(1) YHWH said to Abram, Leave your homeland, your relatives, and your father’s household and go to a land that I will show you. (2) And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your reputation great, and you will be a blessing. (3) And I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and all the peoples of the earth will be bleassed through you. (4) And Abram went as YHWH had commanded him, and Lot went with him. — Genesis 12:1-4a
Note from Henry â€“ Thanks for your prayers over the weekend. Jody came back with a good report, pumped up and ready to do the next thing, whatever that is.
Have you ever really thought about this verse? I know I was well into my experience as a Bible teacher before I did. Today I was editing the manuscript for my forthcoming book When People Speak for God, and I worked on these paragraphs:
But when God tells Abraham to leave his country and go to a place he didn’t know, he was hearing a voice. He may have been having a vision. We don’t know. But whether it was an ordinary voice, or a voice in a vision, he heard a voice. But he didn’t have any written scripture. Because he followed the voice that he heard, we have scripture. There are many, many people in the Bible who heard voices. If you are disturbed by people hearing voices, you probably should choose something other than the Bible as your reading material. . . .
Think about this: If you heard a voice, one you thought was audible and not just in your head, and it told you to pack all your earthly goods and put them in a moving van and move, but told you that you would be told your destination after you drove the moving van out of the driveway, how would you react?
If you’re a Christian, and you said, â€œNo way,â€ you may need to think a bit about your use of the Bible. That is precisely what Abraham did. Jesus followed what his Father told him, and walked right into crucifixion. Are you comfortable in their company?
Those are some pretty good questions for me, and they come from the preface. I wrote the paragraphs, but now I have to ask myself this: Have I really heard those questions?
You see, Abraham didn’t have the benefit of the Bible against which to compare what he heard. According to Joshua 24:2, he was worshiping other Gods at this time. He had next to nothing to go on so as to be sure he was hearing what God said, yet somehow he became convinced he was hearing from God and that he should obey. No wonder his faith was counted as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)!
How do I match up? Well, I dither about whether God is really speaking, and then I wonder about the timing, the finances, what the neighbors will think, what my family will think, and on and on. By the time I get around to doing, it can easily be too late.
Now I’m not suggesting that God’s normal way of doing things is to order people to move without a plan. Lots of people have thought they had such an order from God and they disrupted their families and their own lives, and eventually found themselves in serious trouble. That’s why the Bible also calls for wisdom. Right after you think God is telling you something, it’s a great idea to claim the promise of James 1:5 and ask for wisdom!
But what I do ask you to think about today is this: Is God willing to talk to you today, as you work, play, think, and talk? Are you willing to listen and obey when you do know that it is God speaking?
We’re often afraid to admit we hear God speak, because that sounds a bit like insanity. But if it is insanity, then it’s a form of insanity that has been common to people of faith at least since Abraham. Perhaps it’s time to get comfortable with it.
God is speaking. Are you listening?