When I was a kid, my family moved a lot - almost every year. My dad was in the army and before I entered high school I had lived, gone to school, and made new friends in five states, two foreign countries, and one U.S. territory. We didn’t think it was a big deal. Almost everyone we knew did the same thing. Besides, it was my dad’s job. He was an army officer and he obeyed. Being an “army brat”, I followed.
All of this moving, and never really settling down has helped me relate in small ways to Abraham’s family who followed God to places they didn’t know and where they never settled down. They moved because of Abraham’s faith in God, and I think that in a sense we did too. It’s hard for me to fathom how anyone would move all around the world without faith that God was guiding and protecting? But we’re going to talk about Abraham. Hebrews 11 tells us, 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 (11:8-10).
We have seen in Hebrews 11 that faith means believing that God and His promises are real and then stepping out with confidence into the unseen to act on that belief. Hebrews 11 has taught us that Aaron acted in faith by offering acceptable worship to God (a blood sacrifice). Enoch acted in faith by walking with God for over 300 years. Noah acted in faith by working to build the ark as God commanded. Now we see that Abraham acted in faith by following God wherever He led, even into the vast unknown.
In Genesis 12:1-4, we learn that God spoke to Abraham and told him to,
“Go forth from your country,
And from 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 in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
And what was Abraham’s response? He went forth as the Lord had spoken to him.
When God spoke these words to him, Abraham was 75 years old and living in Ur of the Chaldeans (present day Iraq). He was a pagan, descended from pagans, and living in a pagan city (Genesis 11:28 and Joshua 24:2). But God spoke to Abraham with a call and a promise. Abraham believed God’s promise, responded to His call, and followed Him even though he didn’t know where he was going. He traveled to the land of Canaan: first to Shechem, then east of Bethel, and when famine struck, down to Egypt. Later he followed God back to Canaan and lived between Bethel and Ai before finally settling down in Hebron (Genesis 12:5-13:18).
The Hebrews 11 passage tells us that all this time Abraham lived as a sojourner (KJV), or an alien in the land of promise (NASB). He did not settle down as a permanent resident. He never owned a house or land except for a small plot he purchased in his old age to bury Sarah, his wife. He lived in tents with his family, by faith, as a temporary resident in the land of Canaan. Abraham did not follow God in order to acquire a fancy home or riches on this earth. By faith, he was looking ahead to the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). He knew this earth was not his home but that God had prepared a place for him. Abraham looked ahead to his true home - heaven. What plans Abraham might have had for his life before God spoke to Him were left behind as he went forth as the Lord had spoken to him (Genesis 12:4).
So what are your plans for your life? What is God calling you to do? As you read His Word prayerfully, He will speak to your heart, open doors, and guide you. There’s a chorus from a little song my boys sang in our church’s children’s choir that always reminds me to seek and follow God’s leading. It goes like this:
I’m just a child, my life is still before me.
I just can’t wait to see what God has for me.
But I know that I will trust Him
and I’ll wait to see what life will be for me.
As believers, we are all God’s children and we always will be. So why not humble ourselves as children and trust Him and wait for Him to lead the way in our lives. We’re never too old to do that! That’s living by faith! If we’re living by faith, then we’re like Abraham - sojourners here on earth with our eyes on God and our feet ready to jump up and follow Him whenever and wherever He calls.
The things of this world will all pass away, but the promises of God are forever. Will you choose to put your faith in what is fleeting or in our eternal Creator and His Word? The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
May you be blessed along with Abraham the man of faith (Galatians 3:7),
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.