In God we receive a home away from home.

Abraham and Sarah trust God and leave all they have ever known. In God, we receive a home away from home. Click here to open a tab with the passage.

Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony’s piece, ‘Goin Home’ stirs great emotions within me. In the video, see Conductor Charles Dutoit and the Largo/Symphony Orchestra of India play this beautifully. The lyrics are apt and deeply resonate.

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One lens through which I view this passage of the call of Abraham and Sarah is that it is a call home. Ironically, this means they have to leave the only home, family, and place they have known. It’s an unnatural thing to say, “I’m going home,” while walking out your own door!

I also see Abraham and Sarah as a contrast to the Tower people – those who would not trust God as they went into the wild world. Instead, they wanted a permanent home in this world, which is always doomed to fail. Abraham (and Sarah) were not looking for a great name or a great tower, they were “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)

This passage is a turning point in the series of stories, which thus far have only yielded curses. Now there will be a blessing (used 5 times in 4 verses!). Another reversal, the Tower people didn’t want to be scattered, so they obstinately gathered. Abraham and Sarah are willing to be scattered by God and receive a promise that through them all nations will be gathered (that’s another Big, Big Story).

It is true, as my friend Rev. Matthew Watson at Christ City Church has said, that this world is beautiful and broken. We long to feel at ease here, to live the blessing of this miracle, and to “feel at home.” Yet, at the same time, we often feel as if we are foreigners, forever searching for that just-right fit. Though Scripture deeply values the ground upon which we walk, this terra firma is not our home. Our home is with God and one day God will make home among us. (Revelation 21) God is where we belong, indeed, in God, we live move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). The question becomes, while I am here, how shall I live? What would honor this life and God’s great love for me?

God spills the beans on this question. Abraham and Sarah, I want you to go bravely (and we will see, Abraham is not always brave, but a bit of a chicken) and by your going I am going to bless you and through you, all the world will be blessed. Traveling with God, traveling for the good of others. Once again, they are opposite of the Tower people. In a turn of wit and wisdom, the life we have been given has been given for the good of others. We are blessed to bless others. Through the pursuit of justice, acts of kindness, and sharing the loving, caring presence of Christ as we go, we bless, help, encourage, and join God in beating back the thorns of the curse.

How will the world be blessed through Abraham and Sarah? Paul would later pick up on this idea, which deserves its own post, but I’ll link here and let you read. God keeps the promise to Abraham because through Abraham’s lineage comes Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world – meaning, not just Jews, but Gentiles are included in God’s acts of salvation. Read it here (Galatians 3)

When Abraham was out on the plain looking up at the canopy of stars and God said, “Your offspring will number this many. Count them if you can!” God was thinking of you. You are included in the Bible! Better yet, you are included in the benevolent intentions of God. You are indeed blessed, so let us leave our tents, go into the world, and magnify the God who is our home while we are away from home.

The call for us may be to trust God in the unknown next. Instead of looking for self-preservation alone and permanence here on earth, we seek to trust the words of the writer in Scripture, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10). We run to the LORD in our quest, with our questions, and with our hope. And as we are blessed by the grace of God, we give back to God in this world the gift of our actions – living worship.

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