Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Call of God (Abraham's first sacrifice)

Imagine living in one of the great prospering cities of the United States with all the conveniences of our modern day technology. Anything you may ever need is at your fingertips and available 24 hours a day. Not only your basic needs, but also your wants, any types of entertainment, pampering or luxury that you may desire. You are living your life in comfort when you receive a call from God. He wants you to leave all of this to follow Him. Following Him means constantly moving from one place to another in temporary housing. In fact your only protection from the natural elements is a tent. Even more, the Lord tells you He is leading you to a land of great promise, but He is not telling you ahead of time where that land is located AND you won't actually see the land yourself. It is for your descendants. Oh yeah, you are also past the normal age for bearing children and are currently childless!

Now answer me honestly, what would your response be? I know we've all heard and/or read the story about Abraham being called by God to leave his land, but have we really thought about it. Have we thought about what Abraham gave up, especially conisdering he did not really know where he was going. Would we have responded the same way he did?

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran they settled there.
~Genesis 11:31

The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you". . .So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.
~Genesis 12:1 & 4

In Genesis it tells us Abram left Ur with his father and they settled in Harran. From there God called Abram and told him to leave all that he knew to go to the land He (God) would show him. Not the land He had already shown him, but which He would show him.

Now, to hit this home a bit more lets understand what Ur and Harran were like at this time in history. They were not little, poor villages. They were both great cities at the time and about as modern as you could get at that time.

Ur was no small village. It was one of the oldest, most important cities of Mesopotamia, covering an area of about four square miles by the Euphrates River, which empties into the Persian Gulf. The citizens of Ur lived in walled safety. They enjoyed the advantages of the highest culture and civilization of their time.

From the comfort, advantages, and sophistication of Ur, Jehovah called Abraham and his family to a seminomadic way of life.
~Christ in the Passover - Ceil & Moishe Rosen

I did a search on Harran and found it was "a centre of Mesopotamian culture which in its prime controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Nineveh and Carchemish." (courtesy of Wikipedia).

I know for me, I've seen Abram/Abraham leaving all he knew to live in tents for the Lord to be an amazing step of faith. However to put it into perspective and really understand what he was leaving behind really humbles me. I've always thought of his life before and after the call to be primitive. However, based on my recent studies I'm beginning to rethink this. Even though Ur and Harran may seem primitive compared to what we know now, to Abraham what he was giving up was no different than what we would be giving up in today's world. Could I do the same and willingly give up all that I know to follow the call of God? Could you?

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