“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.” — Genesis 21:33-34
Last time we saw that there are new places for the pilgrim to visit.
Sometimes God sends us to Moriah or Canaan. These were places of sacrifice and suffering for God’s traveller, Abraham.
In part two of our notes today I want to show you there are some places that beckon the pilgrim, where we must refuse to go.
3. Beware! The Old Country Beckons!
There were travel arrangements still to make. Abraham needed a wife for his son, Isaac. He recognised two things:
i. She could not be a local girl!
Abraham sent his servant in search for a wife for Isaac.
“But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” — Genesis 24:4
There was no wife eligible in a foreign land. If we want to keep our eyes on the promises we need a family that shares the vision. Only a family that shares the vision, and hears the call, will be willing to travel with us.
And think about this, if we do not have a family that will travel with us, we will not want to go!
Crafty Pharaoh new that for a fact, and suggested that the Hebrews make their pilgrimage into the desert, but leave their children in Egypt. He realised that if the children stayed in Egypt it would not be too long before the parents came back!
If you are going to see this journey through, you must travel as a family.
If one member of the family falls in love with someone from a foreign land, they will eventually love that land and its gods also. That is exactly what happened to Solomon:
“And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” — 1 Kings 11:3
Paul instructed the Corinthians concerning destructive relationships:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” — 2 Corinthians 6:14
ii. He could not go home!
Christians should never look back, or go back.
Look at Christ’s call to His disciples:
“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” — Luke 9:57-62
Each of these requests seems genuine:
1. A dying father.
Is it not permissible and right to wait until he has departed this life?
2. A loving family.
Is not our family important?
I think the key to understanding this passage is the would-be-disciples’ response to Jesus’ call.
They BOTH said FIRST!
“FIRST – let me bury my father!”
“FIRST – let me say goodbye to the family!”
If we are disciples, He is Lord. And that must mean JESUS must be first!
We are pilgrims and we must go onwards.
Abraham recognised this. And so he sent his servant to look for a wife for Isaac. And he gave strict instructions to his servant about not allowing his son to return home:
“And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.” — Genesis 24:5-6
Please pay special attention to Abraham’s warning to his servant: BEWARE!
As pilgrims God will lead us forward, into new adventures, new challenges, new blessings, new crises, and even new trials.
But one thing is certain: God will never lead us back!
“And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” — Hebrews 11:15-16
God only supplies one-way tickets!
Christians are not called to sit in the shade of a tree.
Like the Hebrews, God’s People today are called to be mobile. Even our trees we must carry with us. Am I saying that we should have a bonsai in our suitcase? No, of course not. What I am saying is this:
Jesus carried his cross. It was a tree trunk.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” — Galatians 3:13
And now we must carry a tree – ‘a cross’ – and follow:
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” — Matthew 16:24
That is the call Christ offers. No more – no less. Pack your bags and follow!
Is it time you began to move?