Henry Blackaby and Claude King point out in their spiritually formative book, Experiencing God (1994), that when “God invites you to work with Him,” you will be led to “a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.” They add to this that you “must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.” This crisis of faith hinges on whether you will accept God’s invitation. Will you say “yes” or “no”?
If you accept God’s mission, the authors would remind us, then your life is about to change significantly. The biblical stories bear this out. No one God has ever called was allowed to live life as it had been previously. Think of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Deborah, Samson, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jesus, His apostles, and Paul, just to name a few. Their lives were radically changed because they accepted God’s call.
Abraham serves as an exemplar for those who would accept God’s call. Abram, as he was known in the early years of his life, was living among this family in the center of civilization among the ancient people of Babylon (known as Sumer by historians). The city of Ur, his hometown, was well-known for its luxury and sophistication. Ur was a someplace. Important people came to live in Ur.
One day the predictability of his life was shattered forever. God called. Abram! Leave your country, your people and your father’s family and go to the land I will show you. But Abraham does not actually get to “own” the land, outside of being buried there. The land, however, was only a part of the package that God had planned for Abraham. The God who called promised: I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Sounds like a good deal, right? Yet before Abraham’s story is over, he will have to run to Egypt to escape a famine in the good land God promised him, he will nearly lose his wife twice to protect his own life, and his relationship with his nephew Lot will disintegrate. Moreover, attempting to make God’s call work to his benefit, Abraham will seek to adopt his servant; his wife Sarah will seek to speed the process along by offering her servant Hagar to Abraham so they can have a heir; and to top it off, Sarah will laugh at God’s messengers when they promise that she will have a child. You see, when God calls you, you will have to make some radical adjustments.
Nonetheless, in the end, Abraham and Sarah will show that they are committed to God’s plan. Despite Abraham’s missteps and occasional lack of faith, he proves faithful even if it means sacrificing the promised heir—because he learns that the God who calls is also the God who is faithful.
This God has a mission for you. He wants to lead you to the yet undiscovered country.
3 thoughts on “God’s Mission for Abraham: The Undiscovered Country”
Nice Stan. Thanks for posting this site on Facebook. I am being called back to ministry and I am taking your comments to heart. I know the truth of what you are saying. I just don’t know where God is sending us – at least not for certain.
And as soon as I try to add things up so they compute, God may be using different math. So, I believe He takes the mystery out of calling by a general calling to “do good” in Jesus’ name and proudly acknowledge His sacrifice and Resurrection. Doing this good with people as each opportunity is given is in effect answering the call. Additionally, if I will consistently move in His direction through prayer and communion with Him and His people – He will draw closer to me. The result will be a clearer calling – and perhaps an opportunity or opportunities (God has a sense of humor, after all) that presents itself for ordination. Then I have a choice. And I use the term ordination loosely. Some might see that event as the graduation ceremony before entering ministry. Some may see it as a paycheck, a title and a coller. I see it as God’s commissioning of a leader who has been given responsibility to equip other leaders and volunteers to march up a bloody hill in the face of major opposition. So, we should not enter ministry lightly whether volunteer or paid. The good news is, we win. Thanks for inspiring me Stan.
Frank, I’m glad to see you wrestling with God’s call on your life; I have no doubt that God has called you–that is his way–but we sometimes struggle to grab that calling, make sense of it, and sometime resist it. So let me encourage you to focus on God’s Mission, not yours. His mission is to form distinct people to live a God-kind of life for the good of the world. May God bless you as you discern where He wants you to be now. Let me know if I can help.
Stan, thanks. Wise counsel this: “Focus on God’s mission, not your own.” Thank you. That is what I am doing. I know if I serve Him with the opportunities provided that He will make a way. He always does.
I believe God values relationships above everything else. It’s a lesson I learned back in the mid 80’s from Landon Saunders’ “Heart of The Fighter” series while we preached at Ovilla. God created us to relate to us. He has formed us to relate to Him – 1st, and 2nd has comissioned us to gather His relatives together with a common mission. So, a missional church will relate to Him intentionally, and then intentionally generate relationship with his creation here – resulting in a global climate shift for the good – spiritually. I see that as my co-mission.
I think we’re on the same page (no pun intended).