Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
At some point in his early life, God had instructed Abram to leave everything behind and go to a place that was, in the early stages of his journey, undisclosed. The writer of Hebrews said that, “He went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). Not only was he instructed to leave his homeland, but also his home — in other words, his family.
It would seem that, had he remained with his family Ur and Haran, he would not have been able to fulfill his God-ordained purpose. Why else would the Creator require him to leave country, family and “your father’s house”? If he had stayed, he would have never been the father of many nations (Abraham); he would have remained Abram.
As disturbing as it might be to admit, some times the things and the people we love the most can be the very thing that prevents us from following God as He has ordained it. I’ve said it for years but believe it to be true; the saddest part about following God is that, often, we are required to leave people behind. Often we find that, to be true to the values and examples our families have demonstrated, would require us to resist God’s values and the example He presents to us.
Not misunderstand me; I’m not saying that we should desert family or “family values.” I am saying that we must embrace the fact that our flesh and blood family is not always “our family” if they are the very thing that prevents us from following God. Messiah put it this way:
But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50)
This should not be considered as an encouragement to leave family behind; it is to be an encouragement to follow the Almighty regardless of the costs. Messiah said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). As for Abraham, God called him to leave everything — country, home and family. Had he not, would we be talking about him today?
Blessings and Shalom,