November 23, 2023
Uncharted Territory – Genesis 12
Listen to last week’s sermon Uncharted Territory found in Genesis 12
Last week, pastor Eric shared a message on “Uncharted Territory” and how embarking on a journey into the unknown is an experience that resonates throughout human history. In the pages of Genesis 12, we find the remarkable story of Abraham, a man called by God to navigate uncharted territory. The narrative unfolds with a divine command that would alter the course of Abraham’s life and set in motion a legacy that would impact generations.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)
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.
The Pivotal Moment
Genesis 12 marks a pivotal moment in Abraham’s life, where God unfolds extraordinary promises. The divine commitment to make Abraham into a great nation, to bless him abundantly, and to make his name great is nothing short of remarkable. This blessing, however, extends beyond Abraham to encompass all peoples on earth, a promise ultimately fulfilled through the lineage of David and, most profoundly, in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Giving Up the Familiar
In order to set this divine plan in motion, Abraham faced the challenging task of giving up something familiar. God’s directive was clear – leave your country, your people, and your father’s household. This act was not merely a physical relocation but a departure from a culture steeped in idolatry. Abraham was called to abandon the known, the comfortable, and the culturally ingrained practices that surrounded him.
Abraham’s willingness to step into the unknown required a relinquishment of his past, a separation from the familiar. Whether prompted by the need to step out of idolatry or as a symbol of consecration for a divine purpose, Abraham’s departure was a prerequisite for God’s promises to unfold.
The Challenge of Partial Obedience
Despite God’s clear instruction, Abraham’s obedience was not without its challenges. His departure from his homeland included taking family relatives with him, such as his nephew Lot and possibly even his father. (Read Acts 7) This partial obedience led to a temporary halt in their journey as they camped at Haran, a deviation from the direct path God had intended.
This scenario serves as a powerful reminder that partial obedience can delay the fulfillment of God’s promises. It prompts us to reflect on our own lives and consider areas where we may be stuck, needing to give up something to progress into God’s promises.
The call to give up something familiar is not confined to the historical narrative of Abraham. In our modern context, God may be prompting us to let go of certain aspects of our lives – whether it be sinful patterns, idolatrous attachments, unhealthy relationships, past shame and guilt, or ungodly habits. Just as Abraham had to leave the familiar behind, we too are called to release the known paths and embrace the unfamiliar territory God is leading us towards.
Stepping into the Unknown
The second crucial step in Abraham’s journey was stepping into the unknown. God’s directive to
Go to the land I will show you
lacked detailed instructions, roadmaps, or specific information. Abraham faced a profound challenge – to trust God’s guidance without knowing the destination or the journey’s intricacies.
This challenge is one many of us can relate to. In a world that often values certainty and detailed plans, God’s call to step into the unknown can be unnerving. It requires a level of faith that transcends our natural desire for control and certainty.
Faith in the Unknown
Abraham’s response, though, sets an example for us. Despite the absence of detailed information, he chose to trust in God’s promise and take that first step into the unknown. This step of faith, even when the entire journey wasn’t visible, is a powerful testament to the nature of true faith.
As we walk with God, experiencing both mountaintops and valleys, our understanding of His faithfulness grows. The more we know God through His Word and presence, the more we can entrust ourselves to His guidance, even when the path ahead seems uncertain.
Abraham’s journey encourages us to consider our own faith journeys. Are there areas where God is asking us to step into the unknown? Are we willing to take that first small step of faith, even when the details are scarce?
In a society that values meticulous planning, embracing God’s unknowns may seem counterintuitive. However, there’s a beauty in acknowledging that the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. It’s about recognizing that God often works in uncharted territory, where His power is manifested, our faith is stretched, and ultimately, He receives the glory.
Watch the sermon here:
Sermon delivered at New Beginning Church in Rockland on Sunday, November 19, 2023.