Wednesday, March 5

Following God like Abraham

At Quest, we've been talking about what God intended for the relationship between God and people to look like in the aftermath of sin entering the picture. When Adam and Eve chose to sin, they broke the relationship between themselves and God. But God was not content to leave the relationship broken. So we’ve started looking at some of the interactions between God and people in Genesis.

Recently, we started looking at Abraham. The life of Abraham, and his interactions with God can tell us a lot about what God wanted the relationship with people to look like. A full quarter of the book of Genesis is about Abraham, which tells us how significant he really is. This week, we started by looking at our very first introduction to Abraham, when he is still called Abram. In Genesis 11:27-12:9 we see the story of God calling Abraham to leave his country and go to a place God would show him. Here are some of the things we discussed when talking about the story.

· As has been the case throughout Genesis, we see a God who is interested in personally interacting with people. God comes and actually talks with Abram. Additionally, this interaction is much more like the interaction between friends rather than someone commanding another person to do something. You can see it in Genesis 12:2-3, where God lets Abram in on his plan. God gives Abram a glimpse of what the future will look like if he makes the trip. This kind of sharing of future plans is the kind of things that happens among friends.

· We also still see that God wants to be our first priority. God asks Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household. (Genesis 12:1). Essentially, he is asking Abram, which is more important, your family and friends and comfort, or me? When God asks us that question, he wants us to answer that God is the most important thing.

· Following God requires faith. Abram had to demonstrate faith in God to do what God was asking. We also talked about how in modern Christianity, faith has been equated with belief. We often think that a person has faith in God if they believe in him. But that’s not the picture we see here, or in other places in the Bible. What we see here is that faith requires action, not just belief. We also see it in the “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11, where it discusses the faith of many people from the Old Testament. In almost every case in Hebrews 11, the people who had faith did something. The lesson is that we don’t really need faith in something if we aren’t going to take any action.

· God loves us and wants us to love him. If you look at 1 Corinthians 13:13, it tells us that “now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” That seems to be telling us that faith and love are really the same kind of thing. So, like faith, love really requires action. It’s not just an emotion. We can say that we love some one, but if it is really true, there will always be action to demonstrate that love. In the case of this story, the action demonstrating love that God is looking for is for Abram to go like God asked. God then demonstrates his love for Abram by blessing him, making him a great nation, and giving him the land he went to.

· Often, God gives us freedom to how we act out his wishes. I’ve always found it interesting that God didn’t tell Abram where to go. He just said “go,” and that he would let Abram know when Abram got to the right place. Where exactly Abram went, and how he got there were up to Abram.

Those are the highlights of our discussion about God’s call of Abram and about what this tells us concerning God’s desire for his relationship with people. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to continue looking at Abraham and seeing what God’s relationship with Abraham can tell us.

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