Commentary by Walter Albritton


December 5, 2004


God Continues to Call Us to Be a Blessing to Others


Genesis 11:27-12:9


Key Verse: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1


Shocking is the best way to describe the story of Abram and Sarai. We are not shocked that God would call a righteous couple to serve him. What shocks us is the couple’s amazing willingness to yield immediately to God’s will. God said, “Go,” and they went!

Most of us are prone to argue with God. Abram and Sarai did not. I could have given God a dozen good reasons why I should not have left home. Abram and Sarai simply packed up and began the journey, willing to risk everything in order to obey God. What an example in obedience!

God’s call was very demanding. Being a wealthy man, Abram was living a comfortable life. He had everything a man could want. He was in control. Out of the blue, God upsets his apple cart. Surely it was not easy to leave his country and go to another. Again we must admit that most of us do not hesitate to tell God where we are willing to serve him. We may sing lustily the song “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,” but we really mean is, “I’ll go where you want me to go as long as you let me pick the place.”

This kind of radical obedience reminds us of the apostles. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and they dropped what they were doing and followed him. Here we find a biblical principle of the Kingdom: blessing follows obedience. It was true for Abram; it was true for the disciples, and it is true for us.

From Genesis to Revelation, our God offers promises and blessings. The Bible portrays a mighty God at work throughout history. He displays his power in creation. He creates people and gives them a world to enjoy as they live in obedience to his will. Sin separates people from God, resulting in a fallen and corrupt world.  Human wickedness was so pervasive that God uses the Flood to wipe out all but one family and try again.

Sin remained, however, so God decides to call a nation to live in covenant community with him. Abram was the point man, the one man God chose to use as a channel of blessing for all the earth’s people. God called a man who had no children to believe that God would make him the father of an entire nation! This new nation would become a new community of faith through which God would redeem the world and offer salvation to all people.

God not only called Abram to go to another land, he promises to bless him in an extraordinary way. God’s promise is three-fold: 1) He will give Abram a land; 2) He will multiply Abram’s descendants; and 3) He will bless all the families of the earth through Abram. Amazingly, God’s promises to Abram were not conditional. God simply invited Abram to enter into a covenant with him and Abram agreed. Because Abram said “Yes” to God, God’s covenant blessings have reached across the centuries to us and to all people.

There is a phrase in God’s promise to Abram that we must not overlook. God has a purpose behind every blessing he bestows upon us. He said to Abram, “I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (emphasis added). Here is another Kingdom principle: God blesses us so that we can bless others. Here also is a source of great joy: as we share God’s blessings with others, we are doubly blessed ourselves! The more we give God’s love away to others, the greater the supply of his love in our own hearts!

God continues to call us today to live obediently in covenant with him. As we are inspired by the obedience of Abram and Sarai, so others are inspired by our faithfulness. When we move out faithfully in response to God’s call, unbelievers are prompted to believe that they too can trust God. Christians who are only mildly committed to Christ are often moved by the testimonies of others to answer God’s call in their own lives. I have seen this happen many times.

Dozens of missionaries for many years have shared their stories of God’s call with the people of the Trinity UM Church in Opelika. Dozens of people have been touched by their testimonies. Several heard God calling them to “go to another country,” and they went. Many others in that church have answered God’s call by supporting with prayer and money the ones who have gone forth to serve in other countries. We may say “Yes” to God’s call in many ways, and fervent prayer support for God’s workers is not the least of these ways.

A young man, Trey Sewell, heard God call him, and like Abraham, he went – into missionary service upon graduating from college. Trey and his wife, LeAnn, have ministered for 15 years to desperately poor children in third-world countries, through the splendid work of Youth with a Mission. Trey and LeAnn were blessed and they in turn are blessing others. That is how God’s plan and purpose for the world is fulfilled – the one God blesses becomes a blessing to others.

Trey and LeAnn are examples of how God’s promise to Abram works. Trey’s parents, John and Sally, are dedicated Christians. John’s parents were devout servants of Christ. One family is blessed, and the blessing is passed down to children, and to grandchildren, and to generations yet to be born. No doubt the children of Trey and LeAnn, having been blessed by their parents, will allow the flow of God’s blessing to continue.

You and I have been blessed. We too are called to obey God’s call and live in covenant community with him. We shall be wise to pray constantly for faith like that of Abram and Sarai, so that others may say of us, “God called, and they obeyed God.”

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