Moving with a Promise: Abraham's Obedience
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Father Abraham is mentioned a couple of times in Hebrews 11. Today, we will focus on these three verses. (Even though his name begins as Abram and is later changed to Abraham, we will go ahead and address him as Abraham throughout this post). In Genesis 11, we learn that Abraham was a descendant of Shem, and that Abraham and his family lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Then, they moved to Haran. In Genesis 12, the Lord commands Abraham to leave his country, kindred, and father’s house and go into a land which the Lord would show him. He also made him the promise that he would make Abraham a great nation and bless him. Abraham did as he was commanded and took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, “and the souls that they had gotten in Haran” (Genesis 12:5) with him into the land of Canaan.
Due to the famine, Abraham went into Egypt. However, Pharaoh had Abraham leave after Pharaoh’s house received great plagues because of Sarai (we won’t cover that today). Again, Abraham is on the move. This time, Abraham and Lot part ways. Abraham dwells in the land of Canaan. The Lord tells Abraham, “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered” (Genesis 13:14-17).
As I read about Abraham and his life, I was able to relate to how many times he moved. I will share my story later. The fact that he moved several times during his lifetime and was basically told that his seed would inherit this promised land many years later gave me new meaning to Hebrews 11:8. It would take great faith to travel and move numerous times relying on the promises the Lord made to him. But it makes sense that Abraham would be obedient to the Lord’s commandments each time because he was asked to be perfect in Genesis 17:1. I invite you to read more about the Abrahamic Covenant found in Genesis 17:1-9. Feel free to share your thoughts on the promises made to Abraham and his seed.
How many times have you moved in your lifetime so far? I have moved eleven times when I count just the big moves and exclude the little moves within the same town. When I graduated from Optometry school in 2014, I shipped some of my possessions to Utah and packed whatever else would fit into my SUV. I left Florida telling myself I would never live in that state again. I wanted to live in the mountains and experience all four seasons, not just summer year-round. My then fiancé lived in Utah at the time, and I was going there to join him for a short while. We got married and six weeks after our wedding we moved to New Mexico where we lived for a year while I completed my residency. When I decided on doing a residency, I had prayed and fasted a lot about where I should apply. My answer had been to apply to Indian Health Service sites in New Mexico. I had received several promptings beforehand about providing care to the Native American population, so I prepared to become a Commissioned Corps Officer and serve my time with them until retirement. I was obedient to the promptings to go and serve. However, in May 2015 everything changed. My plan was completely altered when Heavenly Father told me to move back to Florida with my husband. I was in complete shock. Had it not been for a very spiritual experience I had concerning how plans need to be changed in an instant in order to come to the aid of an individual that needs you specifically, I probably would have grumbled and said ‘no way!’ Who wants to make that long cross-country move again in such a short period of time? But I learned to be obedient. I provided service where it was needed in New Mexico. Certain people needed my help and my husband’s help in Florida. If we didn’t go, who would have come to their aid instead? I still don’t know all of the reasons why I’m back here again, but I have the faith that one day I will.
While I studied what I shared with you about Abraham and all his moves, I thought that maybe God was also testing his obedience to do His will. God gave him glimpses of the promises that would come to him through his obedience. What blessings have you and your families received by being obedient to the expected or unexpected moves in life?
This is the second to last post of Hebrews 11 Part 1. You will get a link to download the study guide after you sign-up. The following posts are included in this series: