Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you into a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3 [NASB]
I was riding bareback on a horse, on the way to the barn to saddle him and enjoy a day of horseback riding. I had worn a pair of brand new white jeans. And (you can see this coming, can’t you?) as we trotted up a small incline, I steadily bounced backwards on the horse’s back. Without a saddle or reigns I wasn’t able to keep my grip on the horse’s main or my legs tightly enough around his belly. And (here it is…) I bounced right off the back of the horse…wait for it…right into a fresh pile of horse apples (not the hedge apple kind either)!
I don’t recall much of the rest of that day’s horse riding adventures. I do wish, however, that the horse I was riding hadn’t gotten so much giddy-up-and-go at that particular few moments.
Abram is not given a giddy-up-and-go command, but he is commanded to go. I notice that he is to go…
- From his country
- And from his relatives
- And from his father’s house
This would be a significant distancing from comforting customs and supportive people and familiar places. It was a call to go to a place that God would show him. This would be a walk of faith: away from earthly visible support, to a place God had not yet revealed to him. It would be a walk with God.
This is our daily calling: to leave the familiar safety of our own will and ways, and follow Jesus to a place he will show us. Matthew tells us, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:234-25) We abandon our own self interest and self-dependence in deference to Jesus’ better way. This is the life of faith, by which we show ourselves to be children of Abraham (cf. Galatians 3:7).
We’ve been watching The Chosen, an incredibly impactful portrayal of Jesus’ ministry, set in the context of possible human interactions with his disciples and others. It is very true to Jesus’ identity and teachings, but necessarily provides imaginative settings and circumstances for these interactions. Jesus calls his disciples to leave family, home, and (even country occasionally as they venture into Samaria). They don’t know where he’s leading them – though they think they do! But they are simply to follow him. It feels very real as we watch it.
We may not be called to leave home and family, country and safety in order to follow Jesus in our daily lives. But we are called to giddy-up-and-go with Jesus into each day. Jesus is on the move – in your heart, in your home, in your family, in your neighborhood, in your workplace, and in your church. He has immeasurably wonderful blessings in store for those who do follow him.
Sometimes we may need a pause. Whether it’s at the end of a long week, a particularly trying season, or even a career. But those down times are not to become a resting place. And as God leads us we follow in the confidence of his goodness, in anticipation of his blessing, and in dependence on his daily provision. Even when we don’t feel like giddy-upping and going.
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