Genesis 11:27-12:1 “This is the history of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran had a son named Lot. But while Haran was still young, he died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the place of his birth. He was survived by Terah, his father. Meanwhile, Abram married Sarai. Now Sarai was not able to have any children. Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai, and his grandson Lot and left Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But they stopped instead at the village of Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still at Haran. Then the LORD told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.”
This is the story of Abram’s family and how they almost didn’t fully experience the fulfillment of God’s plans for them. After the tragic death of Abram’s brother, Haran, Terah packs up and decides to move to Canaan. On their journey, they campout indefinitely, halfway to their destination.
We often live in the shadow of other people’s decisions, often those of our family. This can potentially limit us if we decide to follow in their footsteps. While there are certain hereditary things that are passed on, we often live up to what’s been modeled for us. It’s up to us how we respond to life’s challenges.
There are those who stop. “But while Haran was still young, he died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the place of his birth” (v. 28) Unfortunately, too many dreams die an early, premature death. People feel they can’t continue so they give up. They never really get going, growing, or progressing. We see this happen regularly with incoming Christian teenagers who attend the U of I. With every intent to remain faithful to Christ, they get busy, spiritually lazy, procrastinate, and before they realize it, they’ve stopping pursuing God. People who end the journey never fully experience God’s blessing. Their potential is unrealized and unmet.
There are those who settle. “They went as far as Haran and settled there” (v.31) Terah stopped moving and stayed in a city, ironically having the same name as his dead son. Is it possible that Haran reminded him of his past? The pain of burying his son? It would seem that Terah couldn’t move beyond his past. People are often paralyzed because of hurt, unable and unwilling to keep going. This is where Abram’s father ended up dying. “Terah” actually means to delay or to put off to a later time; to impede the process or progress of; to put off action. He lived up to his name. He died where he delayed and never accomplished what he set out to do. Haran represents…
…a place of disappointment…when life doesn’t work out the way we wanted or expected
…a place of hurt…a painful experience which causes us to close up and shut down
…a place of failure…”I messed up, God will never forgive me.”
…a place of weakness…”I’ll never conquer it. I might as well give in.”
…a place of fear…”I’m scared to take chances. I need to know the details.”
…a place of doubt…”I missed God. He never called me.”
…a place of confusion…”Did I hear Him wrong? What’s going on?”
We’re on a journey and we need to keep moving. Interestingly, the name Haran means “mountaineer” – one who reaches the highest point of unclimbed big mountains. Through often treacherous hazardous conditions, where others would give up, the mountaineer climbs…and the implication is continuously.
“I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you” (12:2-3).