After my husband and I made a commitment to the Lord about 32 years ago we were ecstatic! You may think it was because we had a new life with God and our lives were being transformed, and you are partially correct. You see, we hated Melbourne, Florida. We really didn’t like living in this area. Once we made our commitment to God we realized that there were Messianic Synagogues in many areas. One of the places that we really liked was Atlanta, Georgia. Our thoughts were, if we are not happy here, we can leave! We can start a new practice in Atlanta and become active participants in the work up there. The plan that we had was perfect, so we placed the practice up for sale. After several months, the perfect plan that we had wasn’t working. We had no one that was interested in our practice.
The problem was that we never asked God “Should we stay or should we go?” When a family member prayed for us to hear what the will of God was in our situation, an amazing thing happened. God answered and it was to stay. Not only to stay but, to begin a messianic work in Melbourne.
The portion “Lech Lecha” teaches us this important lesson. In this portion, God gives Abram instructions in Genesis 12:1: “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you”. Lech lecha means to go or leave. God states the rewards that He will give Abram in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Many times in our walk with the Lord, He asks us to lech lecha. Our first experience with this concept, is when we leave behind our old life and begin our new life with God. Some of us feel very alone at this point because our friends and family don’t understand where we are going. Abram probably felt lonely, and a little crazy, but he knew the voice of God and he wanted to submit to it. As we walk with Him there will be times that we feel a little lonely out there doing what He has called us to do. We probably will feel a little crazy and say to Him, “you want me to do what?” The beauty of this walk with God is that as He commissions us to “go” or “leave”, He will equip us to accomplish the assignment. The important point to remember is to wait for Him, wait to hear His instructions! We get into trouble when we, in our flesh, decide to go out without His instruction. In every situation, we need to hear His voice. Whether it’s our marriages, jobs, our families, our finances, whatever the circumstances. When we hear Him say, “lech lecha”, then we are released to the destiny that He has in store for us.
In Genesis 16, we see what happens when we don’t wait and listen for the Lord’s instructions. First of all, Sarai takes matters into her own hands. She has not conceived, and therefore, encourages Abram to take her maid Hagar as a wife. Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, and she despises Sarai who responds with harshness to Hagar. What does Hagar do? She runs way; flees. In Genesis 16:9-10, we see God’s response, “Then the angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.’” Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” He commands her to return! Return to your mistress! Return back to your circumstances, even though they aren’t ideal, you need to do the right thing.
Even though Abram and Hagar seem to be moving in two different directions, one is going out and the other returning. Each one is moving, and is experiencing a difficult transformation. They are both responding to the voice of God and what He has for their destiny. In “go” Abram fulfills the plan of God to make a people for Himself and bring forth a redeemer for all mankind. In “return” God teaches Hagar and ourselves, that even though situations may be difficult, sometimes God places us exactly in those positions. We have to be faithful even when it is difficult. God promises Hagar a blessing: “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count”. Hagar fulfilled the destiny that God had for her, by returning.
May we be ever attentive to His voice and “go” and “return” when He instructs us!