“So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.” Genesis 12:4-6
Abram was born in the land of Ur, a city dedicated to the worship of the moon god, Nanna. Because the Amorites invaded Abram’s homeland, Abram’s father moved the family out of Ur to Haran. It was in the city of Haran that Abram (later renamed Abraham) heard the call of God to journey to Canaan, the Promised Land.
Why did God tell Abram to leave the land of Ur?
Because He wanted to bless Abram and all other nations through Abram’s family line. Sometimes in order for God to bless us, we have to leave some things behind; things that stand in the way of God’s best; things that obstruct our relationship with God; things that prevent our progress, keep us shallow and make us small. Things that make us less when God wants to make us more. Things like false gods, bad habits, and generational sin. Sometimes God uses a change of scenery to change a life.
“Then Abram journeyed by stages to the Negev.”
He started in Ur.
Stage 1, Ur (Genesis 15:7) In the original Hebrew, Ur comes from a Hebrew word that means light, revelation. Just as God met Abram in his everyday life, God meets us in the middle of our mess and calls us to walk with Him in the light.
Then Abram live in Haran.
Stage 2, Haran Haran means, dried, parched, angry, shriveled. Do you have any dried up places in your life? Any relationships or circumstances that drain you of life, joy and energy? Haran also means to be burned, scorched, charred, shriveled up, to be angry, to burn with anger. When we burn with anger, we scorch everything around us, even our own souls. God never wants us to live a life of anger. Small wonder God called Abram out of the Haran, the “land of anger.” God had a better way of life for Abram. His way. The only Way.
After Haran, Abram had to get out of Shechem.
Stage 3: Shechem Shechem means back, to turn the back, a place where blows fall. In order to walk with God, Abram had to turn his back on his old way of life. He had to walk away from his idols, wrong relationships and bad habits. To walk with God, we will have to back away from some things.
Then God led Abram to Moreh.
Stage 4: Moreh Moreh means teacher, early rain. In order to progress in our relationship with God, we need sound biblical teaching. As we let the living water of God’s word rain down on us, we will grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.
Finally Abram was ready for the Land of Promise.
Stage 5: Cana’an Cana’an literally means lowland. It also means: to humble, to bend the knee, to humble oneself, to bind together. The land of Cana’an is the place where we humble ourselves before God, and on our knees, admit our great need for Him. It is a place where He binds our heart to His. Cana’an is aka the Promised Land. A Land of Promises.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“I will be your God and you will be my people.”
“You shall be white as snow, though your sins are as scarlet.”
Those are some good promises.
I need the Land of Promises.
How did Abram get from Haran to Cana’an? He followed God closely down the road of obedience. He depended on God’s instruction for each step of the journey. Abram walked so close to God he could hear Him whisper, This is the way walk in it.
My own journey with God has been marked by stages. I’ve been to Ur and back. I had an extended stay in Haran. I know every nook and cranny of Shechem. Stages of joy, peace, hardship, struggle, pain, growth and suffering. You name it I’ve been there with God , and He has used it for my good and His glory.
The key to progress?
Keep walking. Never stop. When you fall, GET UP. With God there is always a next time, always another stage, and always a second chance (and a third, fourth, fifth etc.).
I’m glad God changes us in stages. If He had shown me everything that was wrong with me the first day I started following Him, I would have died of shame. He is good. You can trust Him. Keep following Him.
- Where are you? Look at your life. In order to make progress, you have to know where you are. Are you in Ur, at the beginning of your walk with God? Are you on a detour? Lost? Ask God to show you.
- Get up. Maybe you have blown it. (I have several times). Or maybe you have been wandering around not really getting anywhere. It’s time. Get up. Get going.
- Ask for directions. What do you need to do next to keep walking with God? Add something? Leave something? Wait for something? Pray and ask God to show you.
- Help someone find their way. Maybe you’ve been walking with God for a long time and you have a little road-worthy experience to share. Find someone who needs your help and show them the way.
Where are you in your journey with God?
Leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you!
Life is sweet! Road trip!
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Jane VanOsdol says
Oh, this is such a good post! This part “things that prevent our progress, keep us shallow and make us small. Things that make us less when God wants to make us more.” really spoke to me. Wow. Things that make me shallow and small and less than God wants me to be. That really resonated with me, and I know I need to take some time to pray about it. Thanks for this awesome study, Mary!
Thanks, Jane, for your comment! God always calls us to go deeper with Him. He always wants to make us more! We need to trust and follow Him!