Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 ESV)
We saw in our last post how God continually reached out to mankind to communicate and establish a relationship. Man was created to worship God and represent Him as a royal priesthood, although man failed many times in our early history to represent God well. We’re now at a tipping point, waiting for God to show us a way to live rightly as His image bearers. Indeed, He does, and it begins with the calling of Abram.
At the end of Chapter 11 we first learn about a man named Abram who is the son of Terah. Terah leaves Ur with his family and they travel to Haran. To clear up a little confusion about who is actually called from Ur (was it Terah or was it Abram?) we’ll need do some research.
In Genesis 15:7, God reminds Abram of his original calling:
And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
And in Acts 7:2-3, Stephen repeats Abram’s calling in detail:
And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’”
By God’s own words and Stephen’s declaration, we see that God originally spoke to Abram in Ur. When we finish Genesis Chapter 11 (and find that Abram lived with his family in Haran until Terah died), we learn from searching the Scriptures that Genesis 12:1 was not God’s first call to Abram. In fact, God is reminding Abram in Genesis 12:1 that it’s time to fulfill his original calling and leave Haran to the land God will show him. What land is that? If we back up to Genesis 11:31, we see that it is the land of Canaan (the land of Noah’s cursed grandson).
Somehow, Abram and his family didn’t get to fulfill the mission right away. They spent many years in Haran until Terah eventually died. We don’t really know why the migration stopped in Haran, but what we do know is that Genesis 12:1 is a kind of “re-call” notice to Abram to start him off again to the land of Canaan. Clearly, God had not forgotten about Abram.
Can you think of a time in your life when you knew God was calling you to something, but an event or circumstance held you back? What about this story can you relate to? What do you find troubling or assuring about God in this story?