Abraham was a man who held probably the greatest promise in the history of civilization--the promise of “millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings will be among them!” (Gen. 17:6, NLT) But before I can look forward into that promise, I feel it is good to take a look at where he came from.
In Genesis 11, the lineage of Noah’s son, Shem, is written. As it comes close to Abram, his father, Terah, is expounded upon just a bit. As I read it through this time, I saw something that could be of significance in this promise that we remember Abraham for. The first time God spoke to Abram, that we read, was to call Abram to leave his country, relatives, his father’s house, and to go to a land that He would show him. Then God goes on to promise the great nation and many blessings.
The first place Abram landed (in ch. 12) on his journey was Canaan. Something struck me as I read that this time, and I turned the page back to chapter 11. There it was, in verse 31: “Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai, and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and left Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan.” I knew I had just read Canaan! But the verse didn’t stop there... as Terah did. It finishes, “But they stopped instead at the village of Haran and settled there.”
This got me to thinking about who God had spoken to throughout the history of the people in His chosen lineage. Had God spoken to Terah about moving forward? Had He called Abram’s father to this greatness? It is possible that Terah could have been the name we all sang as children, instead of “Father Abraham had many sons...”? I seriously wonder.
The Bible for sure is not the all-inclusive Word of God, meaning, not everything that God has ever said or done is recorded here. It IS the infallible Word of God, living and active, and perfect in its entirety. But I do wonder... how many people has God called, who have gone so far, and then, “settled”? It is interesting to think about settling. We like to settle. We like to put down some roots and call a place home. How many, though, have settled themselves right out of the promises of God Most High?
We are to be a people, who are moving forward, expanding, in the things of God, as God provides. We are not to settle... to stop our progress and decide for ourselves that where we are at is good enough. I am not saying that Terah was supposed to be the Abraham we read about and admire today. I do not know, but I DO know that for every person that has responded faithfully and obediently to God’s call, there are probably a thousand who have turned Him down. It is human nature to be #1 selfish, and #2 fearful of anything we ourselves can not control. Terah may have “settled” for less than Canaan, but Abraham didn’t. In fact, he went beyond Canaan. He went all the way.
There were many hardships, battles, and even shortcomings he lived through, but he was as faithful to God’s leading as a person could have been in his situation. This is why we DO read about him. This is why we DO remember him as the great father of nations and kings, with more descendants than the stars in the sky, or grains of sand on the shore.