Week of Jan. 5

Daring, Desperate, or Dependent?

Read: Genesis 12-14; Luke 5

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’”
Genesis 12:1. ESV


“Now the Lord said” holds profound implications for the life of a man named Abram, and it bears that same significance for you and me (12:1). Genesis 12 represents a critical shift in focus from the human family to the family story of Israel’s patriarchs. The account begins with Abram (later called Abraham) and covers three more generations that followed after him. Faith required action, so Abram left all to follow after God’s promise to bless him and make him a great nation (12:2; cf. Hebrews 11:8-10). Let’s consider, ourselves, the importance of this moment in God’s salvation-history and apply key principles to our lives.

A Biblical Lens

Abram was being called to leave behind Sumerian culture and religion in order to place his faith in the one living God. This was no easy decision, as we may deduce. He lived in a stable society. Kings were revered, and some were even deified, and there is no mention in Sumerian historical records of any internal rebellion against their rule. This pattern indicates that there was long-term political stability. He lived in a land of opportunity and social mobility. There were a wide variety of occupations from which one might earn a living and achieve social status. Even worship was fully integrated into his culture. The religious system was also well-established with temples, priests, and various religious officials that were dedicated to specific gods (LBD).  Why would he ever want to leave behind this lifestyle? I’ll tell you what I think. Abram had everything, but it was leading to nothing! Let me explain.

In a sense, Abram represents the crossroad that “everyman” and “everywoman” faces in life. His faith step was significant because the Sumerians were a well-advanced society and he was well-positioned to benefit from it. He was being called to leave behind a secure life with sure success and to base his entire present and future upon the promises of God! In Ashlock speak, Abram’s self-sufficiency must become God-dependency, or he would live and die in spiritual poverty! (cf. Genesis 11:4, “let us make a name for ourselves”). Abram sought to satisfy the God-void in his soul, and he was not disappointed.

It had been ten generations since Shem, the son of Noah. It had been that long since God had spoken directly to anyone according to the bible record (cf. Faithlife; NAC). How wonderful that he speaks to this man! And, how challenging! You see, Abram was given a call, but that call contained three challenging requirements that increased in intensity like climbing a ladder. First, he had to leave behind his homeland. Next, he was to step away from his kindred. Lastly, he was to separate entirely from his father’s household. He received three promises, as a result.

They included the land of Canaan (12:1, 5), that he would become a great nation (12:2), and that he would become renowned and possess a great reputation as well as become rich materially (12:3; cf. Faithlife; NAC). So, why on earth was this one man that important? Abram represented the link between the universal setting of chapters 1-11 and the “worldwide vista of the promissory call” (NAC). He models for us the classic faith principle: Success is life is not based upon what we possess but upon who possesses us.

A Moral Pathway

The day after the regular season ends in the National Football League is termed, “Black Monday.” The rubric refers to the firing of coaches and club officials that have not fulfilled the expectations of team ownership. I caught a snippet of a sports report where a team with a dismal record for many years, and numerous failed coaches in that time period, was considered to be a coaching stop only for those who are either “daring or desperate!”

The franchise is a "Sumerian goldmine" in my assessment. It has a rich history, the position will bring prestige, and riches are assured. However, that situation, by all accounts, only presents a mirage of success. One might even be tempted to label that job a coach’s graveyard. That circumstance provides us with a moral case study and challenge. It should cause us to ask what type of life we are building and lifestyle that we are pursuing. All of us will one day be laid to rest in the ultimate graveyard! So, are we daring, desperate, or are we secure in our dependence upon God?

For Your Journaling

1. This passage begs a key question for you today. When was the last time that you heard God speak into your life and home? The silence may be due to false worship. Remove every hindrance to God’s presence in your life and home. Seek God’s voice in your life as you embark upon this new year.

2. Ask yourself, “Am I guilty of self-sufficiency?” Compose a paragraph that contains your faith declaration to God. Then, act upon it by demonstrating your dependence upon Him and trust in his promises.

May all your paths be straight,
Larry C. Ashlock