Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Journey of faith and guidance
We none of us like change and a move from the familiar and known, into a different culture and environment, is a scary prospect – unless God is clearly speaking and marking out the route and the prospects. How do we position ourselves to hear Him clearly?
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
THIS is the time of year we want to be heading home, into the warm with a fire going, not heading out into the unknown. So if God clearly said to you: Pack up all you have, leave family and friends and move to the north Yorkshire moors, or to Romania, or to inland Portugal, would you go? Come to that, would you be able to actually HEAR such an instruction?
Our world is not the nomadic world of Abraham and his flocks (he was simply called Abram then) and our decisions have more implications. The apostle Paul had a trade as a leatherworker, or tentmaker, and we find him doing this from place to place. Moving jobs, moving house, moving schools, crossing cultures, is complex for us. However, the fundamentals remain: if we hear clearly from God, we know there is favour in heading into the insecurity of the unknown.
Abram heard clearly – very clearly. Just in the beginning stages of the story, the Lord spoke to him four times, including one appearance (Gen. 12:1-2; Gen. 12;4; Gen. 12:7; and Gen. 13:14). There is something special going on here – although take into account the timescale of years. So that is not completely different to some people’s experience today, of the Lord clearly speaking at times and even giving a vision (not many would claim an actual appearance!).
So was Abram just like one of us? The Lord had singled him out. He had a big call on his life. And he was quick to recognise the Lord’s voice and leading. However, he also positioned himself to have a good connection with heaven.
We, too, can position ourselves to be guided by God. With a little willpower, we can even do it better. Here’s how.
Abram had few distractions. He didn’t have a lot to look at apart from the stars at night, and a landscape by day that was plain enough for a few trees to become a landmark. No screens brought him constant information, no music existed to hold his attention, visitors were rare, even angelic ones, and the daily routine was ‘same as, same as’.
However, the Bible account gives us a big clue. He was a worshipper. Wherever he encountered God, he built an altar.
We don’t need to do that. Jesus has become the full and final sacrifice for us, making a way for us to access God’s presence and be right with Him.
It may be harder for us than for Abram, under the stars, to give God the time and space and priority in our lives – but it must surely be easier for us to live as worshippers who can say, in the words of the common disclaimer, “No animals were harmed in this experiment.” We have the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Encourager, who gently turns us from a focus on ourselves and our feelings, to come into the Father’s presence through Jesus and give Him praise for His goodness and kindness.
And this is the environment where, like Abram, we are positioned to hear God speak to us and guide us.