“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.’”Gen. 12:1-2
The above verses are explicit instructions from God to Abram, whose name was later changed to Abraham. It would be difficult for Abram to misunderstand what God was saying to him.
Abram is to “go,” then God will “show,” “make,” “bless,” and “make” again, then finally Abram will simply “be.”
Upon analyzing these two verses, all I can say is “Wow.”
It would be nice to have that kind of crystal clear instruction from God. There would be no confusion or ambiguity. You’d know exactly what was expected of you and precisely what God would then do.
However, God rarely speaks to us in this way. Perhaps the reason why lies in the fact that today, as followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit who speaks to us in a still, small voice. We have to be especially tuned into Him to hear and understand His subtle direction.
If we compare our situation today with that of Abram’s from thousands of years ago, what can we take away from it?
As I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep last night, I began thinking about the subject of faith. Specifically, I thought about the faith of Abram, given the specific instructions he was entrusted with by God, as compared to our faith today when we are so often unsure of what God’s next steps are for us.
Are these the same types of faith? Is it fair to compare Abram’s faith with ours? He had clear, audible communication from God. All he had to do was follow His directions and he was guaranteed to be blessed.
We know that Abram is credited with having great faith.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land”Heb. 11:8-9a
Selfishly I suppose, I can’t help but think to myself that it doesn’t take nearly as much faith to follow the explicit directions Abram was given, compared to the kind of faith it requires to move in a direction that you’re just praying and hoping is what God wants from you.
Why is Abraham specifically mentioned as a biblical character who displayed such great faith? On the surface, it seems all he really did was just follow orders. I could do that (at least I think I could).
Maybe it was harder than it first appears for Abram to leave his home and go to a foreign land. I know it’s not something I’d necessarily want to do. Yet, he followed God’s leading and through him the nation of Israel was formed.
Maybe God had to be explicit with Abram because so much was on the line. If Abram had been uncertain about his calling, his faith might have faltered and the course of history would have taken a drastically different turn.
I believe that God knew what He was doing when He gave Abram those instructions. And I believe He knows what He’s doing when He whispers to us softly in the midst of our busy lives.
It’s just up to us to keep our ears close to Him.