Abram’s Faith

Today’s first reading, taken from the book of Genesis 12:1-9, is the narrative of God’s promise to Abram (before given his new name, Abraham):

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

What impresses me in this reading, is Abram’s response: he trusts that God’s words are true. The passage tells us:

“Abram went as the LORD directed him.” 

Abram received these instructions when he was seventy-five years old. He took all he had, along with his family, and set off for a foreign land. It’s hard enough today, with all of our conveniences, to pick up and move. It’s difficult to imagine the arduous journey through wilderness that Abram made. He was well established, had a wife and holdings, and had to pull up stakes and go.

Actually, Abram didn’t have to go. He could have stayed where he was, continue his life right where he was, but he chose to go ‘as the Lord directed him.” It is no wonder that he is called the Father of Faith (Romans 4:3):

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

There are moments in our lives when we are called to make life choices. As Christians, we bring these choices to God in prayer, asking Him to help us, to shed light on what he wants of us. Today’s reading shows how when one stays close to the Lord, they are willing to choose His design over their own. This is repeated again and again in the scriptures:

Moses is sent to Egypt to lead Israel to the promised land (Exodus 3);

Elisha is called while plowing a field, burns the equipment and slaughters the beasts of burden as a farewell feast (1 Kings 19:19-21);

Prophet Nathan sent to King David (2 Samuel 7);

Call of Isaiah (Isaiah 6);

Call of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1);

Call of Mary (Luke 2);

Call of Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:18-22); and

Call of Saul (Paul) (Acts of the Apostles 9).

– – –

And what about us? How do our daily decisions reflect our relationship with God? We too are called to a deeper faith, a deeper seeking out of His will in our lives. Are we, like Abram, ready to turn our world upside down to do what God wants?

After all, the promise we have received is even greater than that given to Abram — Eternal Life.

7 thoughts on “Abram’s Faith

  1. How do we know how much God wants and asks of us? To give one’s self and one’s life to God, to turn our lives and hearts over to him in obedience and service is, to my mind, a total conversion, total commitment, and intended for all who hear his Word. “Abram went as the Lord directed him.”

    “It is not a realistic understanding” for a lay person to hear God’s call in this way, but it is the purview of the monastic/consecrated, etc., it is suggested in my circle.

    So, in all earnestness, I wonder… how ‘much’ does God ask of the laity? Less than he asks of Abram? When we read Genesis 12:1-9, are we to think, “That’s not for me, I’m a lay person”, or are we to take it in all seriousness and attempt, as lay persons, to go as God directs? It is a question to pray over and refer to the Holy Spirit, I expect, but I am not quite clear how Scripture should be understood. Is God speaking to me too?

    • Thank you, Margaret, for your candid comments! It is difficult, and I wrote this with the laity in mind (Abraham – and we might include Sarah – fitting in that category). It is always the question, ‘how do we know God’s will?’ My observation, if we read these stories of God’s call in the Sacred Scripture, we find a common theme: each Biblical character had a disposition toward God – an undivided heart. This is our starting place. That we nurture ourselves to desire what God desires in our prayer, and in our reading of the Bible. Little by little these work as a cleansing of our souls, of our hearts and minds, of all that is not of God. What do you think?

      • Sr. Lisa,

        Your timing on this post was incredible. I read this right after work, moving issues and a flat tire- which I can’t afford to replace. Having some hope that this is a necessary (and hopefully only a short) painful part of God’s plan is very encouraging at this point!

  2. Thank you so much for your insightful response, Sr. Lisa! Wow. I am almost without words,but feel like their is much to say, but without words! Lol. I will, with gratitude, meditate and pray on what you have shared. With ‘undivided heart’, prayer and Scripture, I see my way forward. God bless.

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