Genesis 12:1-4

1 Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you."

4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him.

Imagine getting a direct message from God. That's exactly what happened to Abram. He did not have a godly upbringing. His father Terah and the rest of his ancestors served other gods (Joshua 24:2). There doesn't seem to be any reason to expect God to speak to Abram. Nevertheless, He did. I don't know exactly how. Maybe he had a dream or a vision. Maybe he heard a voice from heaven. Maybe Christ Himself came in the form of a man and spoke with Him. But no matter how He did it, God spoke to Abram. He had a message for him. He said "Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you."

That wasn't really an easy message to receive. The message is "Go". Leave everything that you've grown up with, and all that is familiar to you. Put it all behind you.

That wouldn't have been easy for Abram. He was a successful man. He had acquired flocks and herds. He was rich in livestock, and in silver and gold (Gen 13:2). He had numerous servants and herdsmen (Gen 14:14, 13:7). It seems that the land he was in had been good to him. But God said, "pack up and go".

Go where? He didn't say. "Just start traveling, Abram. Don't worry about the destination. I'll lead you along the way."

Abram was asked to leave, not knowing where he was going (Heb 11:8). He didn't have a clear destination, but what He did have was God's promises. "I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing... All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you."

Abram believed God. He trusted Him to fulfill his promises. He valued them more than the life he was asked to leave behind. He went.

And God did fulfill His promises.

Romans 15:4 says that the things in Scripture were written for our learning, so let's see what we can learn from Abraham's story.

God called Abraham, and he calls us as well. He calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9). He asks us to forsake the world, with all of its lusts and pleasures, and follow Him. Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever (1 John 2:15-17).

I confess that it isn't easy to forsake the world. The world says "Put yourself first. Do whatever will make you happy. If it feels good, do it". My flesh says "Yes, absolutely." But God says "No. That's sin." Anything that cannot be done with a good conscience under God is sin. Sin is serious. It separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). It will keep us from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might when He comes (2 Th 1:9).

But thank God, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. He loves us, and doesn't want us to perish (John 3:16). He died for our sins on the cross. He was the perfect, sinless, lamb of God, and He became a substitute for us. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:2). He bore our sins in His body on the tree. (1 Pet 2:24). He was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification (Rom 4:25).

God's message to all of us is that we should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance (Acts 26:20). We are called to leave our lifestyle of sin, and learn to hate it like God does. We are called to turn to God instead. We are asked to trust Him, and follow Him, doing what He commands.

God doesn't promise us a life of ease and comfort. We don't know what hardships and difficulties we will face along the way if we put His interests ahead of our own. But He has given us promises. He promises to bless us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3). He promises to adopt us (Eph 1:4), so that we can be called children of God (1 John 3:1). He promises to forgive our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7). He promises to seal us with the Holy Spirit, as a pledge of our inheritance (Eph 1:13-14), to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Ultimately, He promises us eternal life in heaven with Him. He said "I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also" (John 14:3).

The question is, do you believe Him? Are you willing to abandon your life of sin, trusting that following God is what is best. Do you have faith that God will do all that He has said He will do? When Jesus says "Follow Me", will you go?

If you have true faith, you will want to follow the Lord. You will want to do what is good and pleasing in His sight, and serve Him. If you say you have faith, but you aren't willing to obey God, then your faith is worthless. That faith will not save you. Faith apart from works is dead (James 2:20). But the result of true faith is the salvation of your soul (1 Pet 1:9).

Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Rom 4:3). In the same way, God looks at those who believe in Him as righteous before Him. It is my prayer that we may all be found in him, not having a righteousness of our own, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith (Phil 3:9). If we have that kind of faith, then we are in Christ, and like Abraham, heirs according to God's promises (Gal 3:29).