Summary: God initiates the call and it can be any time and any place.
Iliff and Saltillo United Methodist Churches
May 7, 2000
“When Abram Heard from God”
INTRODUCTION: In today’s scripture God chose an ordinary person to carry out His plan and purpose in the world. He was a person who lived in a world of responsibilities duties, temptations and difficulties. He was from a family who worshiped idols. Matthew Henry says that Abram was a “specimen of common humanity, yet God trained him by His continual guidance and grace to the high purposes of serving in His church.” What can we learn from this Old Testament character that we can apply to our lives today?
I. The Lord Initiated the Contact: Sometimes we think that communication with God is always initiated by us when we pray. We ask God to do all kinds of things for us, and we talk and talk and talk. “God I need you to do this today. Help me out God.” We make up our plans and ask God to bless them. Our communication very often is pretty shallow and selfish when we think about it. It’s me, me, me and my needs. Right? But in this case it was God who initiated the communication to Abram. We don’t know what Abram was doing at the time--whether he was busy at his ordinary work, if it was during the day or in the middle of the night, at the end of a trying week--we don’t know when or where it happened, but scripture says, “Abram received God’s call while he was still in Ur of the Chaldees. Nehemiah 9:7 says, “You are the Lord God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees and named him Abraham.”
God initiated the contact and chose him. Have you ever wondered why God picked you out of the crowd and chose you? Abram probably did too. I think that God knew that this man was a person that He could work with in spite of his flaws. He sees our hearts too. Are we people who are willing to do what God asks us to do? Are we willing to move out of our comfort zones to accomplish new tasks--things we’ve never attempted before?
What do we know about Abram?
1. We know that he was already in his 70’s when God spoke to him.
2. He had roots there and was established in his occupation.
3. He lived in the godless, self centered city of Ur
4. His family worshiped idols.
Many people say, “I can’t change because I don’t come from a good family or I live in a bad neighborhood, my friends are not Christians--Abram lived in an environment that was probably a constant temptation to him. Yet God took the initiative to communicate with him.
What does this say to us? When we are baptized we feel that the Lord is working in us to shape and mold us, draw us to Him over a process of time. He is taking the initiative to communicate with us through His Holy Spirit. Sometimes we are not even aware of it. When we pray, it is a divinely initiated experience in that the Holy Spirit draws us to pray. He draws us to feel our need of spiritual things. John 6:44 says that “no one can come to [Jesus] unless the Father...draws him.” We might think it is all our own idea.
Today God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness to Him. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s call. He may be trying to take the initiative and you are saying, “I can’t do it, I’m too young, I’m too old, I don’t have the talents or the resources.” Abram could have said, “I’m ready to retire and take it easy now.”
When does God speak to us? I think scripture shows us it can be anytime or any place in our life. Could be while we are busy just doing the ordinary things of life. Most likely it will be when we don’t necessarily expect it. We might say, “It just came out of the blue that I felt God was saying this to me...”
STORY: Marcel working in his garden. God spoke to him one morning while he was planting flowers. He was there all the time trying to communicate to Marcel.
II. Strong Directives: Abram received some strong directives from God. He was to:
1. leave his country
2. his people
3. his father’s household
Why? There were probably several reasons.
1. one was the environment he was living in. The Lord thought it was necessary to call him out of the pagan society so he could work in his life better. A call to separate from the constant idolatrous influences. Many times God does not call us out of our environment. He tells us to “bloom where we are planted.” To Abram he said, “I want you to leave your country, your people, and your father’s household. He probably had established a reputation there and was an influential person.