Summary: Abram’s call shows us how our trust in the Lord must lead to obedience and that this is what it means to follow the call of God in our lives.
“Trust and Obey”
1. Summer is nearly here. The weather will soon – hopefully! – get warmer and sunnier. Some have no doubt already started using their barbecues. For many people the approaching season of summer means one thing: vacation! It is the time of year when people travel and go on trips to see family, friends, and to take time away from work. People go to cottages, camps, other parts of the country, and perhaps, for some, other parts of the world. Either way, lots of people leave their homes and towns and cities this time of year to go someplace else and experience something different.
2. Now, whenever you’ve gone on vacation you’ve likely done a lot of planning, right? At the very least you’ve determined your route and your destination. You know where you’re staying. You’ve booked the hotels. You have a map. You have all your supplies. Imagine, however, that someone else has planned your trip, and not only have they planned it for you, but they haven’t really told you where you’re going to end up. They say to you: “Ok, This is where I want you to go. Just trust me. We’ll take it one step at a time. Now let’s go here to start. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where to go next. And don’t worry about your final destination. I’m taking care of the details. What I want you to do is trust that I am guiding your steps along the way, even when you don’t know where you’re going. Trust me.” What kind of vacation would this make you expect? Would you be looking forward to it? Would you be comfortable with someone else making plans for you like this? Would you be able to trust them? Would it fill you with peace or would it fill you with anxiety?
3. But maybe you’re not a vacation person and prefer to stay close to home. Let me ask you this then: have you ever had to move? Have you ever had the occasion to pack your all your belongings and leave once familiar surroundings for new territory? Have you ever had to leave close family and friends behind while you travel to what feels like “the great unknown”? Maybe you’re moving because of a new job. It could be that you’re moving to attend a college or university. Or perhaps a life change has meant that you have to move. How does such a move make you feel? Do you feel nervous at all? Would you rather stay close to what is familiar and known? This morning we’re going to look at the call of Abram – better known to us as Abraham – and what that tells us about how we ought to respond to the call of God in our own lives.
The Where of the Call
1. What do we know about Abram at this point? Let’s take a look at Genesis 11: 31: “Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there.” So at the outset we see that Abram and his family lived in a place called “Ur of the Chaldeans.” This is ancient Mesopotamia which today is modern-day Iraq. More specifically, Ur is quite possibly located 70 miles south of modern Baghdad. We also learn this in Acts 7: 2ff where it says: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living.”
2. Now, knowing something about where Abram lived and what that place was like tells us something significant about the call of God on his life and what he had to leave behind to obey the call. “Scholars believe that in ancient times Ur was a port city. It was a city that flourished with prosperity because there was a great deal of trade taking place along the coastal waterways. Two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, made their home in Ur. The rich soil produced corn, date-palm crops, apples, grapes, pomegranates, and tamarisks growing wild. Canaan did not compare to the luxurious comforts of Ur, yet the Lord was asking him to relinquish his country for the sake of Canaan.” This is not the sort of place you would leave if you had the choice! You would not trade life in Ur for life in Canaan! Have you ever lived somewhere that you would never want to leave, not for anything? Is it possible that the Lord is calling you to move from where you are? Where are you at in your life right now? The call of Abram raises the question for each of us: Where is God calling you from?