God’s Chosen Path

Abraham had a problem.  He had a son, but that was not the problem.  The problem was that he had no grandchildren, and no prospects that he would ever have any grandchildren.  Bear in mind that Abraham was the living, breathing establishment of tradition for God’s people (later he would be the first one named when mentioning “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”), and he really wanted to start things right.  He was not satisfied for Isaac to marry any of the women in the new country, so he sent his servant to find a good wife from the old country.

The servant is a fantastic demonstration of learning by example.  He knew that Abraham was blessed beyond measure because he obeyed God when God initiated the discussion.  If the servant wanted to succeed in his task, he had to do the same.  When he reached the old country, he did not look for a woman and request God’s approval.  Instead, he asked God to reveal His choice, and the servant would simply obey.  God chose Rebekah.  The servant obeyed.  Case closed.

How often do we seek God’s approval for our choices instead of asking God to reveal His chosen path?  How different would our actions be if we recognized that God already has a plan for us and treated God’s choices as our starting point?

In the 1600s the church in Germany was going through a split between the Lutherans (who had already split from the church in Rome) and the “Reformed Church.”  Tensions between clergy were quite high, and discussions were held with a thought that it would resolve issues.  Unfortunately, the opposite occurred.  The more they discussed and debated, the more severely divided they became.

Paul Gerhardt was a very traditional Lutheran who participated in those discussions, but established a reputation of moderating his tongue and promoting fellowship.  He sought first to know God’s will, and then to apply it.  The words of his hymn Give to the Winds Thy Fears reflect an attitude that we should always have.

Leave to God’s sovereign sway
to choose and to command;
so shalt thou, wondering, own that way,
how wise, how strong this hand.

As you continue your journey to the foot of the cross, seek God’s chosen path.  Follow that one.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Choosing Rebekah, day 21 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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The Call Is Reason Enough

God called Abram to go to a new land.  Abram went.  No explanations requested.   No explanations offered.  By answering that call, though, Abram’s life was transformed from ordinary to extraordinary.

Some things in life are just that simple.  Probably more than we want to admit.  How often do we have a clear understanding of what is right and what we should do, yet we choose to do something else?  How much better could life be if we responded to God’s calling the way that Abram did?

Charles Wesley spent his life answering God’s call.  His father and both of his grandfathers were ministers in the Church of England, and Charles was ordained after two of his brothers before him.  Answering the call to ordained ministry was an ordinary part of life in his family, and he carried out his ministry in a very ordinary way.  Ordinary, that is, until one day in 1738 when Charles was working through a crisis of faith.  That night he experienced “a strange palpitation of the heart; and said, yet feared to say, ‘I believe!  I believe!'”  A few days later his brother John had his famous experience at Aldersgate.  From that time their ministries stopped being ordinary and became extraordinary.

The following year a collection called Hymns and Sacred Songs was published.  It contained Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, a new hymn by Charles Wesley.  Read the lines of the first stanza:

Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labor to pursue;
thee, only thee, resolved to know
in all I think or speak or do.

Abram answered God’s true calling for his life.  Charles Wesley did, too.  As we continue our pilgrim journey, may each of us learn to do the same.  The call is reason enough.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Choosing Abram, day 20 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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