We continue our journey with Abraham. So what is the significance of the land Abraham was called to go and possess? The language in Genesis is very interesting.
6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:1-7 (NKJV)
When Abraham arrived at his destination Yahweh appeared to him. Scripture notes that the Canaanites were in the land but simply points out that they were at that time in the land, not that is was their land. Clearly Yahweh, as creator, saw the land as His and He had a plan and purpose for it. He said the land belonged to Abraham’s descendants, something that is still an ongoing issue today, and that we will explore further later.
When Abraham had his encounter with Yahweh and again received a promise he responded with worship, he built an altar and began to seek Yahweh’s face. To this point Yahweh had been the pursuer and initiator, as He is in all of our lives. It is important to see how Yahweh’s promises built as Abraham responded to His heart. At the beginning of chapter 12 the promise was tied to a destination but Abraham did not know he would be assigned an inheritance in the land he was going to – only that he was to go to a specific location. Once at the destination the promise was expanded to land.
How does this apply to our lives as we journey with Abraham? We need to consider where He has called us to function? If He has a plan and purpose for our lives then we will only function optimally when we are engaged in it. Many quote Romans 8:28 but don’t examine it in detail.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
This promise has an important condition, all things work together for our good when we are walking according to His purpose. We know His purpose is to shape us to reflect the image of Jesus, His character. Yet just as He does not force us to choose salvation He does not force us to cooperate with His purposes in our lives. The New Testament letters are replete with warnings about the loss we suffer if we fail to continue to follow Him. A simple example is the famous salvation by grace passage.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Our salvation is by grace through faith, we cannot earn it. However, the following verse lays out the next steps.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
We should walk in the things He called us to but we have the freedom to choose. A similar passage is below.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
The above passage could be paraphrased as, “Do the things I taught you so that His purpose will be realized in your life.”
So, back to Abraham. Our land, the place of promise in our lives, is found in walking closely with Him and being where He wants us to be. However, as we studied, Abraham’s obedience was not complete and utter, he was however walking in the right direction and growing in faith and encountering Yahweh as he stumbled forward. As soon as our heart seeks to walk in obedience He meets us.
Let’s resolve by His grace to continue in the direction of His calling and purpose and like Abraham to worship and seek His face wherever we find Him.