In today’s Bible reading*, Abram follows God’s call to leave his home in Haran, at the border of modern-day Syria and Turkey. He went and down through modern-day Lebanon, Israel, across to Egypt, and back up into Israel, settling in Hebron. The trip from Haran to Canaan was about 400 miles. On foot. And Abram had a lot of stuff, family, and servants that he brought with him.
Assuming Abram and his entourage traveled 20 miles a day, it would have taken three weeks. Mind you, Abram is 75 years old when he heard God call him to pack up and leave. Twenty miles a day might be a very conservative figure!
Three weeks (or more) is a long time to walk, not knowing where you were going. And over the next few years, Abram and his family walked many more miles.
But Abram follows God’s call the whole time. I’m sure his wife asked many times, “Abram, are we there yet? How much further?” And there were probably the occasional comments, “And you said ‘God’ told you. Yeah, right.”
Notice Genesis 12:1 says that the LORD spoke to Abraham. This is the covenant-making, covenant-keeping Name of God. Over the coming days, we’ll see more about this covenant-making God and His covenant with Abram.
This covenant-making, covenant-keeping God called Abram out of nowhere and said, “Follow me.” He didn’t tell him where. He didn’t tell him how far. He didn’t tell him what would happen along the way or afterward. He just says, “Follow me.”
So how would you respond?
Most of us don’t hear God’s voice like Abram did, at least not every day. But one day, the Disciples heard Jesus say the same thing: “Follow me.” And they did. The fishermen in the group didn’t wait to put away their nets and sell their fish. Matthew didn’t turn in his cash till to the Romans. The Disciples just dropped what they were doing, not knowing where Jesus would lead them (ultimately to their persecution and death). They simply followed His call.
All they knew was, they were following Jesus. Yes, they deserted Him in His darkest hour. But they came back. And they followed Him for the rest of their lives.
A call to follow Jesus is a call to die. It may cost your physical life. It may cost your financial life. It may cost relationships. But to follow Jesus, we must deny ourselves, and die daily. (Luke 9:23)
But I can tell you that following God’s call is worth the self-denial. And following God’s call is worth the risk. (Matthew 6:33)
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
This devotional was originally published on January 8, 2021, and includes corrections in distance and timing.