Now the LORD said to Abram,
Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you.
– Genesis 12:1
Today, the ancient Biblical town of Haran sits in ruins.
But in the time of Abram, later given the new name of Abraham, it was a bustling trading town watered by a tributary of Euphrates River.
Abram and his family lived in the wealthy city of Ur until God called him to leave Ur for a new land. God didn’t give him the road map of this journey, but He did give him promises to hold onto during the long journey.
God commanded three things of Abram on this trip:
Leave his country behind.
Separate from his extended family.
Proceed to a land God would reveal to him.
Abram did leave Ur, but his journey to the new land was lengthened considerably when he failed to obey God completely by taking along his father Terah and his nephew Lot. They only got as far as Haran before settling there. Haran means “parched.” During his time in Haran, there is no record of promises or communication Abram received from God. God simply waited for him to act on His original command.
Since Abram had not completely severed the old ties, he was unable to strike out toward the promised land. Terah means “delay,” and Abram was indeed delayed in his journey for years in Haran until the death of his father released him to move forward.
It was not until Terah’s death God again appeared to Abram and repeated His command. In the end, Abram did obey God. He would, in fact, become known as the “father of all them that believe,” (Roman 4:11), a man separated from all he had known. He became a pilgrim passing through one land into the next, learning although God’s commands aren’t always accompanied by reasons, they are always filled with promises.
As believers, we are called to leave our old world behind for the promise of a new life.
When we are bound to the past and unhealthy relationships, we are unable to claim all that has been promised to us. We dwell in a parched land on the brink of despair, unable to move forward.
If we are ever to make progress, we must let God remove what holds us back. Do you stand at Haran today? Have you settled for a dry existence without seeing the promises of God fulfilled, because you can’t let go? Are you fearful of the sacrifices involved in crossing into the promised land?
No matter how long you have lived on the brink, God is still here, waiting for your heart to arise in answer to His call. In the list of faith heroes given to us in Hebrews 11, there is no mention of Abram’s delay in obedience. God’s grace is greater than our fears, our failures, and our doubts.
Take those first steps forward today.
The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’
– Acts 7:2,3