[Willow Creek Association] 1998-08-19 - Hey God, Do I Have This Backwards Too?

Genesis 12:1 (NKJ)Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.

The more I study God's word and then more I try to apply His word, the more backwards I feel. But, isn't that how Jesus works? He turns the world's ways upside down or rather right side up. Notice in this verse, God calls Abram, God asks for obedience from Abram, then God promises a revelation to Abram. So the order is a Calling, Obedience and Revelation. So far, so good. Sounds pretty simple to me -- God calls Abram to leave his country, his family and his father and go to Canaan. Stay with me now and let's watch this familiar story unfold.

Genesis 12:5-9 (NKJ) Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.

Notice what Abram did? The first thing he did was not follow God's calling the way God intended. Abram gathered up his family and his servants and went on the journey to Canaan. It's like Abram said, "Ok Lord, I will answer your call, but on MY terms. As a matter of fact God, I am going to check this place out first and see what it looks like for myself." I love the way the Holy Spirit says, "And the Canaanites were then in the land." You know what Abram saw? He saw adversity, hurdles, obstacles, hindrances, inconveniences, and the like. So, what does Abram do? He just moves on down river.

Hmmm.. are you getting the picture? Well I am. It looks just like me. Let's look more closely and then wrap this up.

Genesis 12:14-15 (NKJ) And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.

So, now Abram is separated from Lot, just as God had originally intended. God then showed or revealed to Abram the Land. But doggone it, what does Abram do? He just eases up river some more. Just like us, he just can't quite get out of the old land and fully into the new land. Its so hard to leave the "old" behind and fully immerse ourselves into the "new life" promised by Christ.

A calling, obedience and then revelation. Looks simple to me. But what I do is say, "Lord show me first, then I will obey and answer your call" or in other words, "Show me Lord where Your calling is leading me; then I will decide whether it's worth obeying You or not." I think I have it backwards, how about you?


Lord, Help us to hear Your calling, and to be obedient in every way to that calling. Give us the strength, wisdom and courage to have the faith to go where You call and then await Your wonderful revelation to us. Thank you so much for your Word Lord. The Word that shows us how to do life right, not backwards. Mostly Lord, we thank you for your Son and our Savior, Jesus. In His name we pray, Amen.

David