Looking for a City

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 12[1]

Sixty years after God addressed Job’s complaints about unjust suffering and the true meaning of love, he appeared to Abram with a remarkable offer.[2] God promised to give Abram citizenship in the city he is building. To obtain the promised rights of a citizen in God’s kingdom Abram must leave Ur of the Chaldees and separate himself from his family.[3]

Separating from everything that is familiar and comfortable is difficult. But God sweetened the deal with a promise to make Abram’s name great, bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. If Abram obeyed, he would be blessed and bless every family on earth.

Abram had a lethargic response to God’s generous offer. He left Ur but not in obedience to God’s instructions. Terah, Abram’s father, moved the family to Haran where Abram remained until his father died fifteen years later. The death of Abram’s human father left a void in his life. He turned his attention to his heavenly father.

When Terah’s flesh died his influence over Abram died. His father initially led the migration out of Ur but stopped at Haran. His death left Abram free to follow the Spirits desires. As the new head of the family Abram must decide to remain in Harah or continue the pursuit of God’s promises. Abram made his first feeble attempt to obey God. “He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan…”[4]

God told Abram to separate from his father’s house. Why did he bring Lot on this journey? Abram left Haran in partial obedience looking for a city built on the wisdom and justice of God. God’s plan to bless all families on earth has begun, but that plan is bigger than one imperfect man struggling to obey him. There are difficult lessons awaiting Abram’s arrival.

[1] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Acts 7:2

[3] Hebrews 11:10

[4] Genesis 12:5

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