Have you ever been told to “get out”? Maybe it was a warning to leave an area because it had become dangerous. Or it could be because someone was angry with you and wanted you to leave.
God told Abraham to “get out”! He said, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2)
To get out simply means to depart. The Hebrew word here means to leave your tribal territory and the circumstances of your birth, your heritage, all the old ways of life. Abraham came from a country of idol-worshipers. But God called him out of that to follow Him to a land that He would show him. That requires faith. Abraham knew the starting point. He was standing on it. But God did not give him the address of his destination. God just said go “to a land that I will show you.” He did not give Abraham a carefully laid out trip plan or a timeline. But He promised this. Not only would He remake Abraham the man, He would make a great nation from him. God said, “I will bless you, and I will make your name great.” That sounds exciting. We think of our names being up in lights for everyone to see, but that is not what God intended for Abraham. He had something more lasting in mind, not just for Abraham, but for you and me, too. Abraham’s journey would be progressive, not instantaneous. There is a process to coming into the land, to being great, to being blessed. It is a process worked out through faith, by believing God enough to do what He says. Abraham had to take the first step, then the second, third and so on. He had to keep believing through the long years of waiting.
God was saying, “This is what you need to do and this is what I will do.” That is covenant. We know it as the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham had to do His part if he wanted to receive God’s promise. He could not stay where he was and receive the promise, because the promise would be revealed through the process. Abraham believed God enough to act on what He said, and it was counted unto him as righteousness.
So, Abraham left his home. His nephew Lot went with him. But there was eventually strife between the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham, so they parted ways. Once Lot was separated from Abraham, God showed Abraham the land He was giving him.
“And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever…Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” (Genesis 13:14, 15 and 17) God showed Abraham the boundaries of his possession, his new heritage from God. He told him to walk it, explore it!
We do not live under the Abrahamic covenant. We live under a New Covenant that was made through Abraham’s descendant. His name is Jesus. It is a spiritual covenant, and this is what God says to us concerning this new covenant. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
Just as with Abraham, this covenant requires us to leave our tribal territory and the circumstances of our birth – our heritage. We were born in sin with a nature of sin and a heritage of death. God says, you must come out and be separate. When we do, He changes our heritage by giving us His righteousness and making us His sons and daughters. We receive by believing in Jesus, believing enough to leave everything behind to follow Him.
And so we enter His covenant if we “Come out from among “them.” But who is “them”? The Amplified Bible explains it this way. “Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]”. Just as the herdsmen of Lot and Abraham had strife, so do righteousness and lawlessness, light and darkness, Christ and Satan, believers and unbelievers, the temple of God and idols.
We cannot stay where we are and receive the promise. We cannot remain the same person. Our heritage changes. We have to move from where we were, because our carnal nature is at war against our spiritual nature. The two cannot dwell together because they clash.
To be separate means to “be marked off from others by boundaries”. Children of God who have the heritage of righteousness rather than that of sin and death, have boundaries that keep us safe and free from returning to bondage. We live, move and have our being in Christ, but we are still physically in this world. I am in no way saying we are to keep ourselves in seclusion and have nothing to do with anyone who isn’t a Christian. That is not God’s way. We are here to win the world at whatever cost, but not to be part of it. We operate in the spiritual realm even while we are here on earth, just like Jesus did. It is the only way to obey the great commission.
Remember when Abraham left his old life, how God began to show him what He had for him? He showed him the territory that belonged to him now. He gave him the new boundaries. Not the old tribal territory with the old heritage, but the new. Once we step out of the heritage of sin and death, God shows us the boundaries of His kingdom and tells us to explore its abundance.
Just as God called Abraham to go where He would lead and that He would show him the way as he went, Jesus says, “Follow Me”. In John 14:5-6, Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When we follow Jesus, we are walking in the Spirit. The Spirit will not lead us outside the boundaries of God’s Word. He will teach us the ways of the kingdom as we walk it in its length and breadth, to live in the freedom of its truth and light. We no longer yield to the impulses of the fleshly nature, but we follow wherever Jesus leads and follow the example He has given us. We live by the teachings of Jesus – the blessings and the hard teachings.
We cannot stay where we are if we are going to follow Jesus. It is in the process of daily following Him that we receive the promise. If you asked me to follow you and I agreed, I would have to move from where I am to where you are. Then, when you started walking, I would have to start walking with you. If you walked in a circle around the room and I was right behind you, I would be following. If you made that trip again, but this time you walked out the door and I stopped where I was, would I still be following you? I would still be standing where you led me at one time, but I would not be continuing to follow you. We have to keep moving with God’s Spirit.
When we are born again, God will lead us through our lives one step at a time. We will either go His way or our way on a daily basis. We will follow His leadership or submit to the ways of this world on a daily basis.
Are you still in the same place you were in last year? I don’t mean physically. I mean spiritually. If you are, why? Did you stop following Jesus somewhere along the line, leaving you outside the kingdom boundaries?
Maybe someone treated you unjustly, and you were consumed by the wrong, allowing resentment and bitterness in. You knew Jesus said to forgive and trust Him to vindicate you, but before you knew it, you were outside of the boundaries.
Maybe you were pulled into another direction by a job offer or ministry opportunity that seemed so good that you ignored the voice within you saying it wasn’t what it seemed. And now you are outside the boundaries
Perhaps a crisis came your way and you were running scared. Before you knew it turmoil overcame you and you were out of the boundaries.
Maybe Jesus led you to a place that seemed overwhelming and you were afraid to follow Him there, so you walked outside the boundaries, not realizing that was much more dangerous than following Jesus’ lead.
If we choose to stand on the fringes of the kingdom, the voice of the world will be louder in our ears than the voice of Jesus. And we will be standing unprotected outside the boundaries.
When the crisis comes or we do something wrong or Satan’s attacks seem to be unrelenting, it is time to press further into the kingdom. Don’t revert to the old heritage, but stay in the boundaries of His love. The deeper we go into the interior of His kingdom, the more of us we leave behind and the more of Christ is in us.
Are there any boundaries you have crossed that are keeping you from fully following Jesus? Have you stopped at a comfortable place instead of keeping pace with Him? Isn’t it time to get back on track? You don’t have to stay outside of the boundaries.
Confess (admit) to God.
Turn away from your disobedience and surrender to Jesus.
Then start walking!