(this was originally posted on my Facebook page May 1, 2010)
Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees, is my new hero for two big reasons. The second reason is nearly as incredible as the first.
Reason #2. “Abraham, when called to go … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
Isn’t that fantastic? The old boy liked to live on the edge, there’s no doubt about that. But doesn’t that strike you as being just a little bit irresponsible? Crazy? Impetuous, or at best, eccentric? He went – but didn’t know where he was going. What was He thinking?
See, Abraham didn’t HAVE to know where he was going because he knew the One who had set the course, the One who would lead him, the One who would go with him all the way. He didn’t HAVE to know where he was going to end up… in order to get there. All Abe had to do was lift his foot in the first step of obedience … and God would set that foot down in the right direction. And as far as we know, Abraham was ok with that. That’s why he’s my hero.
This big adventure all happened 25 years or so before Isaac was born, but still it wasn’t just Abraham that was effected by this massive mystery move. He took his wife, his nephew, their servants, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired, herds of livestock … and who knows what else. And because God had told him to go, he went – picked up his tents and went – not knowing where he was going. East or West, North or South? He didn’t know. He just went. He knew they would end up in a different country. He knew it would be a different culture with different customs and perhaps a strange language. He knew they would encounter hardships and opposition along the way. He knew all of that. But he knew God would be there. Instinctively, he must have known what the Psalmist would write centuries later: “even if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Ps. 139:9-10). But still, it couldn’t have been easy for him. He and his posse had become well settled in the land. They were respected and loved by the people. They were comfortable. Life was ok.
But God said to Him, “Abe. I want you to go. Take your stuff and your peeps and leave this land of your fathers …. just go. I’ll tell you when to stop and I’ll tell you where you are when you get there.” So … “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” (Hebrews 11:8).
At the risk of personalising this too much … I feel a bit like Abraham at the moment. We don’t know exactly where God wants us to go we just sense that it’s time to go. And so, in obedience, we are going, even though we don’t know exactly where we are going. God has a plan and it’s probably much bigger than anything I can think of. I’m sure it’ll be very different from any scenario I can dream up. My only desire is to know God’s will and to be in the centre of it because I know that His will is by far the best place to be. I would LOVE to know where we will be 3, 5, 7 months from now, but I don’t HAVE to know … because I know the One who has set the course, the One who will continue to lead me, the One who will go with me all the way. I don’t HAVE to know where I am going to end up … in order to get there. All I have to do is lift my foot in the first step of obedience … and God will set that foot down in the right direction. I’m ok with that.
So thanks Abe. Thanks for showing me that it’s ok to trust God in this way. Thanks for showing me that trust and obedience are the two main ingredients for a man of faith. Thanks for being my role model, my hero. And thank You, God, for being the same yesterday, today and forever.