Adapted from a church in Bruges, Belgium
This week’s scripture reference: Genesis 12-13, 15-17, 21-22, 32-33, 35
Romans 4; Hebrews 11
This week we explore the call of Abraham. God calls Abraham to build a nation, a community after God’s own heart that will proclaim the presence and power of God. Here God reveals his plan to use Abraham to bring God’s people back into the garden, back into relationship with God. Abraham’s call begins with a covenant, a promise, an agreement from God.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…” – Genesis 12:1-4
If we were going to build a new nation, we might recruit young creative, dynamic, prolific leaders. God chooses a 75 year old man and his barren wife, Abram and Sarai (whose names God later changes to Abraham and Sarah). God chooses them knowing that they will stumble and fall along the way. God chooses them anyways. In their weakness we see God’s presence and power.
What does this reveal to you about God?
What does this say about humanity?
Abraham and Sarah respond to God’s call. They respond to God’s call in faith. They are faithful, not perfect, but faithful. Faith is described as belief that is not based on proof. The biblical definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” In this week’s sermon, God Builds a Nation, Pastor Cara describes faith as the gap or space between what we can do and what God has promised. Abraham and Sarah embraced this gap and stepped out in faith with a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. They longed for a vibrant future.
All of us have a desire for significance and usefulness, to know that we have purpose, that we matter, that we are blessed. In this week’s scripture readings we encounter the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Essau. In each of these lives we can see a desire for purpose and significance. Some of those desires lead to schemes and tricks and taking matters in their own hands, some of those desires lead to trust in God. In all these stories we can find the story of God’s love and faithfulness and our call to be instruments of God’s redemption. This faith family is our inheritance. A reminder that God has not given up on his people. A reminder that God continues to call us to be in relationship with him. A reminder that God does not give up on us.
How is God calling you to be part of God’s great mission?
How is God traveling with you on your journey?
As you reflect on this week’s scripture, consider this week’s creed from our Call to Worship written by a church in Belgium. How do the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob help to shape your belief? What are you wrestling with? Do you believe in the power of our triune God to shape our community to be one after God’s own heart? Do you believe our community has potential to become reflective of the ways of God’s kingdom – all embracing love, peace, and unity?
Be assured that living into our call to be part of God’s great mission will be messy. Be assured that when our journey to become a community reflective of God’s kingdom results in heart ache and disappointment, even being beat up for the purposes of God, we are not alone. God meets us where ever we are, picks us up, dusts us off, tapes us back together and smooths us out so that we might live into God’s call. This is faith! Thanks be to God!
To listen to this week’s sermon, God Builds a Nation Sermon 2/5 in “Go” The Story Mini-Series, click here!
For Family Devotions related to this week’s message, click here!
For more information and additional resources for The Story at Faith UMC,click here!