Sermon … Chapter 2

The Promise

Sep 22, 2013 | by Rev. Stephen Heinzel-Nelson | series: The Story

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Where You Lead, I Will Follow

Where_you_lead___I_will_follow_by_shoreme

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead
— Carole King

I’ve never been a good follower.  That’s why I’m a terrible dancer; I want to set my own tempo, make my own way, take the lead.   I’m baffled by Abram who gets up and leaves his homeland, his people, and his familiar ways … because God says to go.  If it were me I’d be asking a slew of questions:  where exactly are we going?  do you have the GPS coordinates for that?  How long will it take us to get there?  Will I need to pack dress clothes?  Who is going with us?  How long did you say it would take?  What’s the weather like?  What will I do when we get there?  Are you kidding me?

But Abram goes.  With only a promise from God that he will be blessed and that he will be a blessing to others, Abraham packs up his family and starts on a journey to a place “God will show him.”  Abraham isn’t a stupid or a foolish man.  He’s not young, he’s not looking for a way to make it in the world.  He has a good life, a wife he loves, and they’ve built a household that is more than sustainable.  They’re doing well.  So why?  What does it take to get a household like Abram’s on the road?

Even the promise of “you’ll be the father of nations” doesn’t seem like enough to get him going.  Yes, I realize that’s the one place Abram is unfulfilled … he has no sons, no heirs.  But he’s old … 75 years old when he leaves … any snake charmer could promise children, but Abram wouldnt necessarily follow … Unless, there was something stronger …

Relationship … yeah, you know we’d be back to that, right?  The response of Abram to God’s call is remarkable; it is not only a tribute to Abram’s faith in God, but to God’s steadfastness and trustworthiness.  In other words, Abram’s love and faith in God is not a story of a groupie traveling behind the rock band’s bus.  Abram’s response is based in a knowledge, experience, of God’s presence, blessing, abundance, trustworthiness which he already knows.  And just as Abram has faith in God, God has faith in Abram.  God chooses Abram/Abraham.  There is a bond … a covenant … between God and God’s people.  Abraham becomes the father of our faith, because he is the one God chooses, and Abram chooses to follow God.

It is mutual, it is a love song.  I can almost hear Abram’s Carole King-like response, “If you need, you need me to be with you …”  The relationship is as strong as the mother’s love in The Runaway Bunny“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.  For you are my little bunny.”  Abram’s actions speak volumes, saying “you are my God, and we are your people.”  This kind of trust, this kind of faith is built through years/generations of relationship.  And the relationship is tested on this journey together.  It’s not an easy one … not for Abram, not for Sarai … the whole story would make a TV series that would rival Downton Abbey … yes, even Breaking Bad or Games of Thrones … in it’s deception, trust, intrigue, rape, family relationships, etc.  For the full character development and spicy parts of the story, you’ll need to read the unabridged version.  But over and over it’s a faithfulness, a love of God, that calls them back.

Loving you the way I do
I know we’re gonna make it through
And I would go to the ends of the earth
‘Cause, darling, to me that’s what you’re worth

Post Missing!


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We’re still getting the hang of this … I was wondering why there were so few comments on last week’s text … then I realized the post I had published was gone, missing, AWOL, vanished!  It was a good post … that is, I had a great conversation with myself about it …  It included Carole King and the Runaway Bunny.  I will try to recreate it and get it up … but, in the meantime … what are your thoughts now, on Abrahamm and Isaac and Jacob?

 

Assignment 2 — God Builds a Nation

This week we’ll be reading the story of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Rachel, Leah up to the birth of Joseph.  That’s Chapter 2: God Build’s a Nation.  For those reading along in your own Bible, the references are: Genesis 12-13; 15-17; 21-22; 32-33; 35; Romans 4; and Hebrews 11.  Look for this week’s reflection on Monday Morning.  In the meantime, make comments or ask questions here.  Or on the facebook group page, or on Twitter using the hashtag #apcthestory.