Friday, 6 January 2012


When God called Abram to leave where he was, God wasn't speaking to Abram at Ur of the Chaldeans (he'd already left there) but rather at - Haran! Initially God called Terah, Abram's father, to leave Ur of the Chaldeans, along with his family - which included Abram, Sarai and Terah's Grandson, Lot. He was on a divine mission to reach Canaan. But instead, Terah compromised his mission and camped at a place he named "Haran".
Genesis 11:31 ¶ Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.
Tragedy had hit. Terah had probably only recently lost his son, Haran, when God called him to take his family from Ur of the Chaldeans (Babylon) to Canaan (Israel).
Genesis 11:28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans.
But God intervened in the midst of their grief by giving the grieving father a mission. How often does God remedy grief with such a strategy? Often it seems. Terah started well. But was it difficulty, weariness, or even comfort, that caused him to give up on his mission?

It could have been difficulty that halted Terah from completing the mission God had given him. But God would have known the mission was going to be difficult. Surely God wouldn't ask someone to do something that would be difficult for them to do? If you're hoping the answer is, "Of course God wouldn't ask someone to do something difficult!" - don't ask William Carey for his opinion! When he arrived in India in 1793 as the first British Baptist Missionary to India, he faced opposition from the British Government, the death of his young son, the nervous breakdown of his wife, and no converts for the seven years of his ministry! Carey's mission was difficult but he knew that it was also divine.

Of course Terah was around 100 years old when God called him to leave Chaldea. If anyone had a reason to be weary part way into such a long trip, surely it was Terah? But again, surely God would have known the physical toll that such an expedition would take on a man of Terah's vintage? Might God ask someone to do something that would be physically wearisome? If you hope the answer is, "Of course not!" -then don't ask James Gilmour, the 19th Century Scotish missionary to Mongolia who laboured for most of his life with very little support or reward for his efforts! And definitely do not ask Charles Simeon, the minister of Holy Trinity Cambridge who was locked out of his own church for 12 years by church members who opposed his insistence that they needed a Saviour - but he served these people for 54 years !

History has become tired of proving to the world that comfort and comfortableness are the obstacles to greatness and achievement. Becoming seduced by Comfort's mistress-call will always mean that its victims become unwilling to achieve their potential. Could it have been comfort that led to Terah abandoning his divine mission? Do a study of Christ's "Beware" statements and notice how most of these fall under the category of comfort. Terah had reached a point in his journey where he didn't want to go on any further.

Terah's late son's name was Haran. In Hebrew, this name means mountaineer. The place where Terah camped was coincidentally named Haran but in the Hebrew it is a slightly different word meaning parched.

Terah did not complete God's mission. Would God call someone to do something that He knew that they would fail at? Apparently. But I'm challenged by what I see in this Biblical episode. I don't want to fail in God's mission for my life. I know that it will be difficult. I know that there will be opposition. I know that weariness will need to be conquered. And I know that the lure of comfort will continue to be more appealing than the parched mountains that God expects me to climb over!
Gen. 12:1 ¶ 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.
Gen. 12:2 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.
However, even though Terah failed, God redeemed His mission. All the while He was preparing Abram. God will always see to His mission. As F.W. Boreham has written, the impossibilities of God's mission are remedied by a baby. That is, we tend to look for full-blown solutions while God nearly always provides potential solutions in the form of seeds, babies, or children.

Somehow, Terah's dream of reaching Canaan had died. The camp at Haran (later referred to as Padan Aram) as "parched" as it was, seemed more appealing to Terah than the Promise of Canaan. Sometimes our mediocre spiritual state (either individually or as a church) seems more appealing than the mountainous path yet-to-be trod to our fuller potential. Maybe it wasn't difficulty, weariness, or comfort that enticed Terah to stop? Could it have been fear? Was he afraid to proceed into theunknown when the known at least gave him some sense of security?
Gen. 11:32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
Camping at "Haran" either causes divine dreams to die or is where those who have let their divine dream die chose to camp. Let's not let the divine dream of God for our lives - to be fruitful for Him / to know Christ and make Him known / to be pillars in the church of God - die at "Haran".

What difficulties will you overcome this year in your walk with Christ? How will you deal with weariness in your service for Christ this year? How will you shun the shade of comfort for the searing heat of the track of Mount Beautiful in order to take the love of God to others? Which fears are holding you back from realising your God-appointed potential?

And even if we fail, God will raise up someone else to continue the mission He gave us. What neither Terah and possibly Abram realised was that God's mission was not merely a geographical one. Rather, it was a spiritual-territory one with eternal ramifications! And I wonder whether we realise it either? The mission God has given us a church to enthrone Him in worship, to encourage one another in our walk with Christ, to be empowered through the ministry of God's Word, and to engage others outside of the church with the Gospel of God's Love is similarly a spiritual-territory issue with dire eternal consequences. Let's not camp at "Haran" and go through the motions! Terah may have thought he only had a little time left and that there was not enough time for this 100 year old Grandfather to make it to Canaan. Sadly, Genesis 11 closes with the somber statement that Terah died at the age of 205. History may be looking Terah in the eyes and asking him why he didn't make better use of his time on earth? And if we camp at "Haran", history may well ask the same stinging question of us. With God on our side we can accomplish His mission for us in our generation. "Bye bye 'Haran'"! "Hello to the journey toward the Promised Land of fulfilling God's mission for us in 2012!"
Father, we need Your help to overcome every difficulty, obstacle, opposition, set-back, disappointment, and luring comfort. Help us, we pray, to press on in our pursuit to be Christlike and to know Him and make Him known. Help us to care for one-another. Give us enlarged hearts of compassion for the Lost. Fill our hearts and minds with fresh faith to take spiritual territory for Christ and His cause. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

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