“Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. And Terah died in Haran. Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you.., so that you will be a blessing…‘
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions,.. and they set out. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord. From there he moved to the hill country and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.” Genesis 11:31-12:2,4-9
It is easy to read a couple of paragraphs, watch changing scenes, and think these things transpired quickly. Yet in real time, decades go by and many miles are traveled. At some point in their adult life and so-far childless marriage, Abram and Sarai went with his father Terah from Ur toward Canaan, but stopped in Haran, where Terah settled until his death at least 60 years later. But Abram, 75, determined to heed the call of God, journeyed on southward, traversing 400 miles of enemy land. This shedding the old and entering the new was a process of step-by-step obedience.
I watched wind manhandling heavy, tired palm fronds before dawn this morning, working its push around and through their drying life. The majestic branches had once held their heads high, but over time, became the lower limbs of this regal tree, and would soon drop off.
Isn’t this like so many of our Harans, our habits and comfy places that, as we heed God’s voice, gradually dry up and fall away? Fears, sloth, prejudices, resentments, superior attitudes, resistance to change, can all break off and lose power if we would cut off their food supply and allow the Spirit’s wind to shake them loose. Transformation seldom happens instantaneously, but deliberate, consistent, obedient walking in the Spirit trains new muscles and corrects vision, and over time, we shed our old limps. (Romans 8:9-11; Galatians 5:16)
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own… One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” Philippians 3:12-14
Holy Spirit, help me shake off and forget the old, and get in step with Your new for me today. Have full sway in every part of me so I live fully for You. (Isaiah 43:18-19)