Last week, we talked about how God wants us to know and follow him….to do what’s RIGHT, even if it’s really hard! He wants us to live life the way he designed it to be lived! That kind of thing might seem a little CRAZY today! Most of your friends might not really know or care that much about God and what he wants for their lives…so if you’re someone who is living in a way that’s different from them…it definitely STANDS OUT!
I shared a story of how, when I was a teenager and decided to follow Jesus, God brought some awesome changes in my life. For example, I used to swear like a sailor (do sailor's really swear a lot???), but soon after I invited Jesus into my life, I found that I wanted God to be proud of the things I said. Well guess what? It wasn't long until people noticed that my language was different. In fact, I had friends who even DARED me to swear and offered me money just to say a bad word--- just so they could hear it coming out of my mouth! Isn’t that crazy?
That's just one example that reminds us that if you are serious about loving and following God, people MIGHT think that you're a bit odd. They might not understand why you do what you do. It might lead them to ask you some questions! They might even make fun of you because of it! Tonight, we're looking at the story of Abraham and how God invited him on an adventure....to follow him!
Genesis 12:1, 4 says, “The Lord had said to Abraham, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. So Abraham departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot (his nephew) went with him. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”
Imagine this. Imagine that your mom or dad called a family meeting and told you that God spoke to them and said that he wanted them to move to a new country (and they aren’t sure what that country will be…they’ll find out on the way), AND THAT THEY WERE DOING IT. How would you feel? Scared? Angry? Shocked? Would you think they were totally insane?
Well, that’s what God was asking Abraham to do—to leave life the way he had known it, to step WAY OUTSIDE his comfort zone, and move to a new country—to go on an adventure. And he wasn’t an adventurous 20 year-old either--- he was 75 YEARS OLD! That’s like your grandma or grandpa deciding all of a sudden to move away without giving their next address! You would probably try to talk some sense into them! You would probably tell them that they should sit back, relax and enjoy life instead of going off to do something crazy! But here’s the deal—God had a special plan for Abraham…and God just asked Abraham to trust him--- to trust that he would lead him someplace good—to trust that he had a good plan for his life!
God actually told Abraham that “if you love and follow me, I’ll be committed to you and your family. I’ll be your God and you will be my people. I’ll take care of you! I’ll bless you! In fact—ALL PEOPLE ON EARTH will be blessed through you!” God said that Abraham would have a huge family with many descendants!”
Now, here’s Abraham. He’s 75 years old. And God is telling him to move to a new place and that he would have KIDS. He didn’t have any kids at the time…and his wife was just 10 years younger than he was (65 at the time)! Well, guess what Abraham did? He followed God on this adventure. He trusted that God would take care of him….and He moved away to a new country and it wasn’t until YEARS later that he had a kid. In fact, he was 100 and his wife was 90 when they had their kid. It was kind of a miracle! His wife Sarah, actually LAUGHED HYSTERICALLY AT THE THOUGHT THAT AN OLD LADY LIKE HER COULD HAVE A KID! But God kept his promise!
And spoiler alert—Abraham’s descendants would become the people of Israel---and all through the Bible, we see God sticking with them even when they bailed on him and sinned---God constantly offered them love and forgiveness, even if they didn’t deserve it….because of the commitment that he had made with Abraham ----and Jesus—the saviour of the world (remember, God said that he would BLESS THE ENTIRE WORLD through Abraham) was born in that family line! Joseph, Jesus’ adopted dad was a descendant of Abraham!
So, God had pretty big plans for Abraham and his family---but if Abraham had said, “No way! I’m too old! I want to play it safe! I don’t want people to think I’m crazy!”—none of that would have happened!) Instead, Abraham packed up and went on this road trip
There’s something that we can learn from Abraham’s story….and that’s that God asks us to FOLLOW HIM- to live life the way he designed it to be lived and to trust that He knows and wants the best for us!
For you, following God might not meaning moving to a strange new country or having a kid when you’re 100 years old…but it’ll definitely mean that you’ll stand out in a crowd! Just like for Abraham, following God can be super risky and might seem totally crazy to some people!
It might be as simple as living in a way that’s different from other people around you (actually living what you believe). That might mean being honest when you could get away with something or refusing to gossip or make fun of somebody else. It might mean asking someone for forgiveness when you did something wrong or hurt them in some way?
Following God might mean giving money to charity, giving money to the church, or volunteering in the church or community when you could spend the money on yourself or spend your time sitting at home playing video games instead!
That’s what following God looks like—it means standing out--- it means being COUNTER-CULTURAL--- doing the opposite of what a lot of others around us might do--- being committed to doing what’s right, even if it’s really hard or might mean people think we’re crazy!
Each one of us will have to make the decision for ourselves--- If God created me to know and follow him….AM I ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT? Am I going to live life the way he designed it to be lived? Am I going to go on the adventure that God has planned out for me?
Abraham is a pretty inspiring old dude. He trusted God with his life- and it meant stepping WAY OUTSIDE his comfort zone--- but as a result, God blessed him and his family in AMAZING WAYS—and ultimately, God used his family to be a part of his plan to SAVE THE WORLD—to offer love and forgiveness to EVERYONE through Jesus! Just like God called Abraham to an adventure, he's calling us to an adventure-- and we can trust that when we follow him, wherever it leads it'll be a place where we can really make a difference with our lives.