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Abram's Partial Obedience The Wasted Years

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Have you ever felt God nudging you to pursue

a new direction or to take on a new challenge?

Do you remember how you responded? Was it

a determined, “You bet, God. When do we get

started?” Or, a more hesitant, “ want me to do what? Now?”

Imagine Abraham, seventy-five years old, his midlife

crisis behind him, when God calls him to packup

and start moving. Where? He didn’t know!

When we look at these spiritual giants like Abraham, Moses and David we tend to gloss over their short comings and put them on petals; we forget they struggled in their obedience to God just like you and me. Today we will examine Abrahams struggle to fully obey God.

A. 12:1 the Call to Depart - We are not told how the call came to Abraham, (Notice the word "had"), but we are told that God spoke to this man in his darkness and called him into the light to follow a new path. Abram was called to leave behind everything he loved and everything that had shaped his life up to that point. He was ordered to leave his Region, his Religion and his Relatives behind. For this man, it would be a difficult task. He was issued a call to Follow, to Faith and to a new Future. He was to leave his home, not knowing where he was going, or when he would arrive. He was to leave all such matters in the hand of the Lord!

            The call of Abram was similar in its demands to that of marriage. Abram was, so to speak, to “leave and to cleave” – he was to leave his family and his homeland, and to cleave to God, by faith. You and I live in the Western world in a very mobile society, where family members live far apart. My son and his wife lives 3,000 miles away, in Minn, Marilee’s Dad and family lives father still. In Abram’s day, to leave one’s family and homeland was to leave one’s source of significance and security. You were known and dealt with in relationship to your parents and your family. The Canaanites had no regard for Abram’s ancestry or pedigree. To be among family was to have a “safety net” of protection. This is one reason why there is so little teenage rebellion in the third world. Children know that to be removed from their family would destine them to powerlessness and poverty. By commanding Abram to leave homeland and family, he was forcing him to depend solely upon Himself.

\\ (Note: The call of Abram raises some questions that the Bible does not answer. First, why did the Lord pick this one man, out of all the men of the earth? Why didn't God choose some of the other inhabitants of the world, or of Ur to call to this new adventure called faith? The answer to those questions is: I don't know! I would ask this question: "Why does God call anyone?" Why did He call you and not your neighbor? Why did He call you and not you coworker? The answer to those questions dwell within the cloud of God's sovereign and the answer is not for us to know, Rom. 9:18-23!)

\\ (Note: Regardless of why God calls who He does, those who have been called by Him should rejoice in the fact that they are saved and secure in the blood of the Lamb! Thank God for the day the clear call to follow the Lord came to my heart! I bless His name for the day He turned the light on in my soul and showed me the way to Himself! Therefore, I will rejoice in what He has done for me, Luke 10:20.)

\\ (Note: When the call of God does come to a life, it is a call for that person to sever all ties with the past life. His call is a call to a new life with new priorities and a new Lord. His call is for total commitment, Matt. 16:24. His call is for the believer to leave the old life behind and to begin a new life of faith, where every moment is lived in utter dependance upon the Lord alone for every need. That is the nature of the divine call! God's call is for you to follow without your being concerned about the destination. His call is for you to leave the details to Him. His call is for surrender to His call, regardless of what it costs, where it leads or how much it hurts. His call is still follow me!)

B. 11:31 The Compromise in Devotion - The nature of Abram's call was for him to leave. Note the word "thee" in 12:1. Yet, when they left Ur, notice that it was "they" who went, 11:31. It seems that Abram compromised by not separating from his family as he had been ordered. He failed to fully submit to the Lord's call!

\\ (Note: Some may argue that he just wanted to take his family with him as he began his journey for the Lord. That is noble, but it should be noted that there is no indication that they were saved at all. There is no hint that they ever placed their faith in the Lord as did Abram. The only ones who were saved, it would see, were Abram, Sarai and Lot. The rest were still pagans, trapped in the darkness of their sins.)

(Note: The Bible says that they came Haran and dwelled there. If you look at a map, you will find that Haran is north and east of the promised land. This was not where God called Abram to be! He has not gone all the way for the Lord. He has failed to separate from his family and he has failed to arrive at the place he has been called to. Always remember that partial obedience is simple disobedience! Until you have done all God says to do, you haven't done what God said to do!

What has the Lord told you to do that you haven't done? Have you come short in the obedience department? I know first hand that not all of God's commands are easy to obey. Some are difficult, some are frightening and some are costly, but all to be obeyed without question by the child of God who wishes to walk by faith and be found pleasing to the Lord, 1 Sam. 15:22.)

\\ (Note: Notice that Abraham did not leave Haran and fully follow the Lord's command until the death of his father Terah. The name Terah means "A Station or delay." It has the idea of a stopping place, a rest area or a roadblock. Evidently, Terah was a roadblock between Abram and his doing the will of God. When Terah was removed from the scene, Abram was ready to move on in the things of God.

Terah is a type of the flesh and other things that hinder our progress in the things of God. You see, until those things are taken care of and "reckoned dead", Rom. 6:11, there will be little or no progress in your life for the glory of the Lord. What is your Terah this morning? Oh, if you aren't exactly where the Lord wants you to be, you have a Terah. Oh yes! You have a roadblock between you and your doing what the Lord has told you to do. You know what has to happen when there is a Terah in your life or mine? There must be a death! That thing that serves as a station or a delay in your life or mine must go! What's holding you back this morning?)

C. 11:32 The Cost of Delay - Abram's delay in this matter of obedience was costly to him. While he lingered in Haran precious years past him by. Those were years that could have been spent enjoying the best God had to offer. Instead, those years were spent watching the father he loved waste away. Those years were spent being grieved by the sins of a family still in the grip of idolatry (Note: The work of God is too precious and time is too short for us to hesitate in carrying out the orders we receive from Heaven. Why should we settle for second best while the wasted years pile up in our lives? Everyday brings us one day closer to the grave, let us determine in our hearts that we will make every moment count for the glory of the Lord, Rom. 13:11-14; Eph. 5:16.)

Al Hansen

Why do we delay and stay in Haran like Abraham? Fear can cause you to camp out in Haran
A. Gen 12:6 "The Canaanite was in the land" -- I don’t know who this dude was but he must have been one intimidator to deserve this special mentioning
B. Mentality goes something like "At least I’m not back in idolatrous Ur. Haran is not so bad, besides God would have me use wisdom to avoid ’The Canaanite’"
C. Fear paralyzes. It is all about perception. They thought this "the canaanite" dude was a force to be reckoned with. We now don’t even know his name but realize the faith of Abram was the true force to be reckoned with.

II. Sorrow can cause you to camp out in Haran
A. Haran died. Now powerful Terah has had this memorial for Haran.
B. Mentality goes something like "I left out of Ur for you God, and this is what I get -- my son dies? Or this place so reminded him of the son he lost back in Ur that he could not abandon his son’s memory."
C. Prov 17:22 "Merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
D. Our task is not to understand God, appreciate God, explain God. It is to obey God and to love God -- "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

III. Satisfaction can cause you to camp in Haran
A. Maybe it was the barrenness of Sarah’s womb that drove Abram to a mentality of desperation to pursue a promise.
B. Maybe it was the fullness of Terah’s home, that made him content with partial obedience.
C. Realize you can’t be content being called out from Ur. Your salvation is only half fulfilled when you are called out of the world.
D. God has not only saved you from the world, but to His glory. Abram was not content growing in a household that only birthed the minimum of salvation by separation from idols. He had forsaken the world, now he must pursue another world.

IV. God’s plan will always be pursued beyond your years
A. Abram pursued a city he would never see
B. David desired to build a temple he was not permitted to build
C. Paul desired to journey to Spain & preach the gospel
D. God will always give you a mandate greater than you can fulfill
E. If it is something you can accomplish in your lifetime, it is your goal and satisfaction will leave you complacent in Haran
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going.

I can just hear Abe speaking with his neighbors,

Why are you packing Abe,...?
I am moving

Where are you moving too?
I don’t know

Well, what will you do when you get there?
I don’t know yet

Why are you moving?
Because God told me

Thats incredible, you mean to tell me you’re going to follow God and you don’t even know where you’re going?

Listen, when I follow God, I know where I am going, I just don’t know the coordinates.

It has been wisely said that it is better to follow the Lord and not know exactly where you are going, then to think you know where you are going, and not be following the Lord. (Hayford, p.20)

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