Genesis 12:1: The call
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” NIV
Note: ‘’The LORD had said to Abram…’’ This was the beginning of the process. When Abram was in Ur of the Chaldees, God called him out of idolatry (see Joshua 24:2). It was a work of grace. The inhabitants of the city of Ur were devoted to Nannar, the moon-god. At one time, Abram did not know the true God and he did not do anything to deserve knowing Him, but God graciously called him. ‘’You did not choose me, but I chose you…’’ (John 15:16). That’s how it was with Abraham. This is still how it is with everyone called to faith in Jesus. Stephen, in his speech recorded in Acts 7, says: ‘’The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran’’ (2). We are not told how He appeared to Abram (as he was then called), but in the encounter Abram must have realised the vanity and folly of idol worship He was called ‘out of darkness’ into ‘marvellous light.’
However, not only was Ur an idolatrous centre, archaeological findings have revealed that it was also a sophisticated place. They had running water available in their homes, for example. It can’t have been easy to ‘’Leave’’ the luxury they enjoyed, but that is just what Abram was instructed to do. Nevertheless, first steps in the life of faith may be tentative. Abram’s were. Looking back through (11:27-32) you will see that Abram did not immediately leave his ‘’father’s household.’’
His brother Nahor did not leave Ur at all. Warren Wiersbe characterises him as ‘the man who ‘stayed’, while Terah he describes as ‘the man who stopped’, and Lot as ‘the man who strayed.’ But his story is still to unfold.
Jesus’ call to discipleship is a costly one, no less than Abram’s was. Anyone embarking on the life of faith must be willing to pay a price (Luke 14:25-27). ‘God must reduce us to a minimum before he can work through us to the maximum.’ F.B. Meyer.