Scripture Reading: Genesis chapter 12:1-20
“So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to Him…” – Genesis 12:4a (NASB)
There is certainly something to be said for listening and obeying. The child who is constantly disobeying his or her parent is likely not to experience the blessings that most parents would truly love to show to their children. As a child matures, the parent gives privileges to the child based, in part, upon how that child has responded and is expected to respond. Our heavenly Father, of course, knows not only how we’ve responded in the past, He has the ability to see us without the mask of time. In a very general sense, when we do what is right, we normally are blessed because we are acting in accordance with God’s plan for us and the world. We may be tempted to think we will inherit a special blessing from God as a result of our obedience. This simply is not the Gospel of Grace. In fact, it is this type of religious arrogance which was the driving force behind the crucifixion of Jesus.
Not simply obedience
It’s tempting to think our only motivation for God’s hand moving is our obedience or disobedience. This simply is not true. Paul reiterates to the church of Rome (Romans 9:15) what is spoken of by God Himself to Moses in Exodus 33:19, “…I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” Jesus also reiterates a thought from Ecclesiastes 9 in Matthew 5:45 “…for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The very Gospel itself is not predicated upon the works of men, but rather on his humility before God in response to Jesus’ finished work. Jesus made the statement to the pharisees who were quick to judge His calling of Levi, and said “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
This is a seemingly simple question, but Scripture does not answer directly. Rather we are called to rely on the sovereignty of God’s choosing. The call of Abram, the father of the Jewish nation, is unlike the call of Noah (Genesis 6). This passage tells us that Noah found “favor in the eyes of the Lord” and, “Noah walked with God.” However in Genesis 12, we read nothing of Abraham’s previous faithfulness. Instead, Scripture records the famous example that the writer of Hebrews recalls, “Abram went forth as the Lord commanded Him.” Abraham did not question the Lord, He simply did what He was told.
Glorified in His Choice
Beyond our comprehension, is the truth that God knew at the moment he called Abram, the nation would eventually completely rebel against Him. God was not surprised during the times of the Judges, nor was He unaware of the coming point in time when their sacrifices would become putrid.
Simply put, it is outside our comprehension to know why God chooses what He does – including the nation of Israel. However, we can rest assured that God chose what would bring Him the most glory. With such a thought we can have peace!