Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”
We now read the direct command God gave Abraham to leave his homeland. Note that this is the command that resulted in what we read in Genesis 11:31. The command was given to Abraham at Ur of the Chaldeans and resulted in Abraham’s household (including his father, nephew and wife) leaving Ur and traveling north to Haran en route to the land of Canaan.
The city of Haran was a natural stopping point. The name Haran means “crossroads.” (New Bible Dictionary, p. 453). It gained this name because it was a major trading city that was located at the crossroads of three major regions—Syria (to the southwest), Assyria (to the east) and Mesopotamia (to the southeast). Haran would have been a bustling metropolitan center with many cultures and religions represented.
This verse introduces a promise that God would make to Abraham that was dependent on Abraham faithfully obeying this simple command—to leave his homeland and go to the land where God would lead him.
The book of Hebrews shows that God was testing Abraham on two key elements of his character: faith and obedience. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
The test was—would Abraham have the faith necessary to trust a God he had never seen and leave the only place he had ever known to go to a place he had never seen? Essentially, Abraham had to decide whether he would trust and rely on what he could see with his eyes or what he could not see.
The Bible reveals that this is the core of what true faith is all about. Faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This required Abraham to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
This is one of the major reasons Abraham is called “the father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11). His life is a model for Christians today to follow. Just as Abraham believed and obeyed God through faith, today Christians are called to follow a God they have never seen and to move toward a Kingdom they have never experienced (Hebrews 11:6). Christians today do not receive an audible command from God; they are expected to follow His direction in the Word of God—the Bible (Matthew 4:4).
The question is, will we faithfully continue to walk by faith instead of sight by following God and seeking His Kingdom our entire lives, or will we revert to walking by sight instead of faith?
To learn more of the lessons of Abraham’s faith, read “The Faith of Abraham.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Get Out of Your Country, Part 2.”