Summary: This is about God’s call on Abraham.
Intro to “God Encounters” series. We can have our own encounter with God.
Abraham is a hero to Christians, Jews and Muslims. He is a giant man on the stage of history. The old saying is “the faith of Abraham.”
Read Genesis 12:1-9.
God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to him as Abraham. Abe’s faith got him 8 verses in the “Faith Hall of Fame” of Hebrews 11, more than anyone else. It would be hard to overstate Abe’s importance.
What can we learn about his God encounter? How can we relate that to our own personal God encounter?
· The CALL of God.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis set the stage for this. God created a “good” world, but mankind messed it up. Idolatry and paganism were rampant in Abe’s day. Abe’s father was a practitioner of it.
Out of this mess, God taps Abe on the shoulder.
o It seems IMPOSSIBLE.
For his day and age, this was a radical step to leave the country, clan and family. If Abe shared this with people around him, he would have been ridiculed, especially in light of the religious climate of the day.
God may call you to do impossible things. I thought being a pastor was impossible. I hate public speaking.
o It seems INCOMPLETE.
God didn’t tell Abe where he was headed. He just told him to go. It wasn’t until he got to the land that God, “This is the place.”
So often we want God to spell out where we are headed. Someone once said, “The more we know the less we trust.” The key is not to know, but to trust God.
· The OBEDIENCE of one man.
God initiated the call, but it was still up to Abe to obey. He could have said, “No.” God calls us, but we must respond.
o It only takes ONE.
Abe was called, and he responded with immediate obedience. The logistics of his move would be daunting to the most professional moving company. While it took only one man to obey, it involved a great number of people (probably hundreds, including the servants, plus possessions and cattle). The journey was 300-400 miles, but again, he didn’t know that at the outset. It likely took months to make the move. It was the obedience of one man.
o It takes FAITH.
Obedience is always rooted in faith. If you don’t believe in something you won’t obey. The men who stormed the beaches on D-Day believed that the cause they were fighting for was just. “Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18. “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.” Mark 2:14. “Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead." Matthew 8:21-22.
· The PROMISE of God.
It’s not until verse 7, that God tells Abe he has come to the land. God extends the promise. He promised Abe in vv. 2-3, but here he is specific about the land. One key thing about the promise here is that it is not to Abe, but to his descendants. A childless 75 year old, would produce a nation that could conquer the land.
o It REASSURES us.
The promise of God reassures us that we are on the right track. No doubt after months of travel, Abe needed some reassurance. We all need that from time to time, whether it’s on the job, at school, or at home. We need reassurance.
o It gives us a “DIVINE CERTAINTY”
This is a phrase that has come to mean a lot to me over the last several months. I have a “divine certainty” that I am exactly where God wants me. This “divine certainty” gives us hope in down times. When things are rough, we can lean on God. Fear isn’t necessary when we walk with God, even when we aren’t sure where we are going.
This “divine certainty” isn’t the end of the journey; it’s just the beginning.
· The WORSHIP of one man.
Along the way, Abe stopped and worshiped God. God had demonstrated his faithfulness and Abe “built…an altar to the Lord” twice. Worship is a vital part of our relationship with God. Worship is more than the songs we sing. It is prayer. It is hearing the Word. That’s why our worship folder says, “Worship in Singing,” “Worship in Reading the Word of God,” etc.