By Anna Wanamaker
“Then Abram journeyed by stages to the Negev” (Gen. 12:9).
Last week I stumbled on an advertisement for luxury river cruises in Europe. The brochure featured a picture of the Eiffel Tower lit up against the backdrop of a night sky. The way the lights twinkled on the water was radiant. The elegance of it all captivated me. On a whim, I asked the company to send me more information.
When I got home from school last Thursday, a thick Priority Mail package with my name on it was sitting in the mailbox. I could not think of why I was receiving such “important” mail. I eagerly opened the large envelope to find booklet upon booklet outlining every detail of sailing on a luxury river cruise in Europe. All notions of starting dinner were swept aside as I flipped the pages and dreamed of sailing down the Seine River.
One of the most captivating perks of a luxury river cruise is its all-inclusive nature. The trip was described as comfortable luxury with no hidden costs. Can you imagine having every want and need met for an entire week? That sounds like a dream come true to me. If only daily life were as simple as boarding an all-inclusive cruise ship.
In Genesis 12, God calls Abram to leave what he has always known. He instructs him to take every ounce of his belongings and head into uncharted territory, and then something shocking happens, Abram obeys the call. It seems unspiritual to call this interaction shocking, but it surprises me every time I read the story. This 75 year-old man loads every last dish and blanket, gathers his family and heads out into the unknown.
The text says, “Abram journeyed by stages.” When he said yes to God’s call, he was not given an all-inclusive itinerary, complete with glossy pictures, detailing what lay ahead. He was given three things. A directive, a promise that God would show him where to go and a promise of blessing if he obeyed. Walking with God happens in stages, and obedience brings blessing along the way.
Abram doesn’t let the hidden details of tomorrow delay his obedience. This faith-filled man gathers his family, loads everything and begins walking — every step leading him further from the life he has always known, and closer to a place his feet have never tread. And scripture says he journeyed by stages. The journey ahead would require daily obedience.
Today’s blessings are often the fruit of yesterday’s obedience. God is good to give us the example of walking with Him in stages. Regardless of the unknowns of tomorrow, let us hold to quick obedience today. It is important that our obedience is up to date, from every word that comes from our lips, down to the smallest thought pattern. Our thoughts and words will either lead us into sin or they will lead us to the cross. It is never neutral. The journey ahead will happen in stages, and the fruit of quick obedience will produce blessing.
Lord, let it be today that we redirect our gaze toward You. Show us hidden sins so that we can repent. Make our feet quick to obey You for Your glory and Your purposes. May it be said of us, that when You spoke, we moved swiftly into action.