of birth of twins an illustration of his theology of sola gratia. Thus he could say that "before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God’s purpose in election might stand not by works but by him who calls--she was told, ’The older will serve the younger’" (Rom 9:11-12). So is God’s election, call, and promise to Abram, all of which sprang exclusively from His free will. It was by God’s grace that Abraham was called.

2. Go for Yourself

The expression "go for yourself" (lek-leka) occurs both here and in Gen 22:2. And a similar usage will include also Ex 18:27, Josh 22:4, 1 Sam 26:11-12, Jer 5:5, Song 2:10, 13 etc. The expression means "to go by oneself," "to go on the way that belongs to you alone," and leave behind your kinsfolk among whom you have lived till now and who do not wish or are not able to associate themselves with you in your new way. This amounts to the saying of the Lord in the New Testament, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow meꡓ(Matt 16:24). Now Abram must deny himself and take up his own cross and follow the Lord. No one could go the way of Abram except those who are united in faith with him.

This was the first test to Abram, who needed to decide between rejection of the call and obedience to it. To obey and follow the call, Abram must have put his faith in the person who called him. As the author of Hebrews indicates, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going" (Heb 11:8-9). The term "obeyed" is actually "to hear" (hupakouein). "hupakouein and upakoh as terms for religious activity are always to be thought of within the sphere of a religion which receives the divine Word by hearing and then translates it into action" (Gen 22:18; Lev 26:14). Abram heard God’s call and translated it into action. He paid the price to obey God’s call. He departed his father, relatives, and the land. Thus in Abram’s life, the first thing we notice is his obedience to God’s voice. This obedience was an action of faith. His obedient action tells the greatness of his faith. At the time, Abram had no children. The text underscores the fact that when Abram left Haran for Canaan, he was seventy five years old (Gen 12:4). "The undertaking of the journey, without prior knowledge of when and where it would end, would have been a severe test even for a young man, how much more so for an old man of seventy-five."


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