For the week of November 4, 2006 / 13 Heshvan 5767
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 12:1 - 17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16
The LORD had said to Avram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Bereshit / Genesis 12:3).
I am so intrigued by Avraham (English: Abraham), who was originally called Avram (English: Abram). I don't know if it is because of his foundational place in the Scriptures as well in the history of the people of Israel and of all true followers of Israel's God, or because of how God has worked in my own life. There's also the fact that my true given name is Avram, named after my father's father.
When I was born, it was customary to name children after a deceased relative, then take the first sound of that name and give the child an English name based on that sound, which would then become the child's legal name. The Yiddish or Hebrew name would be referred to as the child's Jewish name. In more recent years I have thought of legally changing my name to my Jewish name. I consider it to be my actual name, while "Alan" is simply a tag of convenience given to me to help me survive in a non-Jewish environment.
The significance of my Jewish name didn't mean much to me until many years after coming to know God through the Messiah. It took me a while to understand why Jewish people had non-Jewish names, but it was much more than that. It would take years of walking with God to see how much I related to the father of our people. I am not saying that I am like Avram, except having gotten to know his God, I can relate to his life. The aspects of Avram's life that have become precious to me are aspects of godliness that I think all people of true faith should esteem.
When God called Avram, even though he was an old man, he was willing to venture into the unknown, the uncertain. He was willing to spend the rest of his life in an environment that was potentially hostile to him and his family. He was willing to trust God for things contrary to his life experience and natural occurrences. He was able to receive promises that seemed impossible. It was his willingness to be led into an alien land to live out his days as a stranger, which made him the foundation of great blessing for the entire world for eternity.
Avram was a man who, in response to God's call in his life, was willing to let go of the world he knew in order to embrace a life that God himself would give him. This is the essence of faith. This is the essence of godliness. It is the willingness to trade off the natural things in which we normally find security, for the supernatural unseen things of God. It is to live in this world, yet to be led in life by God's Word and not the standards of the societies in which we live. It is to accept that we are not of this world, but are actually ambassadors of heaven. We live in this world as representatives of our heavenly father. This is how Avram lived. This is how we are all called to live.
I suspect that in some way, each and every day, every follower of the Messiah hears God's voice to live like Avram. Each and every day we are called to make decisions based not on our natural perceptions, but upon the reality of God and his Word. Everyday we are called to be like Avram.
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