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. Genesis 12:1
Jesus said that no one could follow him unless they were willing to leave father and mother, brother and sister. Did He speak theoretically, or did He know, personally, the price of leaving kindred and the comforts of home? Yes. Jesus knew that following His Father’s voice would prove to be stressful for family dynamics.
Yahweh had divine rights to Jesus. He shaped His identity. He established parameters and boundaries. He set future goals for Him, culminating in paying the price for sin on a cross. He guided and encouraged Him all the way there, and then all the way home from the confines of a tomb.
Obedience and honor were the responsibilities of this Son of God. As Jesus modeled pilgrimage, there was stress. He set off on a course for which He had no roadmap. He trusted God for the next step on His journey. He never knew what the next day would bring. It unfolded as He listened and obeyed. He had to learn obedience. It wasn’t hard-wired. He knew intimately the stresses of following His Father’s voice.
The call of Abram to leave parents and family, to establish a new allegiance, was extended to Jesus and is still extended to every son and daughter of God. When I was born into God’s family, I left the authority of my earthly father for my heavenly Father. God’s commands took precedence over all other influences. I submitted to His authority as He shaped me, established parameters, set goals, and corrected and encouraged me. Obedience and honor are my responsibility, just as they were for Jesus.
The call of God will be cataclysmic, at times, when people who love me criticize, when family loyalties are threatened, and when Christian friends think my steps are too radical. That’s because the only one who hears the call is the one to whom God speaks. Jesus knew the disdain of His parents and siblings. When at its worst, his family thought He was mad. On that occasion, Jesus was told that His mother and brothers were waiting to see Him outside a ministry venue. He made it clear to those delivering the message that even mother and brothers had no personal advantage because they were related to Him. They, too, had to hear the call and set out on their own pilgrimage.
This life of solitary obedience is not for the fainthearted. It wasn’t for Jesus and it isn’t for me. But strength, direction, and endurance come to every pilgrim who knows he is a child on an adventure, holding the hand of the Father every step of the way. In this kind of simple childlike dependence, Jesus modeled it perfectly.
When my obedience is tested with famine, breathe over me Your encouragement. As you did for Jesus, feed me with the manna of heaven. Amen