Summary: Abram’s calling - how does it relate to our calling as Kingdom Servants?
Ready For Great Things
Genesis 12: 1-20
CALVIN CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
"Abram, it’s time. You must go."
And he went.
That’s the gist of Genesis 12 - the calling of a man from the city, challenged to move to a foreign nation and culture to serve a God not recognized in that place. An average man with an average faith.
Facing a challenging call - maybe even a bit threatening.
It’s also a call that echos through the pages of scripture, the same call that comes to believers down through the ages.
It is your call. And mine. Tonight I invite you to hear that call again.
When you read the opening verses of Genesis 12, it seems as if God spoke and without hesitation, in a flash, no questions asked, Abram picked up and responded. Truth be told, that response was years in the making. There was great big, "Ah, let me see, let me think about this" stuck in the middle.
The apostle Stephen, first martyr of the Church, tells the story of faith in Acts 7. In verse 2 he relates that Abram had been called while still in Mesopotamia. He was then re-called in Haran after his father had passed away. It is only then that Abram picked up and moved along to Canaan.
It’s a similar dynamic to the call given to the prophet Jeremiah, who was called by God, lagged in that calling, and then in Jeremiah 15:19-21 is re-called and re-posted as servant of the Almighty.
Perhaps it was the tugs and comforts of remaining with family; perhaps responsibilities to an elderly father. We’re never told. All we know is that something held Abram back, and God had to tap him on the shoulder a second time.
Familiar? Been there?
Had something pressed onto your heart, into your conscience - couldn’t escape it and knew that God was challenging you in a particular way....... but couldn’t bring yourself to go there, either. Push it away, rationalize that someone else is far better suited for this task; besides, you don’t have the time or the means. And yet - somehow it wouldn’t leave. Or, if it does fade into the background, soon enough - there it is again! Leaving you no choice but to respond.
Abram - his name is from the past. His challenges remain very real.
As real as the culture from which he came. He’d probably feel right at home here in Ottawa. Growing up in the big city, in a culture incredibly advanced with architecture, astronomy and math that was cutting edge, social structures that were very intricate, and economy that was fantastically wealthy.
He wasn’t from the fringes. No - Abram was from a culture as alive and moving as any, ever. Smart. Aware. That was the Mesopotamian culture of the day. And we can make a pretty fair assumption in judging that Abram was a slice out of that culture.
Till God says, "Come out of it."
And slices him away.
Leave the city streets you know so well.
The scenes you find so comfortable.
The social networks that keep you stable.
The recreation spots where your heart relaxes.
Just take the first step.
Don’t worry about forecasting and projecting outcomes.
Leave that to me.
And I’ll guide you.
Living out what Psalm 37 proclaims:
"If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand." [Psalm 37:23-24]
Living out the magnificent portrait of what we believe from the Heidelberg Catechism, Q/A 27, regarding the providence of God:
The almighty and ever present power of God by which he so rules... that all things come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand.
Whatever is ahead for Abram will be no fluke.
There’s no chance for chance.
God is drawing the roadmap.
God prepares the destination.
Abram’s job ---- our job ---- is to walk.
And as you go, Abram -
I will bless you.
I will make you a blessing.
The world "blessing" - what does it mean?
It’s one of those great faith words we use so often.
In your daily prayers, how many times will you repeat this word?
Can you write, 20 words or less, what "blessing" means?
Blessing - from the ancient, pre-Hebrew word meaning "to transfer beneficial power which renders life fruitful."
It’s a term closely related to "shalom", which is a state of being where life IS fruitful and well-ordered, meaningful, as it should be.
Blessing in one’s life is the power that moves a person towards being shalom-filled.
Obey God by going and Abram will find meaning greater than any he could find by staying in the tech centre of the Ancient Near East.