ABRAHAM – Strange Country (Lesson 3)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”(Hebrews 11:8-10)

What does it feel like to go to a place that you have never been before? The language and customs of the people are different from your own. The food they eat, the way of life, and their traditions and history are radically different from the known. The sights, smells and sounds are foreign, which confuses the sense and confounds your peace of mind. You feel lost, vulnerable and scared. You might wonder if you made a mistake in traveling to a foreign place where everything is different and confusing.

To understand the faith of Abraham completely, you must first understand the places he was coming from. Before he was Abraham, he was Abram, a man who worked for his father, had a comfortable living in the town of Ur, and was valuable to his community in the skills that his father had raised him to express. Yet, Abraham had a nagging urge that grew deeper and deeper as he grew up. The culture of false god idol worship confused him; he knew deep inside that there was surely a God of all gods. That inner most knowledge was surely put there by the LORD God, as His plans for the spiritual path toward Him were laid in Abram’s soul.

Abram was a man leaving the known for the unknown. He was called out of the known by the LORD God, and he obeyed. When he left his house in a civilized town, he left many of his family, friends, and way of life. He was thrust into a strange country. He no longer lived in a comfortable house, but rather slept in tents as he walked toward his destination. He was a man without a country, without a support system, without tradition, without friends, and without most family; yet, he moved toward the promise of land, in search for the one true LORD God.

By faith, Abram sojourned in the land of promise. He lived as a stranger in a place he did not know. The country was strange to him. It felt as if he were living among aliens or enemies. The reassurance of predictable life left him, and he came to a place where his journey had to be directed by the LORD God, because he had absolutely no knowledge of his surroundings.

Abram was motivated not only by the LORD God’s direction, but by a deep desire that the God placed in him from the start. That desire was to find a solid foundation that was made by the one true LORD God. Abram sought after a surety of faith, where his spiritual needs were solidly based upon Truth, rather than the pretense of little idols that promised nothing. Hope to find the true LORD God fueled his journey and brought hope to his spirit as he wandered to the places that the Lord willed him to go.

And so Abram left the familiar to seek after the supernatural that was unknown. His desperation to find the LORD God overpowered his need to stay with the familiar life he had been raised in. That desire was so intense, that it moved Abram toward the LORD God, and away from the life he was raised within.

That same faith is required of many, many converts to the Christian faith, as they accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. While all of God’s children were made that way from start, not all are born in families that walk the way of faith. Rather, they are scattered in the world, in all kinds of life situations; seldom do they come from the foundation of faith that are expressed solidly by their family and friends. Instead, God’s people gather as the urge to know Him and the need to seek a solid foundation of Truth is more powerful than the urge to stay with the familiar. When that happens, the unknown journey begins, as the convert begins walking the way of Abram toward the Truth expressed only by the LORD God.

Our loving Lord Jesus Christ paved the way for their journey, and created a map for the travelers to follow that will lead them straight to Him. Yet, danger lies at the sides of the path along the journey, as the profane and the wicked seek to stop the walk. As the pilgrims of faith progress down that path, they are guided by His Word to find that solid foundation that will give them spiritual stance to form their faith in Him. They first must leave the familiar world filled with worldly and natural hopes and desires, and take a step into the unknown that has only the promise of finding the LORD God as they travel the path first laid by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part of the faith of Abraham expresses the brave journey that is walked in faith of finding the LORD God and being brought to His bosom through the Lord Jesus Christ. That first step that a seeker takes sometimes seems as one of the scariest steps that they ever can take. It is often like standing upon a cliff and trusting that a solid bridge will suddenly appear as you take that first step toward God. That trust in a God that you do not know intimately translates to the faith of Abraham, as he took his first steps toward Him.

An important note to all faithful followers of Jesus Christ: It matters not that you raise your children to know Him or come from a believing family; each must take that step of faith! Sometimes that means that children leave Christian families to embrace worldly things; we always pray that they one day seek the path toward Him.

However, unless the faith of Abraham is expressed by a seeker by traveling a path away from the familiar world, then that reduced faith will limit him. A child cannot travel the parent’s path; he must be brave enough, have faith enough, to take that step on his own. A good reminder of this is presented in the parable of the lost son recorded in Luke 15:11-32.

”And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:11-32)

All believers must make that journey of the pilgrim and progress past the things of the world to Him. The faith of Abraham expresses the faith needed for all seekers to walk toward the things of God. Let us hope that when travelers take that first step upon the path of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there are mature Christian guides to help them find His Way!


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