I have heard numerous sermons on verse one of Genesis 12, how one day, out of the blue (literally!), God called Abram to leave his land and people and go to a new place where God promised to make him a great nation. And Abram, who had been happily puttering about, living his life, with no thought in the world about anything else, faithfully just got up and left with his household.
Wow! That is faith – to just change direction with no warning. I was always a bit disheartened by this story, because I know myself too well. I require a lot of warning before I am ready to make significant changes. I am getting better at trusting God, but I still don’t think I would have been able to turn and rip up my life so quickly.
However, while doing my assigned Bible reading this morning (ok, so the reading was assigned for Wednesday, Aug 24. But better late than never!) of Genesis, Chapter 11, I read the following:
“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and died in Haran.”
Wow! That really gave me hope. God had already been preparing Abram’s heart. God gave Abram a taste of what it is like to move from your home, by prompting his father, Terah, to move the family from Ur to Haran.
God gave Abram a sense of what it is like to be obedient to authority, even when it means plans you made are interrupted. The Bible says that Terah had planned to go to Canaan, but stopped in Haran. Abram had expected to go to Canaan, but was stopped by someone in authority over him.
Most importantly, God put a glimmer of the dream of living in Canaan into Abram’s heart, so that when God called Abram, Abram would be ready to respond. Abram had expected to be living somewhere other than Haran. So when God called him, it probably felt more like, “Cool, I was hoping to get moving again some day.” And less like, “What, you want me to just uproot everything and go to where?”
I am sure there was a bit of the, “you want me to do what?” feeling. But I am so happy to see that God made sure there was some of the, “Cool, I was wondering when this dream would come to fruition!” feeling, too.