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.Genesis 12:1
Abraham is first introduced to us in the closing verses of Genesis 11 and the opening verses of Genesis 12. His name was originally Abram, and it was not until years later that it was changed to Abraham. The reason for this change was highly significant, and we shall examine it in due course, but for the present let us get acquainted with young Abram. The Spirit of God passes over his early life in Ur of the Chaldees with but the briefest notice and begins the sacred record with his encounter with God. This is where life truly begins!
In this meeting, Abram came face to face with a command. Abram was commanded to do three things: leave his country, his people, and his father's household. This is exactly the command that comes to every person who hears the call of the gospel today. We are called to leave our country—the place where we have been living, our residence since birth. This does not mean, of course, our physical residence, but rather the old life with all its ambitions, its loyalties, its worship of money and fame and power, and its imagined independence—which is really slavery—all that we have been by nature since birth. This is clearly a picture of the world-organized society with its satanic philosophies and value systems.
Abram was also told to leave his relatives. In the spiritual sense, these are the moral forces that shape our lives. Just as blood relatives affect us greatly on the physical level, so these moral forces at work today change our lives constantly and color all that we think and do. Others' opinions, human traditions, pressures from family and friends, the attitudes of our employers and others around us—these are the kindred we must be willing to forsake when we hear the call of God. We are to renounce this concern about what others think and be preeminently concerned about what God thinks.
The third thing Abram was to leave was his father's house—that is, the ties with the
old man. In this sense, Adam is the father of us all. What theologians call our
Adamic nature, is the father's house in which we all live. We are called to leave this, to no longer put any dependence upon our looks, talents, or any of our normal resources, but to begin to walk in dependence upon another to do through us what we cannot do ourselves.
Perhaps you have heard the living God of glory say to you,
You must no longer depend upon what you have been depending on—the opinions, the attitudes, the philosophy in which you have been reared. These are wrong. They are based upon the lies of Satan, and you must not live on this basis any longer. You must learn to accept the truth reflected in the Word of God, though it cuts right across the philosophy of this world. You must, above all, leave your father's house, which is dependence upon yourself.
It is a simple but vital decision—you cannot stay in Ur and go to the land at the same time.
Lord, grant me the grace to follow You, regardless of what I must leave behind.
Abraham's story is clearly a pattern for our walk of faith. What are the three aspects of his encounter with God that are parallel to God's call upon our lives?