Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your fatherís house, To the land which I will show you;2And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3And 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 shall be blessed."
From time to time I hear people say, in effect, that God makes unreasonable demands. Does God make unreasonable demands? If so, then we are right to refuse them. But before you jump to conclusions, lets look at things closely.
There are a variety of things, which various people consider unreasonable. The basic concept behind why it is unreasonable seems to boil down to 1 of 2 things. Either it is unreasonable, because it is too difficult for me to do by myself. Or it is unreasonable, because I do not desire the thing which is offered/demanded. Neither reason is reason enough for something to be unreasonable, all it means is that we cannot see the situation fully, and foolishly make the wrong choices.
Take for example, our Old Testament Lesson, God tells Abram to leave home. Now that sure looks unreasonable. Why would anyone want to leave home, and go to a place they donít know, simply because someone tells them to do so, and make a promise about good things that will happen if we do?
It doesnít sound much different from many of the prize offers that come in the mail, and it doesnít sound much different than a chain letter. Pie in the sky, by and by, when you die, is unreasonable if there is hope that you can have the pie here and now. But there is something more, the question is NOT, is the request unreasonable, but rather WHY did Abram consent? You see, we already know that Abram said yes to Godís unreasonable request. Why did Abram say yes?
Perhaps the best explanation is that Abram saw a little bit bigger picture of who God is, and based on what he saw of God, and based on what he was able to perceive of who God was, ... Godís request did not seem unreasonable. You see, Abram knew that while the request might have been unreasonable, if Abram was to do it by himself, Abram knew that God was going to be with him every step of the way, and that God would provide everything necessary. Abram journeyed by faith, trusting that God would provide. And God provided richly.
There are many people who hear the word of God which says, "Be ye perfect, as I the Lord your God am perfect." and say of it, Now, THAT is an unreasonable request! Guess what, I donít think it is an unreasonable request. If you think it is unreasonable, then ... you God is simply too small.
Consider the request, not in terms of what we have to do, for if it were all up to us, it would be unreasonable. And thatís exactly the point. Its not all up to us. Its always the point, and often the thing we fail to see, that God has already provided everything necessary before be makes the request.
God sent his son from heaven to keep the law perfectly on our behalf. God sent his son to pay the debt owed for our sins. God sacrificed the life of His son, to give life to us. God did all of this in love, while we were deep in sin and enemies of God. God sent His Son to guide us back to our loving heavenly Father and show us the way of salvation. When calling us to be perfect, all he is doing is pointing to the rich grace already provided, and saying this is the way of life.
Finally consider, who is it, by sight , would even enter the valley of the shadow of death? Yet without, how can we pass safely to the other side? It is faith that grasps the hand of the good shepherd who leads us, not to, but through, that valley, to the eternal joy that has been prepared or us, by ourselves we could never make the journey, but do has not called us to be by ourselves, but to be in Christ.