We see God instructing Abram to leave Haran for a new land that Yahweh would direct him to. Terah, Abraham’s father, had received the same call a generation earlier but had settled in Haran and lived out his days there. You see, God’s gifts and calling are without repentance (Romans 11:29). God’s plans remain unthwarted, the choice to plug in and reap the benefit is ours. Terah settled in Haran, short of his destination, and now we find Abram picking up the mantle and carrying on after hearing the calling from God. When God calls to follow, we will have an idea of where he’s leading us to, but it’s unlikely that we will have the full picture; His revelation comes in stages. Gen 12:1 “Get going out from your land…to the land that I will show you.” To the land that I will show you is a somewhat ambiguous destination. It’s a destination that will require full reliance of the giver of the instruction, the guide.
If someone were to instruct you to go to a specified destination, you would have your matching orders and get going. But if the instructions were that you are to start out on a journey, the destination of which will be revealed as the journey unfolds, that’s a whole other ballgame. “To the land that I will show you…” You will not be able to rely on your prowess to navigate the land, to climb the hills and go down valleys, to maneuver along streams and rivers. Instead, your focus will be on staying alive and listening for directions so you know which way to go, where to turn, when to stop, etcetera.
I enjoy understanding the heart of God better and better. I enjoy identifying patterns of his dealings with mankind. It offers a roadmap to us on our current journeys, and some consolation that not knowing is all part of the plan. God is a wise God. I say that because he has found a way to make errant man stay connected with him in the face of such vague instructions. He longs to accompany us on life’s journey and so he finds a way to make it so we are dependent on him for guidance and direction.
It’s in the not-knowing that our faith is built. If we knew, we wouldn’t need faith, for faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). We understand from the word that faith is imperative if we are to inherit our promises from God. If we can see everything from the onset, we have no need for faith. And yet faith is a requirement if we are to lay a hold of those promises. When God makes us wait, it’s for the very reason that he wants us to build our faith in him, enlarge our capacity to receive his directions and his blessings.
My heart’s desire is to bless you, to make you into a great nation, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing, to bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, to bless all the families of the earth through you – Gen 12:2-3. That was God’s promise to Abraham. God cares to give us good gifts, to bless us. Yet Abraham looked beyond all these, enquiring only after God’s promise about a son, wondering who would inherit all that God was promising him. It’s no wonder then that God called himself Abraham’s shield and his very great reward (Gen. 15:1).
Yet often, we perceive serving God as losing out on something. We insist on making our own agendas, fighting our own battles, chatting our own course, going our own way, walking in our own understanding, shunning him. How do we not trust he who created us, he who holds the very key to our life? Do we not realize the blessings he holds in store for us if we choose to follow his instructions? How dare we ever think we know better, that we can do better? “They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness”, says the Psalmist 82:5. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” 1 John 1:6.
All we have when we set out is a set of instructions and an inkling of the destination. If we trust that gentle Holy Spirit nudge and keep heading that way, we too will get to our promised land. But in order to get there, then we must stay connected to God, intently listening for his voice so we don’t miss the signs along the road posts. If you’re a fellow sojourner, let us encourage one another today to keep trudging along that road with our hand in the master’s hand, fully trusting his plan even in the face of overwhelming uncertainty.