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 ESV
A father is given divine rights to exert authority over his child. He shapes his identity. He establishes his parameters and boundaries. He sets future goals for him in place and then corrects and encourages along the way. Obedience and honor are the responsibilities of the child. While giving honor will last a lifetime – obedience will not. That child, if he comes to faith, will be adopted by another Father and everything will turn on its end.
As an adult, I leave the authority of my earthly father and step under the headship of my heavenly Father. God’s commands take precedence over all other influences. As His child, I look to Him to shape my identity, establish parameters and boundaries, and set goals, knowing He will correct and encourage along the way. Obedience and honor are my responsibility. Giving honor will last for all eternity – and so will obedience.
No wonder Jesus said that no one could follow him unless they were willing to leave father and mother, brother, and sister. The changing of allegiances is the proof of salvation and this very dynamic is cataclysmic within families, especially if the earthly family does not know God.
In this context, the LORD speaks and calls Abram to leave his family and everything that is familiar. This leaving will not be just physical, but spiritual. He is to turn his back on the gods of his ancestors and of his countrymen. He is to do what no one has ever done; leave everything and go west with an unknown destination. Abram will do all of this because a God he didn’t know all that well yet called him by name and gave him a command and a promise.
The call of God on my life will also be cataclysmic too. There will be people who will criticize, family loyalties will be threatened, and church friends may consider my steps to be too radical. They cannot understand it as I understand it because the only one who hears the call (and the daily revelations that go with it) is the one with whom God speaks.
A life of pilgrimage is not for the fainthearted. Strength, direction, grit, and endurance come to the pilgrim who holds the hand of his Father every step of the way.
When my obedience is tested with famine, breathe over me Your encouragement. In Jesus’ name, Amen