Abraham's Call Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."—Hebrews 11:8.
Abraham’s faith is the most famous faith there is because he is called the Father of the Faithful. I am sure that his faith grew during his many trials, and the faith that he displayed when he prepared to slay his son at the command of God was certainly strong. Trials are at the root of faith; they are tests which temper our faith. The most important trial that Abraham faced may have been the first one we are told about. He was told by God that he must go to a land that he knew nothing about.
Now, as we consider Abraham’s faith, the first thing that we should do is to LOOK AT ABRAHAMS LIFE.
In the beginning, Abraham’s family worshiped idols. Later on, they became worshippers of the true God, but there was a lot of ignorance mixed in with their worship, and occasionally their old idolatrous habits returned.
The Lord, who had chosen Abraham to be his servant and the father of His chosen people, told him to leave his friends and relatives. He told him to leave the Ur of the Chaldees, and go to the land of Canaan; which He promised to give him as an inheritance.
Let’s consider first, what Abraham left, and then where Abraham went.
What did he have to leave? He had to leave behind many friends and family. He took his father, Terah with him, but he died after going only part of the way. Before he died, he was sick for quite awhile, and that detained Abraham. But after he died, Abraham went on his way, obedient to God’s command. However, he left behind the house in which he had been brought up, the family that raised him and loved him, and all those whom he had known. And he left his native country behind.
This was not an easy move for Abraham because he was wealthy and there were huge flocks and herds, and all his possessions, which had accumulated over the years. He had to leave all this, and he had to leave the good pastures where his flocks and his father's flocks had been fed, and he went into the wilderness. He must give up all his vineyards, and his fig trees, and go to some place that was unknown to him.
Have you ever been separated from those you love? I have, and it broke my heart. I believe that we can all sympathize with what Abraham had to go through when he left home, and family, and country, to go to an unknown land.
Now, let’s consider the place where Abraham was going. When men leave their country, they want to know what sort of country they are going to. If it is a richer country than their own, they may be sorry that they’re leaving, but they will go there for the promise of a better life. And maybe, after they have lived there for a little while, they may almost forget their mother country, and settle down in their adopted land. But Abraham didn’t know anything about the country that he was moving to; all he had was God's promise that it would be his inheritance. His father and mother may have warned him against going, saying that it was a wild goose chase.
But Abraham was a wise man, so he ignored all the negative things that his friends and family had to say, and he made God’s promise his desire. So when Abraham went forth, he didn’t have a clue about where he was going. One of his friends may have told him, "The journey will be a long one." "You are probably right," said Abraham, "but God will help me along the way." "The end of your journey may be disappointing," they say. "No," Abraham replies, "it cannot be disappointing because I believe that God will be with me. Wherever He takes me, I will lack for nothing.” So Abraham took the journey, and God did not desert him; He provided for all his needs.
So far we have seen what Abraham left and where he was going, and now I would like for you to see how he went.
We read that when he was commanded to go, he obeyed. God had hardly spoken when Abraham replied. If God directs us to act, we should do it at once. Abraham went without any hesitation. He did not say, "Lord, give me a little time: I will go in a week.” He didn’t say, “Allow me to go and bury my father first." And, he didn’t say, "Lord let me stay until I have harvested my crops." No, he was commanded to go, and he went without hesitation. There were no arguments between God and Abraham because God has not invited His people to reason with him with human arguments. But He has invited sinners to do it. He has said, "Come now and let us reason together."
When men have no faith, God invites them to argue, but when they have faith, arguing with God becomes a sin. Abraham did not ask any questions: he was not like Moses: he did not say, "Who am I that thou shouldest send me;" but when he was commanded to go, he went and he followed God without hesitation. I believe that he left his father's house as willingly as he had ever gone into it. His friends said his journey was absurd, but to him it was the happiest and the best journey he had ever undertaken, because God was with him; and if a star did not guide him as it did the wise men to Bethlehem, there must have been a star shining in his heart, that lightened his footsteps and sent him happily toward his new home. He went cheerfully, not knowing where he was going. It is love that makes us willing and obedient to God. It is love that springs from faith and flies to do the will of God.
Now notice that when Abraham began his journey he didn’t lay down any conditions.
If God had commanded him to go across the Atlantic, Abraham would have obeyed. His feet would have been willing to attempt a miracle, and the Ocean floor would have been dry ground for him. We may rest assured that when Abraham started, he didn’t ask any questions about how far or to what place he was going. He left that all in the hands of God. His faith put its hand inside the hand of his Heavenly Father, and he was content to be led wherever his Father would lead him.
Next, we shall see that Abraham's faith was well rewarded.
I think that in spite of all the trials that Abraham went through, you and I might even envy his situation. What a blessed man he was. Even his dreams were blessed. The Lord was his shield and his exceeding great reward. A land was given to him, and it was not a barren land? The ancient Jews used to say that Canaan was the breast of the world; because it was flowing with milk and honey. God gave him all the land from the Nile River to the River Euphrates. And in his mind, he saw a nation as numerous as the sand of the sea living in this land. And he expected an even greater blessing. He could see the day when his sons would witness the second coming of Christ in their own land, a time when all the people would love and serve God.
Now, I would like for you to consider that YOU AND I MAY BE PLACED IN THE SAME POSITION. Many people, when they are first saved, have to pass through the same trials that Abraham had to bear. Some of us had religious parents, so when we were saved, it was a happy event. But others were born to parents who ignored God. I may be talking to some right now. No sooner did you begin to attend church, than your father was the first to laugh at you, and when they found you on your knees in prayer, your mother, brothers, and sisters all made fun of you. You may have suffered a lot of persecution in your own home.