Between A Holy Place and A Heap of Ruins: Part 1
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you. “So, Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev.”-Genesis 12:1-9
One of the things that I appreciate, about Abrahams’s journey of faith, is that it didn’t begin with a flurry of miracles. It begins with an amazing promise from the Lord, which is miraculous in and of itself. “The Lord said to Abram” points to a supernatural experience between God and Abraham in which God lays out His expressed will for Abraham and his descendants. Abraham, on God’s promise alone, departs Haran.
Once Abraham leaves Haran, God seemingly goes silent. Think about that for just a moment. Abraham clearly hears from God. By faith, he leaves his native country, family, and friends and begins this tedious journey. He is leaving everything familiar to him. He is 75 years old when he departs Haran and the territory into which God leads him is already inhabited. The journey alone is 400 miles. We are talking about 20-30 days of traveling with his family, servants, and herds. During this time there are no recorded miracles, no signs & wonders, and no supernatural encounters with God confirming to Abraham what God had told Him. Abraham is traveling on a promise. I wonder how many of us would have even made it that far. How many would have turned back? Why would God give us such an amazing promise and then go silent?
How are we supposed to gauge if we’re still on track? Truth is, we are accustomed to road signs. We need to know how far, how long, and where we are on the journey. We need signs along the way. Abraham, however, only had a promise. No directions. Just a promise.
“When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.”-Genesis 12:5-6
Notice that when they crossed the border into Canaan that Abraham didn’t stop and kiss the ground and thank God for bringing him to the land He had promised. God didn’t promise to give Abraham a nation, He promised to make Abraham into a great nation.
That’s why it says that Abraham traveled through, not to, the land. Reaching Canaan was never the destination. When he reached Canaan, Abraham found the land inhabited. He is forced to wander through the desert. The path to God’s promises, often, includes spending time in the desert. Later, Israel would spend 40 years in the wilderness before they would experience the promised land. Jesus would spend time in the desert being tempted by the devil before He would begin His earthly ministry.
God’s silence is not a sign of His absence, nor is our time in the desert a sign of God’s dissatisfaction. Yet, each of them will test your obedience to God’s promise.
Dayspring Community Church