Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Being called and being thankful
We are reminded again and again in the Torah readings that we have been reading that in the process of following Yeshua, we are called out to places and to do things for which we are unprepared. Pride and a lack of wisdom routinely take us, as disciples of Yeshua, into places we shouldn't be. In the example that Abraham gives us, we see that it is possible to be called out by the Lord from a place of plenty (a place for which have been prepared) to a place of famine (unprepared).
Sometimes it is easy, and very legitimate for everyone around us to know that we have not been called where we are attempting to go. Think of the pastor that decides he is being called by the Lord to divorce his wife and be with his secretary. That's a pretty easy one.
Now, think of any number of different examples, where you or someone you know says something crazy, but not directly sinful and says that the Lord is leading them (to that crazy thing). Believers are pretty good about being a judge regarding those kinds of things. They will often give you any number of reasons why you are "all wrong" or in sin for thinking that. Many times it is true. As the scriptures say, "... with many counselors plans succeed."
But, what if it is in fact the Lord? And, how can you know for sure? After all, it just may be that the conscience you are trying not to violate is not really your conscience. And, if you are on the "friend" side how do you know it's not your "judgey" side that is coming out? Sometimes these questions can be very difficult in the midst of the circumstances. Remember Job's friends. Wrong about Job, right about sin.
Genesis 12:7-10 ESV "Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land."
So, again, what if it is the Lord? In Abraham's case, the Lord certainly called him out. The Lord appears to him again and so he builds an altar while in the land. But, then within just a few verses we read that in the land of his calling there is a famine and he has to leave the land. This may be called a famine obstacle or for many believers an "I told you so".
The Lord is always directing us. The problem is we often get "caught up" in the famine osbtacle after the Lord calls us and we are obedient. Our response to this obstacle is to close the relational connection we have to God.
Abraham didn't mind the famine. He simply moved to where he could avoid the famine. God always remains relational and Abraham remained relational so he was able hear God being relational (affirming and directing). But, being relational doesn't mean that we don't fear in the natural. The more relational we remain, however, the less we fear. In just a few chapters Abraham goes to war against a bunch of kings.
Okay, maybe you can buy that. But, how do you keep the relational side with God open? Gratitude and Thankfulness. This is also how we can tell it's been closed. If we find ourselves not being thankful, we will find ourselves not being relational. So, just like any skill, it must be practiced. Practice being thankful and having a heart of gratitude. There are many ways to do this!
Daniel and Berelyn,