This parashah starts with these words:
The Lord said to Abram, Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”
What should we do when we receive a calling from God? The answer is: do what you are told to do.
Abram (he isn’t Abraham yet: Abram means “Noble Father” but it isn’t until he is to fulfill his side of the covenant through circumcision that God says his name is to be Abraham, meaning Father of Nations) is to leave all that he has known, his family, his friends, everything that is of the Chaldees where he has lived. This is so that he will not be contaminated by their pagan worship, and the household he is to train up to be God fearing is also not to be influenced or contaminated by the unclean pagan worship and lifestyle.
The calling from God was more than just that God will make Abraham a blessing to the world. There was the need for Abraham to obey the calling so that this promise could be fulfilled. If Abraham had remained in Ur, if he had not gone to the land God called him to go to, then he would not have ever become the blessing that God intended to make of him.
But it’s not useful to be a hermit. It may be true that the only way to be completely free of wrongful influences is to hide away on some deserted island or make a home in the North Atlantic woodlands, which is especially hard in today’s technological world where everyone is only an email or a FaceBook post away. In Abraham’s day all he had to do is walk far enough away from everyone else, but that would have prevented him from fulfilling the rest of his calling.
By becoming a hermit we can stay “pure”, but that purity is useless because it brings no glory to God and doesn’t do God’s work in the world. Yeshua tells us in Matthew 5:15 that no one lights a lamp then puts it under a basket; they light the lamp and place it high up where the light can be seen by all. Abraham’s calling was to be a light to the world, and through him, i.e., through his example of worship, his lifestyle and his actions, the world would be able to see how he is blessed by God. Then they would be influenced by his goodness. As they learned to live as Abraham lived, then they would, as a consequence of following Abraham’s example, also be blessed by God.
We must follow the calling we receive. You may not have heard it yet, or you may have heard it but you’re waiting for the right time. Well, if you are waiting for God to tell you it’s time for you to fulfill your calling, you have already missed it. God is not a god of “Let’s think about this”; God is the god of “Get it done!”, and that means now. When you receive a calling from God He is telling you He wants you do to something. If you stall or wait too long, His plan will go forth, without you. If you do not do as God says to do when He says to do it, you will miss out on what He had in store for you.
God’s plan of salvation is like a large ship going from creation to creation. As the ship travels, with God at the helm, people can get on for free, and they also can get off. That’s called Free Will. And there will be many doing just that- many getting on, many getting off, and most just waving as it goes by. But the ship will continue to sail, and it will reach it’s destination. If you want to get on, it’s free. You have to work, though- it’s a free entry but it’s not a free ride.
Abraham did as God told him to do, without hesitation. We usually think of Genesis 15:6 when we think of Abraham’s righteousness, but I would venture to say that the true demonstration of Abraham’s’ righteousness and faith is the fact that he didn’t just do as God said to do, he did it then and there. He left his home right away, he went without knowing where he was being led, he circumcised everyone (including himself) the very day he was commanded to do so, and even when he was told to sacrifice Yitzchak, his only son, the son of the promise, he left early the next morning to do so. No hesitation, no questioning, no discussion. God said do, and he did.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard too many callings in my life. I believe writing my book was a calling, but even though I wrote it and have tried to push it out (see the links at the bottom right of this web page), I really think I should have done more long ago, and even though I know I should do more now, I hesitate. I have invested a few grand in this, and need to invest more. I know that God will honor what I do, and if this book is giving God the glory I think it does, He will get it out there.
But I still need to do my part. I had a calling to give a testimony (the link to it is at the bottom of my bio) and I hesitated on that, too. I was a new Believer, but it seems I still have a lot to learn about faithful obedience. We all do, don’t we?
Praise God that He is not just patient, but compassionately understanding. I feel ashamed to confess to you that I have these hesitations, but I am not here to tell you about God because I am an expert at following Him- I am here to show you that even someone as useless as I am can still do God’s work in the world and honor Him. Even though I, myself, am weak. Just as Shaul said of himself in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God’s strength is made manifest in our weakness.
But you don’t have to be weak- you can be stronger than me, stronger even that Shaul. You can obey the calling God has for you ASAP. If you don’t know what that calling is, or He hasn’t revealed what He wants you to do for Him yet, then wait for it. It is coming, and you can prepare for it by studying His word, separating yourself from those influences of the world that would contaminate you, and listening. Remember that God was not in the fire or the shaking mountain or the fierce wind, but He was just a still, quiet voice (1 Kings, 9:12.) To hear the majestic voice of God, we need to listen quietly and faithfully.
Faith isn’t just believing, it is also doing. Abraham showed tremendous faith in doing as he was told to do, and doing it as soon as he heard the command. God grant us all that we may demonstrate that same level of faithfulness.