Each year, I have the great joy of taking people to Israel, to explore the land of the Bible from Dan to Beersheva, and most places in between. The months leading up to departure are a time of preparation for the folks that have decided to make this journey. There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation.
There is also a bit of anxiety. In an attempt to manage the unknown and limit what could be unpleasant, questions start coming my way.
What kind of shoes do I need to wear?
Can you tell me a little about the food we will be eating?
Do they speak English in Israel?
How will you insure our safety?
Don’t get me wrong. I understand people wanting to be prepared, to know that what’s around the bend in the road won’t be uncomfortable or even dangerous. The people who trust me with their well-being have a right to ask questions. However, there is a downside to the “need to know before I go” mentality.
Before continuing with this blog, take a few minutes and read Genesis 12.
Where Are We Going?
Consider an imaginary conversation that could have occurred in the home of a couple making their own preparations for their journey to Israel about 4,000 years ago.
“Sarah! Sarah! Something has happened, I need to talk to you right NOW!” Mumbling, Abram said to himself, “Where could she be, it’s not like we have a household of children for her to take care of.” Shouting again, “SARAI!”
Entering the room his wife attempted to quiet him down. “My husband, please use your inside voice. What is so important that you have to shout loud enough for everyone in Chaldea to hear?”
Out of breath, Abram ordered, “Sit down my wife, you are not going to believe this!” Sarai prepared for one of her husband’s usually long-winded stories. He continued, “God spoke to me.” “Really,” she replied as a quizzical impatient look began to spread across her beautiful face, “what did He say to you?”
Abram knew that this was where it was going to get difficult. “Well, we need to pack up everything that we can carry, and follow Him to a land He will show us.” Beginning to get up in years, Sarai wasn’t sure she had heard right. “Uhhhh, … come again?” Slowing down and speaking very clearly, Abram said, “We’re leaving Ur. Call the Ryder-Rent-a-Camel guys and get us a caravan scheduled for departure next week. We’re going, I’ve made my decision. No more questions!”
Sarai stood up and came closer, never blinking, maintaining eye contact. She was so close, Abram could feel her breath. “Where, are, we, going?” was all she said. While her words spilled ominously into the room, her husband caught the unmistakeable edge of her tone. The next moments, would be pivotal to their future together. After all, her question was the giant in the room wasn’t it? He couldn’t help himself, before he knew it, Abram solid the beans. “I don’t know, we’re just supposed to follow Him to a land He will show us.” With just a moment’s hesitation, before he lost his nerve he finished pleadingly with, “Can we just start packing now, puhleeese?”
Genesis 12 recounts the first steps of one of the most incredible journeys of all time. The Bible doesn’t record the conversations between Mr. & Mrs. First Patriarch their departure from home. I’m sure they had questions. Maybe God answerd them, maybe He didn’t.
Here is what we do know. This elderly couple left their comfortable home on the Persian Gulf, with no clear indication of what lay ahead. Along the way, tragedy struck. There was a death in the family at Haran. Undeterred, they continued to follow God with their unanswered questions. “Where are we going? How will we know when we get there?” There were other questions, too! “We don’t have any children to share the fruit of our journey with! Why are we out here all alone, in the middle of nowhere?”
Every journey begins with a first step. Have you ever considered what you might have missed out on in life because of a “need to know” attitude? The things that we end up not doing can have huge eternal implications. There is no way that Abram and Sarai could have known that their first step would pave the way for another step to be taken some 2,000 years later. That step was taken on a starry night in Bethlehem. The Son of God stepped out of eternity and into mankind’s present. It was a step He had planned to take since before He spoke the world into being. Unlike, Abram and Sarai, Yeshua knew exactly what lay ahead around the bend in the road.
Abram and Sarai’s faith in God and leave the known behind led to God giving them new names, Abraham (father of many) and Sarah (princess). In time, God gave them an extended family (the Jews) and a land (Israel). This set the stage for Messiah’s own world changing sojourn right here on terra firma. Because of Abraham and Sarah’s faith, those who believe today share blessings untold in their physical descendant, Messiah Jesus. Aren’t you glad that Abraham and Sarah moved beyond their personal concerns of safety and security down the road to the future God had for them?
Use the response form below and share what God taught you when you stepped out in a faith journey of your own without fear of what might be ahead.