Several years ago I met a woman blessed to have three daughters. Each of her adult girls admired their mom and her walk with the Lord. Each had one request of her. Although she was nowhere near the end of her life, they all wanted her Bible when she died. They knew their mom wrote notes in the margins next to passages that expressed her love for the Lord. These notes were a personal reflection of what God’s Word meant to her. When we attended a Bible study together she had just purchased her third Bible and was faithfully writing all that God’s Spirit was teaching her. Each girl would receive a Bible and each girl would be richly blessed.
I also write notes to myself. Flipping through the pages, I’ll find phrases or outlines highlighting certain passages. I often can’t remember the “when”, but the Holy Spirit usually brings to mind the “why”. Next to Genesis 12:1-3 I have four words: listen, obey, depend and wait. I know these points were key to God’s call of Abraham and they are equally important as God calls us to follow Him.
The decisive moment for God and Abraham was when Abraham heard God’s instructions. He was to leave his country and family and follow God to a new land. Not an easy request to obey. Often times God asks us to leave the familiar and step into the unknown. Like Abraham we may not know where we’re going, but Isaiah 41:10 reminds us not to fear because God will strengthen and help us. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand throughout our journey of faith.
Once we hear God and listen with our hearts, we must obey; to do otherwise is to forfeit God’s blessings for us. Worldly wisdom with its uncertain advice will fall away as we obey God’s Holy Spirit and His leading—even when we can’t see the end from the beginning. When we can’t humanly make sense of God’s commands, peace comes through dependence on the One who loves us. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…Great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Abraham had no idea where God was leading, but with each step his faith grew as he depended on God to guide and provide.
The blessing of a son from which God would make Abraham a great nation (Genesis 12:2) was almost derailed by impatience and human effort. When we think we need to help God accomplish what He has promised, it’s good to remember Hagar and later, God’s gracious gift of Isaac. Isaiah 64:4 reminds us that “neither has the eye seen a God…who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”
Abraham seemed to wait forever for a son with Sarah, but God was faithful. They didn’t live to see the other promise from God that in Abraham “all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:3).” In his letter to the Galatians Paul reminds us that it is “in Christ Jesus that the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14).
Believers today are part of God’s grand blessing to Abraham—salvation through belief in Jesus, Abraham’s earthly descendent and guidance as we daily seek to follow God and live the life He wants us to. We are part of God’s plan for all men everywhere. I’m thankful that Abraham learned to listen, obey, depend and wait on God. We are blessed if we do the same.