The following is an excerpt from Explore the Bible: Genesis, a 13-session study published by Lifeway. Explore the Bible is a book-by-book group Bible study that encourages participants to let the Word dwell in them and challenges them to live it out in their own context. You can order this study at lifeway.com, and you can check out other resources in the Explore the Bible curriculum—and preview one month for free—at lifeway.com/explorethebible.
Moving to a new home in a faraway place can be challenging. Friends or family are left behind. The familiar is replaced with the new and different. The unknown future replaces the known past. Change can be difficult. We often prefer the known and the comfortable to difficult challenges.
What are some changes and challenges a person or family could anticipate when they move to an unfamiliar place?
God may call us to make a major change of direction in life as we follow Him. These changes can stretch us in ways that bring discomfort and force us to trust Him with the new and unknown. The first verses of Genesis 12 tell of God calling Abram to move to a new land far away. He was to leave all the familiarity of home and go to a place that he knew nothing about. He was to obey the Lord even though it would involve life-altering changes. This Bible passage reminds us of the importance of trusting God in the big and hard issues of life. We are encouraged to trust God even when we don’t know exactly where He is leading. We are encouraged to obey God even when that means some difficult and uncomfortable changes. Living the life of faith in God is a life of great adventure and blessing.
God Calls (Gen. 12:1-3)
The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
God clearly communicated to Abram what He expected of him: Go. There may be times when we are uncertain of what God wants us to do. Very often, however, God unmistakably tells us what to do. Through the Bible, we know many of the specifics of what God wants us to do and to avoid. When we see God’s clear word, we are in a position of obeying or disobeying. Abram had a clear word from the Lord. God wanted him to leave the land where he lived and to go to a new land. Abram was faced with the decision of obeying or disobeying God’s clear leading.
God emphasized the magnitude of what He was asking of Abram. Abram was to leave the land where he lived. He was to leave the family he loved. He was to leave the home he knew. The old and familiar places and many of his family and friends would be left behind.
God further pointed out to Abram that he was to follow this call of obedience even though he did not know the final destination. There were no travel brochures or beautiful pictures of the terrain. God simply called Abram to obey Him in going to the land that I will show you. It was a call to faithful obedience. It was a call to trust the Lord with the future even though God had not revealed all the details of that future.
This is a challenging call to radical obedience. The Lord asked Abram to live by faith and obey His word. There would be great change and upheaval, but it was a call for Abram to trust the Lord enough to obey Him.
What are some examples of difficult things God may call us to do today? How do these things compare with the directive given to Abram?
Excerpted from Afshin Ziafat, Explore the Bible: Genesis © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.