Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country,” Genesis 12:1
Said – Are you like Abram? Think about the circumstances that surround Abram’s understanding of God. Abram doesn’t have the written Word. There were no Scriptures in Abram’s time. Abram lives in a land of pagan worship and practices. Abram has no detailed, documented history of God. Abram’s extended family are polytheists, worshipping YHWH and a host of household gods. Abram doesn’t know Jesus. Abram is an example of the familiar question, “What about the little girl in Ethiopia who has never heard of Jesus?”
It’s amazing that Abram ever responded to God at all, especially since God asked Abram to leave all that was familiar and secure. Certainly this implies that Abram was a man of incredible spiritual insight. It also implies that Abram and perhaps Abram’s immediate family must have had some relationship with YHWH passed down from the days of Noah. What other explanation provides justification for Abram’s actions? There’s a reason that God chose Abram.
We get a bit of insight into the call of Abram when we see that the Hebrew verb is ‘amar. You will remember that ‘amar is not just about speaking. It carries with it the idea of actions that back up words. YHWH calls Abram and Abram hears; but there must have been other signs that provided Abram with the evidence he needed.
Now put yourself in Abram’s place. After all, you and I are his spiritual children. Perhaps some of his spiritual commitment and insight needs to rub off on us. If you didn’t have Scripture, if you didn’t have the “Christian” culture or the history of the Judeo-Christian world, if you didn’t have the familiar vocabulary of worship and salvation, what kind of relationship would you have with YHWH? Would you be attuned to His voice? Would you see the evidence of His direction? Would you be ready to make life-changing commitments based on your personal involvement with Him?
I’m afraid that most of us would have stayed in Ur. Our religion depends on our visual connection with written codes, commandments and conversion statements. We are not auditory believers. We are followers of the Book. Our experience with God is directed by programs and pulpits rather than by listening and obeying. We have a cerebral Christianity geared toward sight and word, not sound and experience. We don’t practice listening because it is simpler and more efficient to practice proof-texting.
Abram knew God through direct conversation. We know about God through written translations. The difference is worth considering. Do you suppose that God has stopped talking? Do you think that the means by which Abram knew God’s voice and God’s desires has been supplanted by theological interpretation and historical analysis? Would you know the sound of His voice if He did speak to you? Progressive revelation does not mean replacement revelation. It means that God adds to what He has already spoken, not that He stops speaking. Are you practicing listening? What do you hear?
Topical Index: Voice