Pack Your Bags

Genesis 12: 1, 4 – 5

“Go from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.”

So Abram went away as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the people which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan.

We are still talking about getting in the game which is a metaphor for seeking God’s beautiful plan for our lives and following it. Yesterday we saw that Abraham’s (Abram) Father, Terah, began well but stopped short of God’s plan for him. It could well be that Terah was to be the Father of many nations. He headed towards Canaan but stopped in Haran. Unfortunately for Terah, the blessing was in Canaan, not Haran. He missed his boat.

In today’s passage we witness God telling Abram to pack up his family and belongings and head to Canaan. The difference between Abram and his father, Terah, is that Abram followed through.

This is actually the beginning of the blessing. Look at verses 2 and 3, “And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” It is through Abram’s execution of God’s plan that we enjoy the blessing today. All families of the earth are blessed because Abraham packed his bags and followed God’s plan for his life.

God was looking for someone to covenant with so that He could get the blessing to humanity and Abraham volunteered through obedience. Abraham is called the Father of Faith, and I don’t deny that, but it was obedience that made Abram into Abraham and brought the blessing to you and to me. It was obedience through which the covenant was able to be implemented.

Abraham understood that God had a good plan for him and he believed that God would make that promise into a fact. He believed God and followed the plan. Because of that he became the father of nations. Because he followed through on God’s plan, the entire world is blessed. I just want to remind you of Jeremiah 29: 11 to let you think about how God thinks about us and operates with us, “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Amen!

Favor and Light

Psalm 44:3

For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them.

Here is a good example of partnership with God and I hope you find it encouraging because the favor of God was sufficient weaponry to possess the land.

What land are you trying to take? Is it a new job, financial security, a big project? How about raising kids? Whatever your big goals, you don’t have to do it in the power of your might. We kind of know that but we often know it intellectually rather than experientially. I find that I can have very strong theology when we sit and chat but that in the moment of everyday happenings, my inner self does not always act out those intellectual beliefs. I may even hold to those beliefs very strongly and would argue adamantly about them but still not instinctively employ them in day to day life. This partnership with God theology is one of the largest ideals I write about. However, the practical application can be somewhat enigmatic. How do we actually allow God to be our strong right hand? How do we come to own Canaan if not by our own sword? Is our Puritan work ethic a hindrance to walking by faith or is it what makes for quality individuals? Better still, do we misuse our work ethic?

I believe in setting goals, determining what is required in order to reach them and then setting realistic activity goals. If one wants X, what will be required in order to attain X? Secondarily, am I willing to do what is required? However much I admire this approach I must recognize that it is still a worldly process. That is not to say that I recommend rejecting it, it just means that it is only the beginning of the method. The more important step is taking all of this to God, talking with Him about it and then, more importantly, listening to Him. If we seek the goals He has for us then we will start off on the right track. Second, once we have God’s vision for our future, then we should enquire of the course. What would He have us do? He will tell us our part if we listen. Then we don’t run off half-cocked making a mess of big dreams.

I want God to win the goal for me. That sounds infinitely better than toiling. God will hand Canaan into our hands if we will follow Him. Most interesting of all, today’s verse reveals that His presence was the key to obtaining the goal. We have only to walk in the shadow of His glory, follow along in the footsteps He leaves as He leads and the next thing we know will be the Promised Land.

What do you want? What do you really, really want? Is there a goal out there that is almost too big to even dream? Maybe your dream is even too big to talk about but the light of His presence can bring it to pass. This takes some meditation. Today’s verse is really poignant, and I hope you will ponder it. When we learn to walk with God such that His hand delivers the victory then all things shall be possible. Remember, the Israelites defeated a city by walking around it. God’s way is not usually our way but we can learn to hear Him and follow His direction instead of launching out in the power of our might and when we do, even those biggest of dreams will be yours!