Monday, April 28, 2014

A Set Apart People

Abram stood on a hill overlooking his shepherds. One of his shepherds was feeding a newborn lamb milk from an old wine-skin. Five or so older sheep were walking in the pasture. The leader was a old sheep who was on the edge of becoming a cripple. He stumbled over a branch, and the other sheep just walked right into him. Abram chuckled. Dumb sheep.

He turned away, walking in the opposite direction. Out of sight and hearing range of his shepherds was a little rock with a magnificent view of the sky, stretching endlessly before him. He loved to come here, and talk to God.

Abram sat on the rock, humming a melody that had been echoing in his soul all day. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but a mighty breeze stirred the grass.


He breathed deep. The Lord was here. "Yes, Lord?"

"Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you."

Abram felt disoriented. It was one of those moments where the words you are hearing are either too good or too awful to believe.

"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

He stood up and started pacing. What did all this mean? He turned sharply on his heal. Leave? His father was here. His friends whom he had know for his whole life. He had his living made here. His wife had settled here. His nephew was working steadily to build his own household. How could he just announce they were leaving it all?

He rubbed his face. A great nation? All the families of the earth will be blessed? If he set his family apart for God, God would use them mightily. 

Has the Lord ever led me into a place of harm? He has always taken care of me. 

Abram would do as God had said. He would go. He didn't know what God would do, but he did know this. He was willing to follow God to the end of the endless horizon.

As he was running towards home, he laughed to himself. A seventy-five year old man picking up his family, and moving to God only knows where. How am I going to explain that to Sarai?

Based on Genesis 12:1-4

Imagine waking up. It's just like any other day. Coffee, shower, work, home. Repeat. But today, your getting your morning coffee, barely even awake, when you hear something.

"Hey, Gus. It's God."

Shaking your head, you attribute the voice to your lack of coffee. However, an hour later, you're showered, dressed, caffeinated, and ready for the day.

"Gus, I'm still here."

You realized God is speaking! Awesome! Right?

"Leave your country, your family, your nice house, and go to a land that I will show you."

Say what?

Abram had two choices. He could go and do as God said, or he could ignore God's message. He was being asked to leave everything he knew. As we know from Genesis 12, Abram chose to follow God's leading. Choosing this path led to something very significant. He became the patriarch of a new nation. A nation that was set apart for God. Through that nation, all the families of the earth were and are blessed with Jesus' saving grace.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had no received mercy, but now you have received mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10

Do you hear God's voice saying, "I'm calling you to leave behind everything you know. Choose me." God asks each and every one of us to leave all that we know, and follow him.

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29

God asks us to be a holy nation for Him. To truly set our lives apart for His will. His work. His plans. He cannot force us to do this. However, before you say, "Yes, Lord!", you need to understand what you are doing.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were brought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If you give your heart, soul, and mind to Jesus, it is more then just words. It is the spiritual demonstrated through the physical. Everyday, we face the same option as Abram. We can go and follow God, or we can ignore Him.

Abram did something incredibly difficult, but remember, through his sacrifice, through his willingness to set himself apart for God, God gave him a son. Then grandsons. Then a nation. Then the Savior, Who offers salvation to all the families of the earth. It all started with one man being willing. So, what might God do with your willingness to be a part of God's holy nation?

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