Abraham is called the father of faith (Romans 4) because he has given us an example of how to believe God for the promise; rather how to stand in faith until the promise is manifested. God gave Abraham a promise in Genesis 12 and I find at least 7 principles in the life of Abraham that helped him “Stagger not at the promise of God through unbelief;” but “remain strong in faith, giving glory to God;” Romans 4:20. Let’s look at the life of Abraham to determine what we need to do to see the manifestation of what God has promised us as Abraham saw the manifestation of what God promised him in his life.
The life of Abraham, or Abram as he was initially called, didn’t start in Genesis 12, but it started in Genesis 11 with his father Terah.
31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Now the scripture does not tell us if God spoke to Terah and told him to go to the land of Canaan. But we know that Terah took his family and was headed that way. For some reason when he came to Haran, he settled there and eventually died there. He never made it to his planned destination. Terah’s name in Hebrew means “station” or “delay”. His name is literally the story of his life. Because he delayed his obedience to God and decided to station himself halfway to his planned destination, he died without receiving what God had promised him. How many people do you know have died with unwritten or unfinished books or songs; unrealized businesses and ideas; unmaterialized witty inventions or dreams in their hearts. The graveyard is full of a wealth of untapped potential and unfulfilled promises.
This is the backdrop for Genesis 12. Abram picks up where his father left off. It’s something how it takes somebody else to suffer and die in order to birth within us the passion and the incentive to go forth; to do what others did not or could not do. It was the thousands who died in car accidents because they were ejected from their vehicles because they were not wearing seat belts that prompted lawmakers to make wearing a seat belt mandatory. It was the many who have died because they were texting as they drove that has caused new regulations against texting and driving. Of the thousands who have died from lung cancer or who have suffered from emphysema and other bronchial problems due to smoking have prompted the Surgeon General to require that tobacco companies put a warning label on every cigarette package that smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer. It seems that it takes the misfortune of somebody else that goes before us to put the fire under our belts to motivate us to go all the way with God.
So with Abram, I believe when God spoke to him to leave his country and his kindred and his father’s house in Haran and “go to a land that I will show you,” Abram did not hesitate. He packed up his family and all that he had and followed God. I believe he didn’t want to end up like his father, dying before he reached his destiny or settling for halfway-there!
1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.