The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
We are used to stories of people going travelling these days. Taking a gap year and travelling around the world before going to university or taking a year out before settling down. It is also more common to hear of people taking career breaks or making the once in a lifetime trips in early retirement. However Abram and his family are doing this at a time when their lives were closer to the end than the beginning.
At such times when we might be downsizing and moving closer to our families, Abram is doing the opposite. His journey involved him and his household in leaving everyone and everything they had ever known, except each other. Even his father’s household is left behind. This seems an irresponsible act given the expectation that a family would care for the elderly.
Abram is also exchanging the settled existence of town life for that of a nomad, dependent on wells and grazing to support the herds, trading goods to feed the household in areas he has never visited before.
The distance he travels is huge – it’s worth looking at an atlas to see this first stage of his journey and then comparing it with the distance you have moved in your lifetime. Then consider that this would be travelled on foot or camel. The blessing offered to the childless elderly couple, their nephew and their households is worth the step of faith they are making.
God promises that this new life will be blessed and that he will be a blessing to others. God promises a land, descendants, a name that will be remembered and a purpose. These promises would not be fully realised in his lifetime. However God is calling and Abram responds.
Father God we are amazed at the way Abram trusted you as you called him to leave all that he knew. Help us to hear what you are asking of us and give us the courage to respond. May we be a blessing to others too. Amen
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