Genesis 12:1 “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’”

Observation: The family into which Abram was born had already done one leaving. Gen. 11:31 says that Abram’s father Terah had originally left Ur with part of his family, intending to migrate to Canaan. But they only got as far as an area called Haran, where Terah decided to put down roots. Later, the Lord called Abram to complete the relocation to Canaan.

Application: Joshua 24:2 clarifies why this migration was a two-generation process by telling us that Terah “worshipped other gods”, which is why he was comfortable remaining in Haran; both Ur and Haran were places where the moon-god was worshipped, so he likely felt at home in either place.

Through Abram, though, God intended to do something new. Terah and all the rest of Noah’s lineage were part of the post-flood, post-Babel rebellion. But in Abram and through his offspring, God had a plan to introduce a redemptive work for all mankind.

Terah settled in Haran and was no doubt satisfied, spending the rest of his life and dying there.

We are not told the sequence of Terah’s death and Abram’s leaving, but Gen. 12:1 suggests that Abram had received his call to leave while his father was still alive. I wonder what the day of Abram’s departure was like. Any of us who have stood with tear-filled eyes in the driveway as our eldest child drove happily away to a remote college has experienced the cleaved heart Terah must have felt. “Call me when you get there”, we urged. “Drive safely. See you at Christmas.” What were Terah’s thoughts? There would be no phone calls, no text messages, no holiday reunions. Likely this father and son would never again embrace.

Yet Abram left, something he could surely have only done in the certainty of having heard God’s voice. There is such a profound difference in being called “to” something as opposed to escaping from something. How easy it is to rebelliously abandon a tough situation: difficult family relationship or an unreasonable employer. But it is something else entirely to be called by God’s vision to the new and unknown. Paul said it well: “putting away what lies in the past, I press on.”

Prayer: Lord, You do have a call, a destiny, for my life. Cause me to listen well and to put my complete trust in Your promise to never leave or forsake me as I follow You.