Abraham and Sarah were safe and secure in Ur of the Chaldeans (Iraq). In a vast city, full of business, commerce, and trade—life had been good for them. They enjoyed the bustle of city life, the massive and beautiful buildings and parks. They were in the center of civilization and refinement—and they could afford to take it all in.
Ur was familiar and comfortable to Abraham and Sarah. They knew the city streets. They knew which markets carried the best melons and vegetables. They had known the butcher for years; the bakery was just around the corner from their large home. They knew the sounds and rhythms of each day and each season. They loved it. They loved it because in all of its familiarity and comfort, it was home.
But God spoke to Abraham. Genesis records the words, “Go from your country and your family and from your family home to the land that I will show to you. I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous for your greatness. And you will bless many peoples.”
Safety and security. Familiarity and comfort. Or. . . . the Word of God.
Now it seems to me that the Word of God is a troubling thing.
God speaking to us not troubling because it is God that is speaking. Who doesn’t want to have a good relationship with the Almighty!?
What makes it troubling is that God comes into our safety and security, familiarity and comfort, and draws us out into another place, another land. We prefer our creature comforts, the work of our own hands; God has another idea in mind altogether.
And so, the apostle Paul, writing to citizens in another great city, the capital of an empire, has the audacity to say to them that they need to let go and take a journey into another land—the land of Faith.
This Sunday, in our great city, with all of our safety and security, familiarity and comfort, we will hear Paul’s audacious claims once again. And, in hearing Paul’s word, we may just hear God speak to us as well!