"Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.'"
every life, there ought to be some forward movement. Life is meant to
be a journey. We cannot always linger in the land of carefree complacency
and laid back luxury, strolling down easy street.
Life is meant to be a journey forward. Yes, there might be some set-backs and some detours; and maybe even some delays. But, God calls us to move forward. He calls us to move from here to there, from where we are to where he wants us to be.
The text today is a message about the voice of God calling the people of God forward. This text highlights the need for all of us to be in tune with God enough to know when heís telling us to move on.
And, when God says move, by faith, we must move. And itís really only by faith that we can move forward because we seldom ever fully know just where it is that God is leading. But, it is precisely our faith in God and our obedience to God, that opens up our lives to the blessings and the purposes of God. So then, I want to invite you to come along today as we consider a life of faith and the blessings that only come by faith.
God came to Abram and told him that it was time to move on now. God came to Abram and told him that today was moving day. He had tarried long enough in the land of family and familiarity and comfort. Oh, I tell you, God has a way of coming by when we are complacent and comfortable; and telling us that it is moving day! God came to Abram and said, "Abram, go from your country and your kindred and your fatherís house."
Here, I want to stop and give a little back ground information to this situation that Abram found himself in.
Abramís father, Terah, had set out a long time ago for the land of Canaan. Terah took Abram and his whole family from their home in the land of Ur of the Chaldees. He set out on a journey to Canaanís land. But, the word of God tells us in Genesis 11:31-32 that Terah stopped along the way and settled in a place called Haran. I believe that Terah had only planned to stay a little while in Haran. Maybe he had just planned to stay a couple of years and make a little money and move on out of Haran.
Maybe he became a little tired on this journey called life, and he just needed to stop for a spell and catch his breath and let his soul be revived. I donít know just why Terah and his family stopped before they got to Canaan. But, they stopped. Terah never left Haran. He died in Haran. He never made it to Canaan. He never finished his journey.
And, so it is with so many of Godís children in every age. We set out on our journey, heading to where the spirit of God is leading us, and we stop along the way. There is always a Haran, a stopping place, in the lives of every man and woman, boy and girl. Sooner or later, the journey of life will get tiresome. The journey will get tedious. The journey will wear us out and wear us down and we will need to stop like old man Terah. And, we ought to thank God for the Haranís in our lives, for those resting places along the journey.
But, be ever on guard, ye saints of the Lord, lest you and I become confused and contented and complacent like Terah. He took what God intended for a resting place and made it a permanent dwelling place. Too often, we donít complete the journey that God has called us to. Too often, we settle for second best when God wants us to have the very best. Too often we settle for an ďit will doĒ kind of life when God wants us to have an abundant life.
Too often churches, and ours may be no exception, churches get too comfortable with the same old faces, doing the same old thing, in the same old way and they donít want to change and they donít want to go forward. Churches too often stop in Haran and never make it to Canaan.
Terah and Abram and the family were on their way to Canaan, but Terah stopped in Haran. The family settled in. They put down some deep roots. They developed solid ties in the community. They latched on to some good jobs. They built up some political clout. They became somebody special in the land of Haran. Why move on now? We are comfortable here in Haran. Why mess with a good thing? We donít need to move on from here to some unknown there where nobody knows us. Why move on from Haran? What we have is good enough.
But, in the midst of this land, this place, physical and spiritual, in the midst of this land of family and familiarity, God spoke to Abram, "Abram, itís time now to move on. Abram, itís time for you to move on from this place here, to where I want you to be. Abram, go from your country and your kindred and your fatherís house."
God was calling Abram to step out on faith into an unknown, untested, uncertain future. Oh, I know that physically it was hard. Many of us know what itís like to have to pack up our bags and kiss momma goodbye and give daddy a hug as we get on the greyhound bus or load up that old used car. Leaving home to join the armed forces, leaving our home town to go to college, leaving our familiar surroundings to strike out on our own to make a little money, we all have known or will know the experience of physically moving on from here to wherever there might be.
And, we know that itís hard. Itís tough. We know that it gets rough. And, this is what God called Abram to do. But, I suspect that in many ways itís even harder to spiritually move on from one place to another.
I suspect that Abram could physically adjust to a new home and new surroundings. But, God was calling him to do more than simply change his mailing address. God was calling him to change his spiritual address. Abram had to leave Haran because as long as he was living in the relative safety of Haran, he was not compelled to exercise the fullness of who God made him and wanted him to be. As long as he dwelt in the familiar and the unchallenging, he was an inferior human being when compared to who he really could be in God.
In Haran, Abram was living below the possibilities that God had put in him as a child of God. He was in possession of powers that he failed to use. He operated at half power instead of at maximum and optimum power. As long as he lived in that spiritual place that did not call for faith and trust in God, he was not fully the person that God intended for him to be.
As long as we are content to live easy lives, we live empty lives. As long as we are happy with our neat little worlds, refusing to try anything new or bold, we are captives to the smallness of mind and soul that Satan takes great delight in. Maybe we have little problem with moving our homes and families. But sometimes we are unwilling to move our souls and minds from our sight world to the world of faith.
God wants you and God wants me to leave the safe shores of the familiar, and journey, by faith, to a place that only he knows. God calls his children, sooner or later, to move on from where we are, to where he wants us to be. "Abram, go on now. Abram, go pack your bags son. Abram, I want to bless you and I want to use you, but you have got to get up from here and move on.Ē
Having a heart and an ear attuned to God, Abram heard the voice of God telling him that it was time now to move on from here to there.
Notice, my beloved, God did not tell Abram just where "there" was. Abram knew right well where "here" was; but, God was commanding him to move on from here to there.
Surely, like every human being, Abram would have liked to have had some idea just where God was sending him. He wouldnít have minded if the Lord had made it plain just where it was that he was going to and what the end would be. But, the command is plain and simple. "Abram, get up and move on from where you are and go to a place that I will show you. Donít worry about where, just yet, you just go where I send you, follow where I lead you."
And, God is calling us today, to step out on faith. He is calling us today to move on from the place that we have been resting long enough now.
For twenty years, the lord has been our guardian, guide and God. For twenty years, we have been on a journey with the most high God. For twenty years, we have endured some good times and some trying times. We have seen some bright days and some dark days. And, along the way, the journey got a little weary, as every journey will. And, thanks be to God, there was a Haran in which we were able to pull over and rest our souls and revive our spirits and recharge our bodies.
But now, thus saith the Lord, itís moving time. Itís time now to move on from Haran to Canaan. Itís time now to move on from here to there.
But, we need not worry too much right now just where there is. We need not worry too much now about the final destination. By faith, we must just pack up our spiritual, our emotional and if need be, our physical bags because itís time now to move forward.
Oh, the call is the same as it ever was. God calls us to move forward by faith. If we could see just where it is that we are going, then we would need no faith. If the road was always plain to see and the future held no uncertainty, there would be no need for faith and trust in God.
But, God is calling us to walk by faith, and not by sight. God is calling us to journey on from where we are to that place that God wants us to be. We must leave the Harans, the comfortable and the familiar, at Godís command. We must break free from our spiritual Haran. God only meant it for a resting place, not a permanent dwelling place. Sooner or later, God calls all of us to move on from our spiritual resting place. And, today is the day. Now is the time. The hour has come.
God is calling you and calling me forward. There are blessings to receive and there is a mighty work to be done. But, God cannot fully use us or bless us as long as we are stuck in Haran. We can never become who God wants us to be as long as we are stuck where we are. We can never fully receive what God has for us as long as we are stuck in the here. We can never do what God wants us to do until we move forward, by faith.
But, oh, what a difference we find in our lives when we obey the Word, the voice of God and we step out on faith. When we walk by faith, it is then that God will move in mighty and mysterious ways in our lives, working his wonders to perform.
Through faith, the blessings of God flow most freely. God informed Abram that a life lived by faith will receive some precious promises and some divine purposes.
In Genesis 12:2, God breaks it down for brother Abram. God gives the brother a promise and a purpose that can only be realized by faith. The Lord said, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing." Oh, look at how God works!
See just what God is doing and saying here. The Lord is helping Abram, and helping you and me, to understand just why he had to move on from where he was to where God wanted him to be.
God wanted to use Abram to do a mighty work that he could not do while safely living a life of ease in the land of Ur, his native land, or even in Haran, his fatherís resting place. Those places held no great challenges; therefore they held no great conquests. Ur and Haran held no great obstacles; therefore, they held no great opportunities. In those places, there were too few trials, therefore, too few opportunities for triumph. Abram had to leave home.
But, it was away from home, it was out in the great unknown that God was going to move in a mighty and mysterious way. God promised Abram that if he was obedient, he would make of him a great nation and that he would bless him greatly and make his name great.
But, I want us to remember that God told Abram that he was going to make of him a great nation and bless him and elevate his name, all for the sake of other folk.
All that will happen to Abram will happen not so that he would just be the richest and the baddest man in town. Abramís blessings wouldnít be just for the benefit of him and his race or his gender. The blessings of God for Abram was not just for Abram. No, all that God was doing for Abram was to be a blessing to him and somebody else. God called Abram from his own place of ease and security in order that God could use him to be a blessing to others.
Surely, there would be some discomfort, some struggles, some fears, some unease in this move from home, such is the case whenever we move from sight to faith. But, God requires such so that God can bless others. We have got to move church, so that God can extend his blessings to somebody else!
Our move forward might cause us some discomfort and concern, but forward we must move. "climb the steeps and cross the waves; onward! `tis our Lordís command."
God wants to bless somebody through us, but weíve got to move. God wants to save somebody through us, but weíve got to move. God wants to heal somebody through us, but weíve got to move. God wants to help somebody through us, but weíve got to move.
Weíve got to move from here. I know it seems easier to stay where we are, but weíve got to move. I know that weíre comfortable in our familiar surroundings, but God wants to bless some folk through us, but we canít do it sitting at ease in Haran.
Know ye this, my beloved, we can never be fully blessed until we are moving with God. We can never fully receive what God has for us, we can never fully be who God wants us to be until we move and live by faith. It is in divine obedience that the blessings of God are fully realized and received.
God wants us to be blessed. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, "I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." God wants to bless us. He wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we canít contain.
God wants to bless us. He wants to run our cup over with goodness and mercy. God wants to bless us. No good thing does he want to withhold from us. God wants to bless us with every good and perfect gift. But, weíve got to trust and obey. Then, God will surely bless us beyond measure.
But, God is also concerned about everybody else. God does not want anybody in the whole wide world to go unblessed. God doesnít want your husband, your wife, your children, God doesnít want your co-workers, neighbors or even your enemies to go unblessed.
No, just as He wants to bless you and bless me. God wants to bless every man and woman and boy and girl. And, He just decided, He didnít have to do it, but God decided that He wants to use you and me to bless other folk. God wants you and me to bring the blessings of healing and hope and joy and peace, to other folk.
God could have just sent the arch angel Michael to pass out blessings. He could have sent the cherubim's and the seraphimís. He could have called ten thousand of the heavenly hosts to rain down showers of blessings. But, instead, he called a man named Abram. He called a wretch like me. He called a doubter like you. God called men and women to carry his blessings to other men and women.
In fact, God is so serious about this thing, God is so concerned about blessing everybody, that He has put a hedge, a wall of protection around us to make sure that no hurt, harm or danger wiped us out and blocked the blessings that Heís going to deliver through us.
God is so serious about blessing others through us that He gives us divine protection. Yes, there is a promise of blessings and a purpose to our living, but, there is also, divine protection! We are on a top-level, high-security, top-priority mission from high-command, and the Lord is determined to give us air-coverage and ground protection. Thatís why he said in Psalms 91:11-12, that He would send His angels to watch over us, to bear us up lest we dash our foot against the stone of destruction and be hindered on our mission.
God is serious about sending us out to bless other folk. Thatís why He said no weapon formed against us will prosper. God wants us, his blessing agents to succeed in this mission. God wants the blessed, God expects the blessed, God requires the blessed to be a blessing to all the world. Therefore, He gives us divine protection. God is going to protect us. We are His investment and He will not lose His investment.
God invested divine blessings in us and what He wants back and what He will get back are some other blessed souls. He will get back some folk who once were blind until they were blessed by us. He will get back some grateful souls who were lost until they found the Savior through us.
This is why God called Abram and this is why God calls us to move on from here to there, from where we are to where God wants us to be. He calls us so that He can bless us and bless a great multitude that no man can number.
And, I pray to God that I will move on from where I am to where God wants me to be. I pray to God that you and I as individual Christians and as a unified church body, will move on from where weíve been and where we are to where God wants us to be.
There are too many children that wonít be blessed until we move on. There are too many fathers who will dwell in darkness until we move on. There are too many mothers, too many brothers, too many sisters stumbling through a life of pain and emptiness, waiting for you and for me to leave Haran and press on to the land, the place that God wants us to be.
We canít bless others, we canít help others, we canít strengthen others, we canít rescue others as long as we are treading water in the shallow pond of our own comfort and will.
May we ever be like Abram. As the Word we read today comes to a close, it is written, "so Abram went, as the Lord had told him." Abram heard and Abram went. By faith, Abram believed the word of God. By faith, he stepped out into nothing, trusting that God would allow him to land on something.
He stepped out by faith into an unknown and untested future, leaning and depending on the Lord. Abram understood that faith with out obedient action is no real faith at all, itís just a bunch of noise coming from our mouths and not our hearts.
We must go on now, from here to there. Wherever you might be in your own spiritual journey, wherever you might be in your own personal life, itís moving day! Itís blessing day, yours and other folks! Therefore, weíve got to be on the move now!
I donít know just where God is leading us. I donít know just where God is sending us. I donít know just what the end will be, but, if the Lord, if Jesus himself will go with us a long this journey, it will be all right. In the worst of times, if the Lord goes with us, it will be all right. In the darkest of hours, if Jesus goes with us, and he surely will, everything, will be all right. I donít know just where the Lord is leading, thatís his business!
It may be in the valley, where countless dangers hide. It may be in the sunshine that we in peace abide. I really, really donít know. But, but, this one thing I do know. If it be dark or fair, if Jesus, if Jesus, if Jesus is with me, if Jesus is with you, we can go anywhere!
Rev. Clarence W. Davis is pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A frequent contributor to BlackandChristian.com, Davis earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology degree from Harvard Divinity School.
© Clarence W. Davis, 2002. All Rights Reserved.