How you got here is always an interesting story. More compelling, however, are questions like “Why are you here?” and “What are you doing during your time here?” God has created and gifted you to be who you are and what you are. But don’t forget to consider that God is also interested in where you are. That matters too.
Woven into the story of Abram is an extensive travel log. His purpose? To found a new nation that would be a blessing to the world. His story doesn’t begin in Canaan. It begins in a place called Ur. Reading Genesis 11:27-32 provides us with the back story of Abram. It proves to be informative.
For example, we learn that Canaan to some degree had always been on the map for at least two generations. Abram’s forefathers had been working their way to Canaan for some time. So God had prepared Abram for his special call with an inclination of heart.
We also learn that there had been a delay. We don’t know why the family stopped, but they did. One rule of group travel is that when you travel with a group, you always travel at the speed of the slowest member. We don’t know why they stopped, but they “settled.”
Finally, we learn that through a life changing event, the death of his father Terah, God’s call came to him. It’s interesting how significant events — death of a family member, loss of employment, dissolution of a relationship, an unexpected illness — turn our attention to God and make us seek Him.
Though we live life in real time, I believe life is best understood through history. Abram is known for leaving his home land and moving to a new place. But the back story helps us see how God has prepared him for a new venture. I think it works that way for us too. No one wants to live in the past. Sometimes we can get stuck if we dwell on the past. But nothing is more helpful to understanding your present than a clear understanding of the past. If you want to understand today, you need to begin by understanding yesterday.