“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee…So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him.” ~Genesis 12:1,4a
If the Lord had told you to leave your country, your family and friends, without telling you where to go, just so you’d know Him better, would you go? Imagine leaving the comforts of home, the security of family, the love and joy of friendship, literally everything and everyone you grew up with and have become familiar with. Deciding to follow God to the seemingly unknown (God knows it) is no small matter, and actually doing it is not an easy task. But here we see that Abram did exactly that.
He left his country, bringing with him his wife, Lot, and all their substance that they had gathered. (Genesis 12:5) He obeyed God, but he took all his wealth and riches, his cattle, and pretty much everything he owned. Abram still could not let go and leave all that he had, so the Lord was gracious enough to let him bring all his baggage. But as he went on with the journey, God did something in Abram that loosened his hold on everything and everyone he held dear in this earth, so that he would know God in a more personal way.
That doesn’t mean Abram had it perfect every step of the way; he had his share of trials and temptations. When they were in Egypt, he became fainthearted and told Pharaoh that his wife, Sarai, was his sister. He did this because he thought his life was dear, and he didn’t want to die. But perhaps this incident in Egypt taught him that although he thought his life precious, he didn’t have to be afraid of what would happen. Abram had to learn to give the job of keeping his life to God.
Then with the issue they had about Lot’s herdsmen and his, he had to let go of the pride and prestige of having the best cattle in the area. The fact that he let Lot choose the place where his cattle would graze meant that he no longer cared for that. He could have used his position as the elder, the uncle, and insisted on getting the best grazing place, with Lot getting the not-so-good area, just so he can maintain the status of having the best cattle. But no. It didn’t matter to him anymore if he had the best or not. Going where the Lord would lead was more important.
His final test would have probably been that time when God asked him to give up his son, Isaac, to be a sacrifice. Can you imagine giving up the dearest person to us and sacrificing them to whatever God wanted them to be? Think of the person you love the most, and imagine giving them up, against our will, so that they would fulfil what the Lord led them to. It would be hard for us, but most especially for Abraham because this was his son, the promised son, the one he had waited for so long!
He went through with the journey, with all its testing and trouble, and in the end, God blessed him for it. “He believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:23) For him, the journey was not only in obedience to God–it became the process of learning to let go of the things that Abram held dear, the things that were holding him back from knowing God in a more personal level.
If the Lord calls you to depart just so you can learn to draw nearer to Him, would you go? Even if it meant leaving the comforts of home, the security of friends and family, and everything else you know and love? Even if it meant risking your life for the sake of truth and the gospel? Even if it meant you have to let go and lose all your material/physical blessings so you would know what really matters, and be content in just whatever God gives you? Would you do it even if it meant that you would lose someone dear to you, whether a family member, or your best friend?
Such thought-provoking questions, but if it was part of the process of knowing God in a more intimate way, would you do it?