Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Following God

Paul writes a great deal about the fact that Abraham had the type of faith that pleased God and says that those who have the same type of faith are those who are the true descendants of Abraham and therefore heirs of the promise made to him.

Abraham is an amazing man. When we get our first glimpse of him in Genesis 12 we see a man that is willing to drop everything and follow God where ever he is lead. His trust in God is so great that he is willing to follow Him not even knowing the destination. We have been asked to follow God as well. We have even been told the destination. However we often have a difficult time emulating the faith of Abraham. As Abraham begins his journey with God in Genesis 12 we are able to learn lessons from him about following God.

First of all, blessing come to those that follow God. As Abraham set out on his journey, God had already blessed him with all that he would need for the journey. In his case this was servants and livestock and wealth. As we respond to the call to follow God we can also expect blessings. We have been promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, power, comfort, understanding, and the fruits of the Spirit. Peter tells us that we have all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God truly blesses those who follow Him.

Secondly, we see that following God (at any age) can result in drastic changes in lifestyle. Abraham was seventy-five years old and asked to get up and go. He was asked to leave his home and his relationships there so that he could follow God. He went. He radically changed the way he had been living to follow God. Often we will follow God only to the point that he starts asking for sacrifice or the point where we think he is asking us to sacrifice too much. We should expect our spiritual journey to disrupt out physical existence. When it does, God promises to get us through.

It also seems that the more closely Abraham follows God the more aware of God’s presence Abraham is. When he goes to the places that God sends him, Abraham communes with God in worship. However, in Genesis 12 we see an instance of Abraham wandering off the charted course (down into Egypt) and God has to get his attention and bring him back to where he is supposed to be. My experience is the same. When I am closely following God I am keenly aware of His presence and His work in my life. When I wander off, even slightly, it become less clear to me exactly where he is.

That leads to my final observation. A proper response to the awareness of God’s presence in our lives is worship. Every time God lead Abraham to a new location his response was to build an altar and worship. He was aware of what God had done and he just had to praise Him. Worship for us should be the same. Worship is not that thing that we do on Sundays so that we appease an ego-maniacal dictator but it is a response to the work of a loving Father in our lives. God loves us and only asks us to do those things that are in our best interest. When we do what he has asked us to do and we realize the work He does in our lives as a result, we should praise Him.

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