Summary: Following the example of Abram, we must be willing to leave behind the things that hinder us. We must continue to listen for and follow the Word of God.
Genesis 12: 1 – 4a / What Would It Take?
Intro: Leith Anderson, author and pastor, told of a visit he made to Manila. There he was taken to the garbage dump where he witnessed something beyond belief. There he saw tens of thousands of people making their homes on that dump constructed from things others had thrown away. They send their children out to scavenge for food. People have been born, grown up, had families and died on that garbage dump having never left. (from SermonCentral.com) --- Why? --- Doesn’t it make you think? “What would it take to get them to move from the dump?”
I. Abram was not living on a dump; but, he was living in a land populated with people who worshiped many gods and practiced all sorts of perverse acts in the name of religion.
A. VS 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.”
B. The Hebrew expression is “lek-leka.” It literally means “go for yourself.” 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.
C. This expression is equivalent to the saying of Jesus, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Abram must deny himself and make his own way following the Lord. No one could go the way of Abram except those who are united in faith with him. What would it take?
II. Often God calls us to let go just as he called Abram to let go. It’s important to note here that God’s original call to Abram was to leave his father; yet according to the rest of chapter 12, his father went with him and they settled in Haran. He didn’t move on until his father had died.
A. Because Abram wasn’t willing to totally let go, his faith journey was delayed.
B. In many ways, we are just like Abram. We’d rather remain in the comfort of the familiar than move into the unknown. It’s easier to remain lonely than make the effort to build new relationships. It’s easier to remain ill than go through the process of healing and rehabilitation. For many churches it’s easier to keep everything the way it’s always been tan cope with new people, new thoughts, new ways of doing things. ---
C. What would it take? --- What are you unwilling to leave? A career? A relationship? A possession? A habit? What are you unwilling to change? To what are you clinging for dear life? Jesus says for his followers to become disciples they must leave everything.
III. VS. 4a – “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him . . .” Abram took the first step. He left. He obeyed. Even though that initial obedience was followed with hesitation, he initially obeyed.
A. Abram 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.
B. The author of Hebrews 11: 8 – 9 says, “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.”
C. The term “obeyed” is actually “to hear” (hupakouein) is always though of as receiving the divine Word by hearing and then translating it into action. Abram heard God’s call and translated it into action. He paid the price to obey God’s call.
Conclu: What would it take? Following God’s will always requires separation from something. God removes Abram from his comfort zones and takes him away from hindrances. Answering God’s call in our lives requires the same. We must be willing to be moved from our comfort zones, taken away from those things that hinder us and move forward listening for and trusting in the Word of God.