Friday, January 8, 2010

The Calling of Abram - The Promise

In Genesis 12, God begins to call forth for Himself a race of people, a nation, chosen for Himself. He begins with the calling of a man named Abram and He calls Abram to, "leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12:1).

And this calling, if Abraham will follow, comes with a promise. To be more exact, it comes with a package of promises...

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3)

Who in the world was Abram to receive such a calling? What was it about Abram that God saw to which this great opportunity was bestowed upon him? At the point of the calling, the Bible has said very little about Abram except for that he was the son of Terah and had moved from Ur to Haran and that he had taken a wife (Sarai). Later we will learn of Abram's character and faithfulness as he follows God's calling for his life. But my question is why did God call Abram and not someone else?

I have heard and read many explanations through the years to answer this question but the truth is we really do not know. What we do know is that God's ways and thoughts (and actions) are so far above us that there are so many things He does that we cannot and do not understand. As high as the heavens are above the earth, as far as the east is from the west, so are His ways and thoughts are over ours.

One thing that is clear throughout the Abram story and that of his descendants. God constantly chooses the weak, the youngest, the least, and even the foolish to accomplish His purpose. It's almost as if God is saying, "If I can show you that I can do My will through these bozos, I can do it through anyone - even you." It is also apparent to me that God constantly chooses those who are pretty ordinary to say to the world, "Look at what my power can do; take the ordinary and make it extraordinary!" Finally, I think it is also a way of Him making His glory shine forth through a place/person whereby the world has to look and say, "Only God could do that" and He then gets His due honor and glory.

So, we don't know much about Abram, his qualities or his qualifications to be chosen of God. We do know that the important thing was his response to God's calling and overtures. "Leave your country...and I will..." What a great step of faith Abraham must have made. At 75 years old. At an age where, if many of us are fortunate to make it one day, we would be content to sit on the porch and watch grandkids, Abram picked up his tent pegs, family and possessions and followed.

In the end, I don't know why God chose Abram but I guess it really doesn't matter. What matters is Abram's response to following God's call for his life.

May all of us have the same faith...

Next blog: The promise unpacked...

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