In Genesis 12, God calls Abram out of Ur to the land of Canaan giving him several promises. Abram along with his wife, Sarai, and his nephew, Lot follow God to the land of Canaan. They reach Canaan but as a result of a famine in the land, they travel to Egypt. In Egypt, Abram denies Sarai as his wife in fear of Pharaoh and his people. Pharaoh about to sleep with Sarai is plagued by God and Pharaoh returns Sarai to Abram and commands them to leave their land.
“Go forth from your country,” God declares. The land that Abram has lived, the people he has been with since he was born, God wants him to leave. Why is it so important for Abram to leave his country? What is there that is so bad? Abram was from a country that is wicked and rebellious in its ways. People are defined at where they live and who they live with. People are defined by their culture. Culture is everywhere and we grow up and are raised in a certain culture. We then know that culture and if we have lived only in that culture, that is all we know. So when God calls Abram out of his country, He is not only telling him to part ways with where he lives, but also to part ways with who he is. God is calling Abram out of his wicked and rebellious ways, and this is first priority for all who God calls.
“To the land which I will show you,” God says. After God tells Abram to leave his country, He proclaims where Abram will be headed. In essence, He is saying “I am taking you where I want you to be. I want you in a new land, with new people, with new culture.”
“And will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse,” God continues. God is taking Abram from his country into God’s country because He wants to change Abram from a wicked and rebellious man into a good and righteous man. It isn’t about Abram’s location but rather his character. God calls men to righteousness.
“And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” God does not want only Abram but all His people to be good and righteous.
But with this magnificent call from God, the call is to the unknown. Abram has no idea what is out there for him if he goes. All he has is his family in a comfortable land and a mysterious call to the unknown in which he can and must trust and depend on the God who is calling. This is our situation also. We have this call from God but we don’t know what is ahead of us if we follow the call. This is the truth that we must accept. We can stay in our rebellious and wicked ways or follow God’s calling and trust that He will not break His promise.
Abram does follow God’s call into the unknown and brings his wife and nephew and all his possessions, and this is what we must do also. Abram takes the call and puts complete faith in God to deliver in His promises. This is what is required of us also. We must put our faith in God and trust that He will take us to the land He promised.
“To your descendants I will give this land.” And this is where it settles in. Here is where we understand that in this world, we will always be strangers. Our home is not here but rather with God. This world is always full of rebellious and wicked people so we must wait for the world to be ready as Canaan wasn’t ready either as the inhabitants at that time were rebellious and wicked also. We will always be roaming this world waiting to come home. But we are not to roam aimlessly around this world however. As Abram in every place he was he built an altar and worshipped God, we shall do the same. Wherever we are, our worship shall not cease.
As Abram was roaming Canaan, he was driven out of it into Egypt by a famine and was tempted by Pharoah and his people. Although Abram had faith in God to travel to Canaan, his faith faltered as he feared Pharoah and his people, and as we go, we will have temptations and have our faith fail us at times. The good news is that God does not throw us under the bus for our failures, but rather delivers us out of them and continues to be faithful in His promises.
In the end, God’s call is to remake us from our wickedness and rebellion into holiness and righteousness, but it is not an instant action yet a long journey that we must travel.