Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 5

What I read today: Genesis 9-12

What stood out: Genesis 12: 4, “So, Abram went forth as the Lord and spoken to him…”, Genesis 13: 18, “Then Abram moved his tents and came adn dwelt by the oaks of Mamre…”

Random Thoughts About What I Read:

I haven’t moved much in my life.

I grew up in one house from age six until I left for college. I lived in one apartment and one dorm room at college. Tracy and I got an apartment, then bought a home, then moved to Dallas. We lived in two rental houses while I was in seminary, lived in a rental house for a year in our current community and purchased a home we’ve been in ever since.

I admit: I’m a homebody. So much so that, after living in the same house here for so long it was time to make some extensive home improvements…new windows, flooring, carpet, paint, bathrooms, etc. As we neared both the end of the finances to do complete the job and the last bit of what we had planned to do, this thought flashed through my mind, “What if all we’re doing is sprucing up the place to sell it because God is moving us?”

And I spent an hour or so with some degree of anxiety after that.

After I calmed down a bit and thought it through I realized a simple reality: Obedience is hard.

Maybe it’s because Abram makes it look so easy.

God says “Go here” and Abram goes there. But it couldn’t have been easy in any sense. I mean, Ur was a wealthy city with all the modern amenities. We can assume that Abram was doing well enough financially to live there, and now he’s gathering all his workers, livestock, stuff and more stuff to go where God tells him to go.

He does it again later. God tells him to walk around all the land that He’s going to give to him, and again, in what must’ve been a pretty difficult move, he does it.

God gives him all these wild promises…

…land (and a lot of good, desireable land at that)
…descendants (but by age 75 he and Sarah didn’t have any children)
…and blessings. (vague, but so much so Abram was turning down free money from a king because he wanted to make sure God got all the credit for his blessings)

…and he obeys.

Now, it was never easy for him. Just because he was obeying God there were still bickerings between workers and famine in the land (not to mention a little half-truth told along the journey to Egypt in order to protect his life–at least that’s his thinking) and his nephew not only taking the best land and then falling victim to attacks in which Abram had to bail Lot out with a show of military strength. Just because he was obedient didn’t mean that there weren’t problems along the way.

Or that there weren’t hassles. I picture Abram giving orders to his workers to prepare to move it all again and then saying something like, “God said I’m supposed to travel the land.” Or having to say something similiar to his wife. Or even the initial answering of questions to his friends and family when they asked him why he was leaving Ur. There had to be practical hassles and consequences, too.

But for whatever reason, Abram had this ability to trust God enough to be obedient that I don’t seem to possess. I’m much more cynical in my dealings with the Almighty.

And as much as I don’t like it, well, I always have this voice in the back of my mind that points out the hassles and consequences that keep me from full-on trust in Him. My walk suffers because of it…

…prayers don’t get prayed because I’m pretty sure I don’t think God’s really going to bother with answering. Or worse, he’s going to answer in a way that I don’t like.
…conversations don’t take place because they’re “hard” even though God clearly says ones like this need to take place.
…actions contrary to His Word happen because I don’t really believe His way is best. Or I don’t like the consequences and hassles they would cause.

I could go on.

But I’m amazed and my lack of obedience sometimes.
Because it only highlights my lack of trust in the ONE PERSON I can, and should, trust.

And my prayer today is that I’d be more trusting…

…and more obedient.

(cue hokey reference to the classic hymn “Trust and Obey” here–which, as an aside, is the one hymn that I think describes everything the Christian life really boils down to.)

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 15-17.