“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.” Genesis 12:4
Just like that. Abram, the childless 75-year-old, gets up and he goes. Why? Because God told him to go. Simple as that.
This wonderful story of faith comes from the Book of Genesis, a portion of which is our reading this morning from the Daily Office Lectionary. Abram is told by God to get up and go to a foreign, unnamed, not-yet-revealed destination. And, without hesitation Abram goes.
Sometimes God is like that: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1b) Sometimes the conversation with God is straight forward. God says; you do. But, most of the time I’d wager that discerning the voice of God, hearing the voice of God, knowing exactly where to go, what to do…is not as clearly stated by God as the command that Abram receives. Those moments of fuzzy discernment, which I think make up the majority of the times when we are actually listening for God’s voice, require of us a healthy amount of trust, of faith.
I think if we were in Abram’s place we’d sit and ponder for a while about what all of this could me. We would probably form a committee…gather our peers…have a debate complete with rules about who got to speak first. Why didn’t Abram do this? Why did he simply get up and go? Because Abram had faith. Later on in Genesis we learn that Abram is righteous before God solely because of his faith. Faith is the only reason that Abram garners God’s favor and goodness. Abram didn’t earn God’s blessing, he didn’t DO anything…he simply had faith that what God said would happen would come to pass.
South African poet Euginia Herlihy writes: “God doesn’t change his word, if He has promised you something; you better believe that is done before its existence.” And so it was with Abram, he believed that God’s word–no matter how outrageous it seemed (land to a migrant, children more numerous than the stars in heaven to a septuagenarian married to one who was barren for decades), would become truth.
Where is God asking you to believe like Abram? Where is God telling you to go? What is standing in the way of your belief, your following the voice of God?
In Christ’s Name,
But I think that Abraham is a little bit crazy. And God has to shout at him to stop killing his own son. I don’t know where you picked up the idea that I wanted you to do that!