Second only to the call of Mary and Joseph to be the parents of Jesus, the Christ, is the calling of Abram and Sarai to set in motion the history of the “fathers” of Israel.
Here God called one person along with his wife and promised that they would be the beginning of a great historical destiny and also be instrumental in bringing divine blessings upon all the dispersed families of humankind. And so it did come to pass according to God’s timetable.
The story begins with God’s providence working behind the scenes, as often it does. Abram’s father, Terah, and Lot, Abram’s nephew, and their families traveled down to Haran, a journey of about 600 miles.
Terah’s original destination was Canaan. Failure to reach Canaan may have been part of God’s strategy to prepare Abram and Sarai. They may have felt more confident and secure as they began to trust in God to provide for their every need before leaving the security of the tents of Terah and setting forth to travel. God alone knew where and what to expect once they arrived there.
We must keep in mind that there were no AAA offices to go to warn them of geographical and climate challenges and dangers. Like Mary and Joseph, they were totally dependent upon God to lead, guide and protect them.
Abram’s decision to obey God and go to a land where only God knew what to expect was based on belief in God’s promises and not logic or how he felt about obeying God.
To believe in God’s promises means we do not have to face anything alone. It is not all up to us.
God will use other people to “feather” us and encourage us not only to endure terrible circumstances but prevail over such times in our lives. Pregnant Mary discovered this fact when she went to visit her relative, Elizabeth.
Like Abram and Sarai and Joseph and Mary, we people of God are on a faith journey. May we have faith in our faith and thus respond to God’s call to do what God calls us to do and can only do with God’s help. To believe in God’s promises, therefore, means far more than a passive response.
THE REV. GENE NORRIS IS A LOCAL PRESBYTERIAN PASTOR.