This post is a commentary on A.W. Tozer's sermon titled "Abraham," which is part of his "Men Who Met God" series of sermons. Unfortunately the audio quality of the sermon makes it difficult to hear at points but I think one of the reasons that Tozer did these sermons was to explore what the righteous man's relationship with God was comprised of before the appearance of Christ. What are its qualities? How do they inform our understanding of our relationship with Christ? Let us look at the life of Abraham (Abram) to see what we can ascertain.
A relationship with God requires obedience to his word and belief in his word
This is the "follow" part of faith. When we hear the call of God we must follow the call and leave all else behind. The Lord called Abraham (then Abram) out of his country to a land he did not know on the basis of the Lord's word that he would make him fruitful and blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). "So Abram went, as the Lord told him." (Genesis 12:4 ESV). The "follow" requires first faith in the promise and confidence in the word of the Lord, without this we will not follow. I believe that the Lord must first instill this faith in us so that we can obey his word, which is why I it's important to always pray for a greater measure of faith, that we may follow without hesitation.
And so it is with Jesus Christ and his disciples. He calls out Peter and Andrew with "[f]ollow me..." (Matthew 4:19 ESV) and then later James and John (Matthew 4:21). Note also in the Book of Matthew that these aforementioned disciples mentioned left immediately (Matthew 4:20, 22). When we are called there can be no hesitation but to obey and follow.
We must be prepared to sacrifice all for the Lord
I believe the closer we come to the Lord the more we must be prepared to strip away from self, giving up each and every idol that would keep us from drawing closer to the God whose name is Jealous (Exodus 34:14). Abraham first left his family, who he had lived amongst for 75 years, to follow the Lord's call (Genesis 12:1-4), and then later was prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22) at the Lord's command. For this his faith was imputed to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3) and he became the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5).
We see in the New Testament James and John immediately leave their father and the family business as soon as they are called (Matthew 4:21-22). In contrast, other potential disciples are reluctant to give up all for Christ and thereby ensnared by their worldly affections (Mark 10:17-31, Luke 9:57-62).
The Lord is our great reward
When the king of Sodom offered Abraham a share of the spoils from his military excursion Abraham refused, for he had sworn that he would not be enriched by the nonbelievers (Genesis 14:23-24). After he had said these things the Lord came to him in a vision and said " 'Fear not Abram...your reward shall be very great.' " (Genesis 15:1). And so it has been, as the Lord has multiplied Abraham's seed from generation to generation.
We, the children of Abraham, have received our reward through his blessing by the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and his atonement for our sins. Therefore, like Paul, and Abraham before him, we should count all earthly rewards as loss for the privilege of being in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8).
Lord Almighty, thank you for being our great reward and for the blessings we have received through our forefather Abraham, whose faith we have inherited as children of the promise. Praise God!
*ESV=English Standard Version
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