So little is said to Abram in the beginning. There is no introduction to monotheistic theology, no comparative religion class, no worldview comparison chart. There is no context. There is apparently not even any relationship. There was no courtship, no period of getting to know each other, no personality tests, no compatibility worksheets or workshops.
There is only the command to leave his country, to leave his family and his father’s house. And there is only a simple promise: I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, I will make you a blessing, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Who is this Yahweh? Who is this God?
He shows up and simply says, Follow Me. Leave everything behind, and I will bless you. This sounds like a con-artist. It sounds like a scam. It seems utterly ridiculous, unreasonable. Where are this guy’s papers? Can He produce examples of His previous work? How have His past projects gone? Does He have references? None of this is offered, only the command: Get out of your country and from your family and your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.
This is at least one way we know that the Jesus that shows up in the gospels is this God. He has the same lack of compunction. Follow Me. Leave your father, leave your family behind, leave everything, and I will make you a blessing. The promise is not spelled out. It doesn’t mean we will get the job we are hoping for. It doesn’t mean we will get the husband or the wife we are praying for. It doesn’t mean we will have the children we long for. It doesn’t mean we’ll have the quiet life or the famous life or the comfortable life or the predictable life or even the long life. It’s just a promise to make us a blessing. Somehow others will be blessed through us.
So many unanswered questions. So much not said. No explanations. No helpful glossary of terms. Just a call, a command, Follow Me.
This is still what faith comes down to. This is still what it means to believe in Jesus, to be a Christian. It means that we are all sitting in our boats with our friends, with our parents, with our children, and a strange Galilean Man shows up and nods at us and beckons. Follow Me. There’s no time for questions. No Greek word studies. Let the dead bury their own dead. Follow Me. Is it a trick? Is it a scam? Who is this Stranger?
Abram just obeyed and moved his family to Canaan. And when the Lord appeared again and said, I will give this land to your descendants, Abram built an altar. The disciples left their nets and dad in the boat.
There’s something terrifying about following this God. It feels like He could say anything, command anything at any time. He’s unpredictable. But the promise is goodness. The promise is blessing spreading out in every direction.
We stand up and wade up to the shore to see what this Man wants from us. We take a deep breath, we cast a final glance behind us and walk into the sunset with this Man, this God who often doesn’t say much, who says far less than we might wish. But we want to see about this blessing. We want to see about this promise, this future.
And that’s really all we can say when it comes to an explanation, when it comes to inviting others with us. I don’t know, we shrug, come and see.