We know from Stephen’s recap of Israel’s history in Acts 7 that God appeared to Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham) in his hometown of Ur. God told Abram to leave his family and country behind, and relocate to the Promised Land.
And Abram obeys…kind of. He leaves his home in Ur, but does not leave his family. He takes his father with him along with his nephew Lot. But they didn’t make it to the land God had in mind. They got about halfway there, then stalled out in Haran.
God didn’t blast Abram for not obeying fully. In Haran, God called him to leave his home and his father’s household once again. This time, he leaves his father behind. He is closer to full obedience. Abram is not in full obedience of God’s command until he and Lot part ways in the Promised Land.
Abram’s journey is a lot like ours. We are often in partial obedience. But Abraham’s story is incredibly encouraging. Throughout the progression from partial to complete obedience, Abram is blessed by God. He ends up being called God’s friend. God nurtures, nudges and encourages Abram. When Abram shows partial obedience, God seems to say “this is a good step, here is one further”.
We are like Abram in Haran. We’ve obeyed partially, God remains steadfast in his calling, and we have the opportunity before us to move forward. In fact, the word “Haran” in Hebrew means “crossroads”. Like Abram, God has promised us great blessings for obedience, but we have to first leave places of comfort in order to experience those blessings.
We are always at a fork in the road with our relationship to God, needing to decide – do we trust God with our next step, or is this the step where we say “I know best on this one?” We are Abram at Haran, God’s disciple standing at a crossroad with a decision to make.