This is a synopsis of the message I preached yesterday at Cold Springs Church. It is based on Abram’s call and journey in Genesis 12. I see four “stones” on Abram’s journey:
The Stone of Separation: God’s call separates us from all that we find comfortable and familiar—from everything in which we find security apart from him. But he promises to replace our security with him: Abram was called to leave his country, but was promised a new land. He was called to leave his kindred, his community; but was promised a great nation. He was called to leave his father’s house, but was promised the presence of God. (Notice that this ties nicely into one way of looking at a theme throughout the Bible: that God creates a people, for a place, to enjoy his presence. We see that theme in creation, in the story of the people of Israel, and all the way to Revelation, as we see God gathering his people to a new heaven and new earth to enjoy his presence forever.) Where are you finding security apart from God?
The Stone of Promise: Sometimes God’s promises are unbelievable, impossible, or unimaginable. But that doesn’t keep us from trying to imagine how God will fulfill the promise—we just usually get it wrong! (Because, after all, “our thoughts are not God’s thoughts; nor are our ways his ways.”) What we need to cling to, though, is not the promise; we need to rely on the character of the promise-giver.
The Stone of Obedience: We want to obey God; we really do. We want to do God’s will, but we often hesitate in uncertainty; God has said Go, and we want to know where to go – or at least what direction. We are too often frozen into inaction by our very desire to do God’s will. But his will is sometimes simply, Go. And we need to obey the call…even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.
The Stone of Remembrance: When Abram obeyed, he came to the place where God said he should be: “To your offspring I will give this land.” And there—where the Lord had appeared to him—Abram built an altar. Continuing on the journey, Abram built another altar to call on the name of the Lord. One line in the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” says, “here I raise my Ebenezer.” An Ebenezer is a stone of remembrance. We need those. Maybe it’s an actual stone; maybe it’s a memory; maybe a journal entry or a photo. However you remember, when God shows…remember. For me, May 28, 2009, is a stone of remembrance. On that day I prayed a very specific prayer that God answered very specifically and very immediately. God showed up, and that date is engraved in my mind.
Separation. Promise. Obedience. Remembrance. Stones along the journey of faith. It’s a journey with no road map, only milestones. But once you start on the journey, the risk – the adventure – will get into your blood and course through your veins and you’ll never again be satisfied with the comfortable, secure, risk-free life you once knew.