Called to Separation

I recently listened to Mac Brunson talk about Abraham’s call to leave Ur and go to the place God would show him. Here are a few observations.

First, I see this is God’s covenant with Abraham, not Abram’s covenant with God. We are in connection with a God who invites us into relationship with him on HIS terms, and he is not obligated to allow us into his presence on OUR terms.

Why did God choose Abraham? Why does God choose anyone? Mac told a story about being Billy Graham’s pastor, and Dr. Graham asked the same question, “Why did God call me?” We may ask a similar question, “Of all people, why did you choose me?”

The point of Mac’s talk was, we need to make our lives count for God’s glory and not our own. How can we do this? Life counts when we respond to God’s call for separation.

“Now the Lord said to Abram.” This statement distinguishes our God from all others. Remember Dagon? That idol could not speak, he just fell over before the Ark of the Lord. He couldn’t cry out for help… It was not like the commercial, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” because all other gods cannot speak.

God tells Abram to separate… go from Ur, go from your people, and go from your father’s house. Perhaps this is a progression from the easiest place to the most difficult. It is one thing to leave and go to a new place, even to reside among a new culture, but leaving your family is nearly out of the question.

Why is God calling him to separate? It is because God is always doing something new: Isaiah 42:9, 43:19, 62:2, Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 11:19, and God wanted to do something new in Abram’s life.

Does God want to do anything new in YOUR life? Be honest. Do we ever WANT God to do something new? The older we get the less we like change, but God is constantly in the business of doing something new.

Think about 2 Corinthians 5:17. Does Paul say that God makes all things like they were 50 years ago? NO, for those in Christ, the old is passed away and all things become NEW. The questions is, “Will we make it difficult when God wants US to do something new?” This is way beyond individuals, what about the church? Is God calling us to change? If so, how? Why do we tend to drag our feet in response to God’s call for change?

God tells Abram to separate himself…

  1. Geographically. He was to leave Ur, with no clue where he was being led. God said to get up from where you are rooted and invested, and go over there to be rooted and invested in another place. God still calls US to get up out of our rootedness. Perhaps you are rooted in your Sunday School class for the past 25 years. Now God may be calling you to get up and plant yourself into the lives of those 3-4 graders, or high school students. They are the future of the church and they need to be developed, and invested into. Will you do it? Or will you hope God calls someone else? Maybe you’re planted in your pew and God wants you to get up and move into the choir. You’ve been invested in that padded seat long enough, it’s time to move on.
  2. Relationally. Abram was leaving his people. God can see down the road of your life and he knows that there are some relationships from which you need to separate. Some relationships are not good personally, and not good spiritually.
  3. Attitudinally. God may be calling you away from your household, the place where you developed your attitudes. Maybe you are bitter, angry, easily offended, irritable, struggling with control. God is calling you to separate from it. Go to the land I will show you. Maybe it is a place that resembles the Fruit of the Spirit because it is unseen in the place you’re in now. Maybe it’s a place with another culture; a place where you will influence others and be a blessing. But don’t fear. God does not leave you. The place where God calls you to go, remember that he is already there. He will show you how to move on and change.

Remember this was said to a 75-year-old man, someone set in his ways. It’s hard for a 20-something single person, how much harder for a family man senior adult? Walk away from all that you know. God did not even let him know where he was going to go. There was no game plan. God never told Abraham that he was going to a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey (that came later). Abraham has no description or picture of how great this move is going to be. Not one detail is given to him.

“And Abraham went forth as God had told him” (Genesis 12:4). No fanfare. No going away party. Perhaps no one even noticed that Abraham left. But he was obedient to the calling and changed the course of history.

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