Have you wondered why God chose Abraham?
We know that God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jews, the people who would eventually bring forth Jesus. But why was he so special? What was there about Abraham that made God choose him?
Something set him apart from others of his day. What was it?
Well, let’s take a look at him. We first meet Abraham in Genesis 11 and 12.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country and your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you;and I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you and make your name great. And so you shall be a blessing, and I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you, I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.So Abram went forth as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
There are several things to consider here. First, the man’s name was not Abraham at the time. He was called Abram, which means High Father. He must have been somewhat arrogant, and as you read the following chapters, you see a man who had many flaws. But two things were significant. He believed God and he obeyed Him.
Another thing to consider is that when God calls you to a new assignment, He takes you where you are and leads you step by step. Over the next decades God was going to show Himself very strong toward Abram, but he wasn’t going to do it all at once. He gave a glimpse of the future glory when he said “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” But there is no way that Abram could have understood the magnitude of God’s promise or exactly what the promise was.
Nevertheless, Abram listened and obeyed that first directive, and it was a huge one. He had to leave his country, his family, all that he had ever known and travel to a country he didn’t know anything about.Hebrews:11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations whose architect and builder is God.
It is amazing to think of a man who wasn’t born again and who didn’t have the Bible, as we do, who was willing to leave everything because God told him to. Wow! That is faith! And that is the kind of faith we want to strive for.
What is that faith exactly? When God speaks, we believe it. We trust Him and know that what He says is true – even when we don’t understand it. And we obey.
My husband and I have had a hint of what Abram went through. Though we had lived most of our adult lives in Atlanta, He called us to a very small town in northern Mississippi to start a church. The pace, the culture, the shopping, the arts – everything was different from what we had known before, but we knew for certain that God had spoken and we obeyed.
So 22 years ago we started a church in our home. Eventually we met in an old theater building which we bought and renovated. Has the path always been easy? Absolutely not. There have been disappointments at times. But as we would seek God’s guidance and encouragement, He would always lift us up and energize us again.
Maybe that’s one reason I like Abraham so much. He is truly a role model. I am sure that there were times when he missed his country and his people. He lived in tents, so he never had the true comfort of being settled. But he obeyed anyway, and he was blessed.
As we continue in the next few chapters of Genesis we see God’s prophecies increasing in clarity. Abram became rich, but the one thing he wanted most of all was a son – an heir. In chapter 15, God appeared to Abram and established a covenant with him. As Abram brought the required sacrifices, he fell into a deep sleep and God spoke to him. Speaking of Abram’s heirs who would eventually possess Canaan, God unfolded the future. Abram’s descendants were to go into a land which was not theirs. They would stay there for 400 years and serve the strangers. At the end of that time, they would come out with “great possessions” and enter into the land of Canaan. (Indeed all of this did eventually come true, as Abram’s descendants went into Egypt).
Yet Abram had to wait longer for the promise of his son. Finally when he was 99 years old, God appeared to him again and cut another covenant. He changed his name to “Abraham.” (The Father Of Many Nations). He also changed Sarai (Contentious One) to Sarah (Princess). There was one more thing Abraham had to do to seal his part of the covenant. He had to circumcise himself and all the males in his household. Then one year later Sarah would give birth to the son of promise. Abraham once again obeyed and God blessed him as he had promised.
I hope that today you will spend some time reading this account of Abraham in it’s entirety. God was looking for someone who would really believe Him when he spoke. And someone who would obey.
He is still today looking for such people. You want your prayers to be powerful and to change things around you? They will be just that when your faith is based on God’s Word, which He has spoken to you. Pray that God will open your ears to hear what He speaks to you. When you hear, you believe, and when you believe, you obey.
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