Leave Haran Behind

Ever know anyone who seemed unable to get over some issue?  Sometimes, it’s a big, life-changing thing, like when a baby is stillborn or when a brother becomes addicted to pills.  Other times, it’s kind of stupid, like when Uncle Rico who still believes he can be a football star some day:

Regardless of the particular issue, most of us have met someone who seemed stuck, unable (or unwilling) to move on.

I think Terah was one such man.

“Who the heck is Terah?” you’re probably asking.

Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’m going to tell you just who this man was.  Well, you probably know of Abraham, the guy in the Bible who had lots of sons:  click.  Terah was his dad.

Genesis 11:27-28, 31 reads, “This is the account of Terah’s family.  Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot.  But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living….  One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans.  He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there.  Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran.”

So Terah is a regular man living in Ur during the second millennium BC (between 1000 and 1999 BC).  He has three sons, and at one point his son Haran dies.  Later, for some unknown reason, Terah decides to leave his home country and head towards Canaan.  And for some other unknown reason, he stops at the city of Haran.  He ends up staying there until his death, never making it to the land he’d set out towards.

Now, there’s a lot this story doesn’t say, and reading between the lines isn’t always good when studying the Bible.  In fact, it’s downright dumb if you’re going to base your theology, your life, your eternity around verses you extrapolated.  In general, stick with what’s written; don’t make stuff up.

But, with that said…  I have a few ideas about this whole thing.

I think Yahweh appeared to Terah, as he later appeared to Abraham in Genesis 12, with a promise of land in Canaan as an inheritance.

I think Terah chose to leave Ur at first because he wanted to start over, to leave behind the death of his son, to move on.

I think Terah never fully dealt with the disappointment and betrayal he felt towards God when his son died, and so he got tired of following.

I think Terah, still broken over his son’s death, chose to name the place where he stayed after his dead son.

I think Terah was called by God but allowed disappointment, disillusionment, frustration, uncertainty, anger, offense to get in the way of his ability to trust God.  And when that happened, he quit following.  And when he quit following, he started living out of his pain and loss.  And when that happened, he missed out on the blessing God had for him.

I can tell you I have been at places in my life like that.  God didn’t do things the way I’d hoped, and so I grew offended.  If that offense is not dealt with, it quickly poisons any walk with God.  And when the joy is gone, it’s not long before even the most stubborn Christian will quit following.

The offense has to be dealt with, and then healing can come and the blessing will return.  And the first step in dealing with a sense of feeling offended at God is repentance, simply admitting you were wrong to judge God.

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, maybe it’s time you examined your heart.  Have you allowed yourself to get offended at God?  Are you ready to acknowledge your feelings as wrong?

James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  It’s time to get some favor and humbly repent.

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