Leaving it All Behind

God's Promises Week 1

During the month of November, we'll be exploring God's promises in the Old Testament. Understanding these promises helps us to see how Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises to us. As we approach Thanksgiving, it's good for us to remember that God is faithful to fulfill his promoses to us.

Getting Started

When I moved out of my parents’ place and into my dorm my freshman year I was thrilled to be out of the house. Freedom. Finally and not soon enough. But it took less than a week for me to realize a sense of loss of identity. Who am I? To what do I belong? Independence is great, but freedom from the old for its own sake feels scary and a little bit empty if it’s not met with belonging, meaning, and hope.

Feelings like this are probably a big factor to why we join Greek Life. In Greek life, we belong somewhere and are part of something. And that something brings support and purpose.

In Genesis 12, God calls Abraham to move out of his father’s house, but not to go to college. God calls Abraham out of everything he knows to a place totally unknown! He also promises Abraham, who is old and has no children, that he will make him into a great nation. But as God does this, he also established a relationship with Abraham that exceeds in value everything that Abraham leaves behind.

Genesis 12:1-9

1The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 ​“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 ​I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

4 ​So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. ​5 ​He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6 ​Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. ​7 ​The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 ​From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 ​Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Questions to Consider

  1. From what is God calling Abraham? To what is God calling Abraham?
  2. What are God’s promises to Abraham? How would Abraham feel as he hears them?
  3. How does Abraham respond? Why?
  4. What is God calling you to leave behind? What is God calling you to go toward?

Closing Reflection

God makes a costly invitation to Abraham and an unimaginable promise. God calls Abraham away from everything-- land and family, along with any false idols and old ways of living. But if Abrahama obeys and leaves all of this behind, God promises that He will bless Abraham and make him into a great nation- a blessing to all people.

Even though Abraham has to leave behind his family and all that is familiar, God adopts Abraham as his own as he calls him to follow him. And God promises to bless him- with children even in his old age and that he will become a great nation even though he had to leave his family and home behind. In the midst of all that, God appears to Abraham, and speaks to him; God clearly wants relationship with Abraham! Everything Abraham leaves behind is replaced in even greater ways by God- family, faith, home, and relationships. And Abraham's children get to receive this great inheritance.

In Christ we are also included in Abraham's family inheritance, not by flesh, but by the promise. Through Jesus, God fulfills His promise of blessing for all the nations, including us! If we follow Jesus, we become part of God’s blessed people and family who are also promised an inheritance, not of land or material possession, but of glory as God’s children. With this promise we have belonging and a purpose. We gain a real relationship with God and receive blessings that far outweigh anything we leave behind.

God is also inviting us to be a blessing in the same way he promised Abraham and his descendants would. Living into that identity and promise means leaving behind things from our old life. Our old idols and sin can’t come with us, they only get in the way. Being recipients of this blessing also means sharing the healing and hope we have in God with the lost and broken world around us.

No matter what we leave behind, God promises that he will bless us and make us part of his family.

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About the Author
Campus Staff Minister

NORTH DAKOTA STATE & UNIV. OF NORTH DAKOTA

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