Abraham’s Obedience

LESLIE GLASS|GUEST

On New Year’s Day, my children were splashing in the ocean while my toes were curled in the sand. It was a gift of a beach trip after weeks of gray skies and rain clouds at home. My daughter enjoyed staying an extra few days at the beach with my Mama, her Gramma, after the rest of our family headed home.   Upon picking her up, the joy on both of their faces told me they had thoroughly enjoyed their time together. They recounted how they talked and played music and laughed all the way home.

I remarked to my daughter that road trips with Mama were one of my favorite childhood memories. Mama is all about a road trip. I remember the sunroof open, The Judds playing on repeat, and stopping for TCBY— back when frozen yogurt was a novelty.  The destination could have been the beach, a visit to my brother in Virginia, a shopping day in Atlanta, or a whirlwind weekend in New York City. It saddens me to even consider all that I would have forsaken had I responded to her fun-loving invitations with questions or stalling. In those tender years, she was my faithful guide and my willingness to follow her has led me to find some of my favorite people, places, and possibilities.

The Road Trip of a Lifetime

In chapter 12 of Genesis, Abram received an invitation by the Lord God to “go from your country.” The God of all creation spoke into the life of this seventy-five-year-old man and invited him on a road trip. It was God who made all the plans and promises; his list specifically included:

  • I will show you the land (v.1)
  • I will make you a great nation (v.2)
  • I will bless you and make your name great (v. 2)
  • I will bless those who bless you and dishonor those who curse you (v. 3)
  • I will cause the families of the earth to be blessed through you. (v.3)

The plans given by God did not include street names for turning or times on the clock for taking a rest.  God’s plans had a greater purpose than any Abram could have designed. God’s plans were not focused on specific logistics; instead, the focus was on several deep and wide promises and the One making them. The sounds of the first promises God made to Abram echo Isaiah 55:8, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’, declares the LORD.” God’s invitation was for Abram to join him for the ride of a lifetime, a lifetime stretched all the way into eternity.

Trust in God

As the Lord concluded his lofty and lengthy list, the soul-stirring response Abram gave in Genesis 12:4, and the response I expect God seeks from you and me, is “So Abram went…” God commanded, and Abram responded. As Abram was fully obedient to the audible voice of God, so we are called to be fully obedient to the written Word of God. Apart from the wisdom found in his Word, my fleshly instinct is unfortunately to demand the when, where, why, and how. Even when the Lord speaks clearly to me through his Word, I can still drown myself with responses that drain me and disappoint him. Abram graciously offers you and me a different perspective. When the Lord speaks, trust him and go. Abram’s obedience invites us to reorient our thinking from the logistics of the immediate to the faithfulness of the One holding us all. By consistently turning to God’s Word, we are reminded anew of his kind, faithful, and unchanging character, we access his timeless wisdom, and we are “strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might” in order to press on in trust and obedience (Col 1:11). Abram did not know where his travels would take him, but he knew unmistakably the goodness and faithfulness of the One with whom he would be traveling.

At forty years old, I will still jump in the car beside my Mama and let her take me anywhere she desires.  We can turn the music up loud and sing eighties tunes until our throats hurt. We can reminisce about all the trips from years before with the memories we still carry. I trust her to lead me. I trust her to make decisions and call the shots because her love and faithfulness have stood the test of time. Trusting the Lord and fully obeying him is difficult in areas where I don’t have all the answers. In his kindness, he brings me back to the simplicity of Abram’s response. Listen and obey. Remember his faithfulness. Shift the focus from looking straight ahead to looking straight up. “The Lord said to Abram, “Go”…. “So Abram went as the Lord had told him.”

Father, help me to be faithfully obedient like Abram. Please reorient my thinking from needing a road map to trusting you to be my guide. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

About the Author:

Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass attends First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia.  She enjoys quiet mornings on the front porch even in five minute increments.  After fifteen years in the nonprofit fundraising industry, she now spends her time facilitating Bible study, leading Moms in Prayer groups, and writing devotions to encourage and equip women.  She and her husband, Kevin, and their three children keep bags packed for whatever road trip might be just around the corner.

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