God’s Call to Abraham — Seeing It God’s Way (Dec. 14)
Posted on December 11, 2014
Did you know supplemental Bible commentary is available for every MasterWork lesson in the MasterWork Leader Supplement? (www.lifeway.com/masterwork, 5.75 per quarter) Here is a portion of the commentary for this week from Genesis 12:1-3 (Day Three). I hope it gives you some additional insight as you prepare to teach the lesson, “Seeing It God’s Way.”
Abram had everything a man could want—a familiar homeland, a supportive extended family, and a respectable life in his father’s house. He was part of a highly civilized culture. He journeyed with his father, Terah, as “they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan” (Gen. 11:31). They took the familiar route, following the Fertile Crescent, of proceeding northwest along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers toward Haran (HAY ran) before turning to the southwest toward the land of Canaan. Halfway to Canaan, Terah died. The compulsion not to continue on to Canaan and to return to the security of familiar surroundings in Ur must have been strong in Abram’s mind. At this decisive point in his life, the Lord spoke to Abram (12:1). God was calling him to something different.
God’s call came with a cost. This passage contains the first conversation Abram had with the God who would become his very life. This conversation inaugurated the relationship between Abram and the Lord. What did the Lord say to Abram? He told him to walk away from everything he knew: his land, his relatives, and his father’s house. To do this Abram had to let go of his community, his security, and his identity. The faith Abram needed to succeed in the future was the same faith he needed to trust the Lord with the changes he faced in the present.
God’s call came with an obscurity. Abram did not know “where he was going” (Heb. 11:8) or understand immediately all the Lord had in store for him. He knew only that God’s call seemed stronger than the compulsion to stay in Haran. His obedience was not conditioned on perfect clarity or comfort.
God’s call came with a promise. The Lord promised to bless Abram in every way. God would bless Abram and his barren wife Sarai with children and grandchildren through multiple generations, so many in fact that Abram would become a great nation. God promised to bless Abram and make his name great. God also promised that Abram would be a blessing to others. God promised to bless those who bless him and curse those who treated him with contempt. The promise of blessing those who blessed Abram meant that God would enable other people to flourish when they supported Abram. Conversely, when they took him lightly, treating Abram with contempt instead of respect, the Lord would curse them by preventing them from being successful. Ultimately, all the peoples on earth would be blessedthrough Abram and his descendants, meaning God would make His blessings flow through Abram and his family.
When we find ourselves trying to settle in a new and unfamiliar place, apprehension, uncertainty, and fear can fill our minds. Back home we were surrounded by our family, whose loving embrace and understanding gave us a strong sense of security. In our new surroundings, we are unknown. Back home everyone knew us and they knew our father and his father before him. In the new place, we feel like strangers in a foreign land. Only God’s presence enables us to survive and to thrive.
God’s call might not make sense, but we should not make our obedience dependent on whether His call seems logical. We should be prepared to leave our comfort zones to follow God’s call if need be.
From the very beginning, God revealed His purpose for the nations, and His purpose involves using us. When we see the world as God sees it, we see every person and every people group and every nation in need of the gospel. That is what this lesson is about. Pray that God would help each person your group to have clarity of vision to see (1) the world in focus as God sees it and (2) his or her role in taking the gospel to all people.