When God Calls: Close Encounter

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Hebrews 11:8, NIV

When I was seventeen God whispered my name, and I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ. As a young person I didn’t find it hard to walk the aisle of that small country church and trust God with my eternity, so why as an adult is it sometimes difficult to trust Him with my days?

This week we’ll look at Abraham’s initial encounter with God, examine God’s call in his life, and discover some truths that we can apply to the Lord’s call in our own lives—even in the everyday.


Close Encounter

“The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.” 

Acts 7:2, NIV

UFOIn the 1977 science fiction movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Roy Neary, an Indiana electrical lineman, is called out to investigate a power outage. In a blanket of darkness, his truck stalls, and a bright light lands on top of it. From this point in the story, Roy’s ordinary life is radically changed. He refuses to listen to others as they try to explain away his bizarre encounter, and he sets out in pursuit of the truth about UFOs. In his quest, he forfeits his family and life as he knows it.

Comparing Abram’s encounter with God to a fictional tale of a man’s encounter with aliens may seem a bit extreme, but please don’t miss my point: any time we encounter the God of glory, we are forever changed. Roy Neary was prepared to give up everything in his search for truth. Are we?

Abram was.

Because God chose Abram as the father of our faith, one might assume he had an extraordinary relationship with God. Although the facts of Abram’s life before his close encounter with God are sketchy, Scripture reveals that he was a Chaldean living in Ur, a city in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Due to its location at the mouth of the Euphrates River, Ur was a self-sufficient trade city, rich in the arts, advanced in science and technology, and the area’s political and religious capital.

AbrahamThe Hebrew verb that forms the base of the word Ur means to be light, to shine. Known as the “Moon City,” the progressive city of Ur did stand out in this wilderness area; however, it was a dark place—a pagan place. Many gods were worshipped in Ur, mainly the moon god, Sin, and Ur was known for the manufacture of idols. Historical accounts suggest that Abram’s father, Terah, was an idol maker. Whether that is true or not, Joshua 24:2 states that Terah and Abram’s relatives worshipped other gods.

Due to the pagan culture that surrounded Abram, we can assume he was not seeking God. However, God was seeking him. In the midst of Abram’s ordinary day, God showed up in all of his glory and interrupted Abram’s usual routine.

Wouldn’t you love to have heard the conversation in Terah’s household that evening? Sometimes our families can be the greatest hindrance to our decisions to follow God’s call for our lives. Even Jesus’s brothers doubted His summons to be the Savior of the world. When facing the opposition of those we love most, we’ll need more than courage to follow through—we’ll need the faith of Abram, who left all that he knew for an unknown land based on the word of his unproven God.

Remember, Abram’s faith walk began with a single step. Yours will too.

Step out.

Your traveling companion,