By Genesis 12, the recording of time has slowed down from millenia and centuries to years and months, and focused on one man in Mesopotamia. By a direct intervention in his life (the means is not revealed), God the Creator told Abram to “go”. It was a directive to leave family, homelands and security behind, to travel by foot many months travel, to an unknown land amongst unknown people. The directive came with assurances (Genesis 12:1-3), of greatness in name and descendants, blessing and a long-lasting heritage.
Abram went, with his wife Sarai and nephew Lot. He went by faith, a faith that has been described as “dynamic, trusting, maturing and tested.” He could not know what he faced or his future (Hebrews 11:8), but the intervening God who spoke to him clearly impacted him. He trusted this God (who was not one of his family’s silent deities).
The rest of the Hebrew Scriptures tells the story of Abram, his descendants who came to be known by the renaming of his grand-son ‘Israel’ (or ‘strives with God’), and their dynamic, trusting, maturing and tested relationship. God’s love and faithfulness remained constant toward them, but theirs was a struggle to stay faithful to Him. All the time they looked forward to the day when God would set Himself amongst them and lift His people up into power and authority.
Little did they realise that as Jesus was lifted up on the cross, His power and authority were being established in our world. The Jews (descendants of the Israelites) argued that as descendants of Abraham they were God’s chosen people by birthright and that could not be removed. Jesus reminded them that a child remained in a parent’s house by the parent’s will – and if they did not follow God’s will in faithfulness, they would lose their birthright.
God directed Abram to “go”. Jesus says the same to those who call themselves His people, and He adds on promises as well. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me… Go and make disciples, baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teach everything I have taught… and I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Will you go and do so in faith that is dynamic, trusting, maturing and tested?