081 Who made the first move?
June 22, 2017 | Permalink
Regarding Terah and his son Abram, the story thus far. They lived in southern Mesopotamia’s Ur. After the death of one of his sons, Haran, the family travels north to the place called Haran. As a side note here, later on in Genesis 27:43 we will find that Haran is the home of Laban and connects it with Isaac and Jacob: Jacob spent 20 years in Haran working for his uncle Laban (cf. Gen. 31:38 and 41).
Also of note: For Terah and the rest of the family, the journey from Ur to Haran is probably about 1200 miles and at 20 miles a day with farmstock would have taken at least 2 months.
In Haran we note two things from the Bible. First, that Terah dies there, as recorded in Gen. 11. Next we see:
“Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran” Gen.12:4
This is important because the first three verses of Gen. 12 state:
‘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. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”’ Gen. 12:1-3
And from that, we might presume that this is the place where Abram received his commission. If so, we might further state, as some have done, that God gave him this commission because Abram had moved from Ur to Haran and in some way God is rewarding Abram for his deed. But is this really the case?
The point here that should be made is that we should understand whether God moves only when we move. Some folks will exclaim that God can’t move a parked car; the emphasis being that the driver has to start moving for God to then get to work in a person’s life. Such thinking diminishes who God is. God can move a driver, the car, and the street, for that matter, if He wants to. True, we are to participate in His ways and God will act accordingly if we are stubborn, refuse to move, or are disobedient, but that doesn’t mean that God won’t move until we move. So what exactly happened with Abram?
Let’s look at the testimony of the martyr, Stephen.
“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.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.” Acts 7:2-4
Abram was 75 when he was in Haran, but some time before, he was in Ur. It was during this previous time, while in Ur, that God spoke, that God revealed Himself to Abram… before Abram had moved, and in the context of an environment of great idolatry. It was God who moved first. It always is.
God should be rightfully praised for His initiatives. In the case of Abram, we see an excellent example of God’s providence and that regardless of the situation. God made a promise in Gen. 3:15 that a seed would live and have victory over the offspring of the serpent. That promise was resolute even in the midst of all the world acting wickedly (with the exception of one, Noah). And even when one of Noah’s sons transgressed, still yet, God’s promise held firm for the line of Shem would be where God would provide one to serve His purposes. And yes, that special person would even come from an idolatrous family. When God makes a promise, it will stand true. No matter what.
Abram was special because he was picked, but he wasn’t picked because he was special. God can choose whom He likes, how He likes, and whenever He likes. God chose Abram sometime prior to his age of 75. For us that seems old, but God is no respecter of time, God is beyond time.
As you consider your situation, no matter your environment, no matter your age, the promise of God, given in Gen.3:15 still holds true. And that’s good news for disciples of the Lord.
While God is beyond time, timing still has a role. For Abram, he received his revelation of God when elderly. After his father’s death, God communicates again; the message: the commission of Gen. 12:1-3. It’s seen by some as the first time God gives His commission to Abram, but as Acts 7 shows, this is not the case. Instead, what we see in Gen. 12:1-3 is likely a repetition of what God had already told Abram, when Abram first heard God in Ur.
Read the Bible widely, disciple, you never know what you might find!