Today's Lectionary Text
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
Abram left just as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. Now Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all of their possessions, and those who became members of their household in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as the sacred place at Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. The Canaanites lived in the land at that time. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I give this land to your descendants,” so Abram built an altar there to the Lord who appeared to him. From there he traveled toward the mountains east of Bethel, and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshipped in the Lord’s name. Then Abram set out toward the arid southern plain, making and breaking camp as he went.
It takes a lot of fortitude to hear and obey a call from God. I mean the kind of call that has the potential to take you into places you may not want to go; requires you to leave behind that which makes you comfortable; perhaps even your family.
Abraham (still Abram in the text) was the first person, so far as we know from the biblical record, in a long, long time to hear the voice of God. We don’t know why God chose Abraham but choose him God did. And when God told Abraham to leave his home and set off with his wife, household, and belongings for a new place, he went. He set off to go where this God told him to go.
God still calls people to go where God tells us and do things that may take us far from home and comfort zone. It isn’t hard to answer God’s call when it doesn’t cost us anything more than a little time or a few dollars. But when we hear God’s voice – or get a nudge from the Holy Spirit – pointing us in the direction of something that makes us uncomfortable or requires of us serious sacrifice, it’s a lot harder to respond to that call with obedience.
But when God told Abraham to pack up and move to a new place God also gave Abraham a promise. God promised this aging, childless man that he would become a great nation and that he would be a blessing. All he had to do was follow where God led.
There have been many times in my life when I felt that I was being nudged (sometimes even pushed!) into going where God was leading me when I didn’t want to go. Fear of the unknown can paralyze me if I let it. I suspect that is true for a lot of people.
The story of Abraham’s call reminds me that, just as God made a promise of hope to Abraham, we also have promises of hope. We have the promise of the Resurrection that is hope for our eternity. But we also have the promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit to go with us wherever we are sent – here, now. All we need to do is respond with obedience to God’s call.
--Rev. Robbie Fall, retired Elder
*Devotion originally published 9/15/2019
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, speak to me; direct me; and open my heart to obey when you call. Amen.
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