When God takes us into the realm of the unknown.
Read Genesis 12:1-5
“Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you.”
It is easy to trust in God when we know the outcome and understand what he is doing. But it is far more difficult to trust in God when he takes us into the realm of the obscure and unknown. When he moves us in a direction where we cannot see the outcome, our faith begins to waver.
There is nothing in the text to hint that Abram was special. His background was marked by paganism and idolatry. In Joshua 24:2 we read, “Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.” According to one Jewish Midrash (a Jewish commentary on the law), Terah not only worshipped idols but was engaged in the business of making idols to sell. While we do not know for certain if he did, we do know that the culture surrounding Abram was polytheistic, believing in many different gods. The center of their religion was Nanna, the moon god who controlled the heavens and lifecycle on earth including the fertility of their crops, herds, and families. Certainly, Abram was not chosen by God because of his righteous character and godly upbringing. God’s calling of Abraham was purely an act of God’s sovereign grace as Paul points out in Romans 4:1-4. But what is remarkable is when God interrupted Abram’s life and called Abram to leave everything and venture into the realm of the unknown, he quickly responded. This would require him to walk by faith, not by sight. This was no easy task, for while asking Abram to leave his home, his family, and his gods, God gave him no indication of where he was to go. Abram’s faith was grounded in complete trust in God’s plan even when he did not know what the plan would involve. As a result of his faith, God changed his name from Abram (meaning “exalted father”) to Abraham (meaning “father of a multitude”). Even then Abraham did not realize the full impact of his name change, for he would not just become a physical father of the nation of Israel, but he would become the spiritual father of all those who subsequently trusted in God, including those who would accept by faith the salvation of Christ (Romans 4:12).
Living by faith involves more than just trusting in what we know in God’s word, it also involves trusting God in the circumstances of life when we do not understand what he is doing and why he is moving as he does. Often our life takes unexpected turns we did not plan for or foresee, resulting in our vision for the future to become clouded and dark. Faith involves trusting God for what we know but also trusting him for what we do not understand. There are times and circumstances in life when we do not fully understand where God is taking us. When there are rumbles in the future it creates tremors in the present. However, the realm of the uncertain is where faith grows. When God interrupts your life and does not give you clear direction, he is working to build your faith and trust in him. Do not be afraid to leave your chosen path to follow God’s path, even though you do not know where the path will lead.