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Have you ever felt as Abram must have felt when he prepared to turn his back on Haran and step out into the vast unknown? So often we think the first one God spoke to about the land of Canaan was Abram, later called Abraham. But the Scriptures suggest that the Lord likely spoke first to Abram's father, Terah. We find in Genesis 11:31 that Terah had a sudden urge to pick up his entire family and possessions, leave Ur and all that was familiar to them, to embark on a hot, dry and dangerous journey to the northwest. That sounds like a leading from the Lord! However, they only got as far as Haran and then they settled there. How often do WE only go part of the way with God … and then settle there? We get complacent so quickly, looking at how far we have come rather than how far we have yet to go. We decide we have come far enough - and PLOP!
But God did not allow Abram to remain in Haran. "Go forth …, He told Abram, "to the land which I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Effectively, He was saying to Abram, "Do not stop here as your father did. Keep going!" As I was pondering this, I thought of other Terahs throughout history, called out of their own Ur by God to go to a new and unfamiliar spiritual land. Our denominational forefathers were prompted by God to leave the comfort and security of their own traditions to seek the fullness of the inheritance found in Christ Jesus. But somehow, each only got as far as their personal Haran, and died leaving behind a new generation who did not have the same vision or the same understanding of where God was calling. Upon settling in their Haran, the vision for more was gradually lost.
Yet, as the Lord called Abram, He is now calling us! "Go forth," He is saying, "to a land which I will show you." It is not a land reserved for eternity, for some day when we die. It is a place of fruitfulness and blessing that our heavenly Father wants us to move into and to possess NOW! What a tragedy that Terah died in Haran without ever experiencing Canaan, just like many Christians today die in the midst of a spiritual wasteland without ever experiencing the joy and excitement of going higher, wider and deeper with God. There is so much more He wants to show us — about where we fall short, who He really is, how He thinks, His plan and purposes, the strength of His covenant with us, our authority in Him … and on and on.
The Lord is calling this generation of Abrams out of our complacency and the little kingdoms we have built for ourselves in Haran, and He is saying, "Go … I will bless you" (Genesis 12:1-2). Move on Church! I will bless you as you go. Your inheritance waits for you! Take up where your forefathers who had the vision left off! Who will DARE to step into the shoes of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon or Moody and move on in God to receive all that He has prepared for those who love Him? Who among you will DARE to be modern-day reformers?
In recognizing our human tendency to be half-hearted and to complacently camp in Haran, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do … I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). I won't settle for Haran, he was saying. Canaan awaits!
Like Abram, and like Paul, may we courageously choose today to step out of the familiar, out of the comfortable, and out of that which has seemed "good enough" … to answer the Lord's call to press deeper into Him, and to move onward and upward into new spiritual territory. He beckons to each one of us in this critical hour! Will we respond?