[Abraham] left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living.
Faith is inseparably linked to obedience. When God first commanded Abraham to go to Canaan, he obeyed–at first. Genesis 11:31 says, “Terah took Abram his son . . . and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.” Abraham believed that God had a special land for him, to the extent that he was willing to uproot his family and start heading in the direction God called him.
Once they arrived in Haran, apparently Terah, Abraham’s father, said, “We have gone far enough. Let’s settle here. You did what God said–you left Ur, and now let’s stay here in Haran. Let’s put down some roots.” Apparently Abraham listened to his father, because the next stage of his life was marked by prolonged disobedience. Abraham stayed in Haran fifteen years instead of going to Canaan like God had originally commanded. Maybe after a few years he started to rationalize his disobedience by saying, “Maybe I was mistaken. Maybe that really was not the voice of God I heard.” Or maybe after a few years he thought to himself, “I know I did not obey God, but that was so long ago, it is too late to make any changes in my life.”
But God was not about to allow Abraham to stay where he was. God had a plan for Abraham that extended to you and me, and that plan was so important, He would not allow it to be thwarted by Abraham’s disobedience. So even though Abraham was living in the far country in Haran, God decided to get his attention. He will do the same thing in your life as well. If you are a child of God, He will use whatever means necessary to get your attention, to awaken your conscience. And one way He does that is by taking away the thing that is most important to you. It might be your job. It might be a possession. It might be a relationship. It might even be a family member.
What was the one impediment that was keeping Abraham from fully obeying God? It was his relationship with his father. So what did God do? Look at Genesis 11:32: “The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.” In Acts 7:4, Stephen said, “After his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living.” It was only after God took that which was most important to Abraham that he was finally ready to obey God.
Genesis 12:4-5 says, “So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him. . . . Thus they came to the land of Canaan.” Unlike the journey from Ur to Haran, which was quite easy, the journey from Haran to Canaan was four hundred miles of mostly desert travel. But this time, Abram was not going to stop. He was ready to obey God completely.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “One Pilgrim’s Progress” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org