Genesis 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
Some people romanticize being “sent by God” somewhere. This was spoofed in the Blues Brothers movie, when John Belushi’s character said, “We’re on a mission from God.” However, the reality is much more mundane, and sometimes scary. God uses many different methods to speak to people and guide them, but such clear, direct statements as He seems to have made to Abram are rather rare. Since the Bible is a record of God’s interactions with mankind, we naturally have countless examples recorded, and most of them are rather direct. However, there are two good reasons for that. The first is simply for the sake of narrative; it’s easier for the reader to understand. The second is that, particularly in Old Testament days, people had very little framework for understanding even who was directing them. That was certainly true for Abram. However, by New Testament days that was not necessarily the case. Paul’s missionary journeys are an excellent example, as recorded in Acts. The first journey started with direct prophecy, (Acts 13:2-3) but it would appear that most of the direction, for that and subsequent journeys, was much less clear-cut. The passage in Acts 16:6-10 has always been interesting to me in that area, because of the various mentions of guidance, including a dream and other less explicit direction. The point is, God does direct people personally, however improbable that might seem, but it takes faith to receive that direction rightly. Even when God speaks most clearly, we have to believe that it is He who is speaking. One time when the Father spoke to Jesus in an audible voice, some people said it was an angel, and others just said it was thunder! (John 12:29) To hear Him correctly, we have to have the commitment to be obedient. Abram certainly had that, and the world has been blessed as a result.
I could write at length on the subject of God’s guidance, and perhaps some day I will. He has certainly guided me, though for too much of it I have been dense, to say the least. One trick He uses to train me in listening is the matter of changing lanes when driving. If I am really listening to Him as I drive, He will indicate when I should change lanes, and if I am obedient, I progress through traffic very smoothly. However, sometimes I analyze traffic flow on my own, to decide when to change lanes, and that seldom works out well! I am very grateful for that kind of training, because the consequences of getting it wrong aren’t so serious. With more important issues, sometimes I stress out completely! However, repeated experience of God’s guidance does indeed make it easier to “rest, relax, and rejoice,” as He has told me to do.
Father I’m in the middle of that right now, as You know better than I do. As I said in prayer meeting last night, I feel torn apart by all the different things I could to, should do, would like to do, or must do. Help me remember Your faithfulness to guide and empower me in the past, and reject the anxiety the devil is trying to dump on me, so that I may not only do what You want me to do when You want me to do it, I may do so with peace and joy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!