God’s Mission for Abraham: The Undiscovered Country

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.

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