Terah’s good intention to leave Ur and travel to the land of Canaan was disrupted at the half way point with a distraction. This distraction led him on an 80 mile detour to the city of Haran, where he stopped and settled. He put down roots in Haran and stayed there until he died. Distractions and detours can do that to us. The siren song of the shiny has an allure, that often over promises and under delivers. If you’ve read the story closely, you’ll see that Terah had named one of his son’s Haran. The name isn’t exactly the same as the city in the Hebrew language, even though it is spelled the same in English. The son’s name means “mountain.” You’ll recall that the city’s name means “crossroads.” The point is that many times what we perceive to be the pinnacle of success and achievement is merely nothing more than a crossroads where we have to choose between what is good and what is best. Terah was satisfied that he would be content with good enough, and he died without ever leaving his presumed mountain of accomplishment. In his own mind, he had arrived “on top.”
But Abram still had something stirring in his heart. His vision of Canaan had not evaporated. The death of his father served as a signal to pick up the original call to the land of promise. He made the decision to leave Haran and finish the journey. This would not have been an easy decision if you think about it in terms of ancient culture, for Abram would not just leave a place. He would leave all sorts of things behind.
At the age of 75, Abram left his homeland, his family, his potential inheritance, his position in the family, the family idols, his financial security, the familiarity of culture and community, and the faith of his childhood. But somehow his God given vision surpassed all of that. I’m sure he counted the cost, but the cost of leaving paled in comparison to the future reward of obedience.
One way to think about this is to consider the fact that Abram, by faith, left his certainty and journeyed toward uncertainty. His walk of faith was not void of doubt, for if you look at his life you’ll discover that Abram is often slow to believe. But in the midst of this uncertainty, he walked by faith and obedience. My friend Matt Manos once said, “The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.” As long as we demand a faith that is certain, we’ll remain in our Haran, and find that we’ve not just settled, we’ve become stuck.