Summary: How and where is God leading you? Are you ready to follow Him?
“I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go”
On Wednesday the story of Maria Grasso, the nanny who won the lottery millions, caused a lot of us to play the fantasy game “what if it were me?” The quiet, Chilean immigrant was the single winner of the Big Game lottery. About an hour before the press conference at which she announced her win, her lawyer deposited a check for $70,244,814.02 in her personal account. This amount is the total of her win, minus $34 million in taxes. Where would I go? What would I do? How would my life change? These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves when we hear a story like that of Mrs. Grasso. It makes an interesting daydream, but with odds of winning approaching 1 in 52 million, only a fool would build his life around the hope that he, like Mrs. Grasso, would become a rich man from the Massachusetts Lottery! So the fantasy fades and life goes on.
In our Bible text this morning, there is a story that is also amazing. It could produce in us the same kind of fantasy... what if? OR, the story could be a spark that ignites greater faith in us. Fantasies are mere dreams that float through our minds and are soon forgotten. Faith is much different. As we learned last week, faith is born out of God’s promises to us. As we take hold of those promises, we become people who please Him and who discover that He is actively leading and guiding us.
My prayer is that Abraham’s story, though ancient, will take hold of your imagination and ignite a fire of life-changing faith in you! I don’t want you to hear it; fantasize about it, and then to just let life go on! For unlike the lottery, God’s promises are sure and obtainable. They are not handed out to a lucky few. They are given to us all. So as I share the Word with you this morning, let it settle into your mind and heart so that it will bring about a right kind of life, pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.
Turn with me this morning to Hebrews 11 once again. Our text begins at verse 8, the account of Abraham’s faith. (Read vv. 8-12)
Two key phrases stand out to me in this brief account....
“By faith, Abraham, when called... obeyed and went” and
“By faith, Abraham, tho’ past age... was enabled to become a father.”
As I mentioned last Sunday, the writer of Hebrews because he was writing to Jewish converts refers to these heroes of faith as tho’ the reader knows their story but some of us don’t. Let’s take a closer look at Abraham.
We first meet him in 11th chapter of Genesis. Abram, his first name, was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the southeastern part of what is now Iraq. Archeological digs at the site of this ancient city reveal that it was a rich center of commerce along the Euphrates River. The city was a sophisticated place with brick homes, temples, and libraries. From this we can infer that Abram was, in his time, a wealthy nobleman.
Sometime after he was married, his father moved his clan from that small city to one some 350 miles distant, Haran, in the region of modern Turkey. The Bible gives us little information about why this re-location took place. In the city of Haran, Abram’s father died and he became the head of the clan. One important detail slips into the story in Genesis 11:30 “Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.” Just hang onto that little fact.
In the city of Haran, God spoke to Abram and gave him a promise. Genesis 12:1-5
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2 “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.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
This is the first instance where we discover his great faith. From the fertile area of Mesopotamia, from established cities and familiar surrounding, Abram at age 75 sets off on another major journey of some 300 miles into Canaan, a place where he would not be living in settled cities, but rather in tents as a wandering sheik.