Now [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. -Genesis 12:1 AMPC
I don’t know about you, but these seem like some pretty clear directions. In verse one of chapter twelve, God spoke to Abram (later to be renamed Abraham) and gave him 4 directives:
- Go away from your country
- Go away from your relatives
- Go away from your father’s house
- Go to the land I will show you
We read three things Abram was to go away from, and one thing he was to go to. Not only was he given these clear directives but he was also told what would happen if he followed them. Verse 2-3 is filled with great promises of blessing, abundance, protection, and more.
Despite the clear directives (leave country, leave relatives, leave father’s house) we read in verse 4: So Abram departed, as the Lord had directed him; and Lot [his nephew] went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Wait. What? And Lot his nephew went with him? Is it just me, or isn’t a nephew considered a relative?
This account has puzzled me for years. It puzzles me because verse 4 says that Abram departed as God had directed him, yet we also read that his nephew (relative) went with him. In my understanding those two statements contradict each other. God said no relatives. Yet Lot went with him…
I have always assumed the Abram told Lot to come with him. Lot’s father had died and perhaps Abram felt a certain responsibility towards him. Maybe he felt sorry for him leaving him behind, even though there were still many relatives remaining in Abram’s father’s house.
This morning I saw this account play out differently. I see it going down something like this:
Abram is packing up his wife, servants, and possessions to follow God’s directives. Lot comes up to him and says “Uncle Abram, I would like to come with you.” Abram says, “I am sorry Lot but God made it clear that I am to leave my country, my relatives, and my fathers house.”
Lot replied with “Did God really say you are to leave all your relatives?”
There entered the snake of doubt, compromise, and questioning of what Abram knew the Lord had spoken to him!
I don’t believe that Abram actually gave Lot permission to come along. I think Lot packed up his stuff and followed him, and Abram failed to stand his ground. I see Abram saying to himself “What can I do if Lot follows me? I am doing what God told me to do. I can’t help it if others follow. Besides, would God really have me leave my nephew behind? Surely I should watch over my brothers son…”
I am convinced it went down something like that because I see it going down like that in my life, and in the lives of others. We get clear directives from the Lord. We grab hold of it with excitement and “pack our things” in preparation to move forward, and then it comes. The snake. It comes through our thoughts. It comes through another person. It comes in the form of “Did God really say…”
It says in today’s verse that it was to Abram’s advantage that he leave his country, his relatives, and his fathers house. God was giving him the clearest, cleanest, fastest way to his promise. However, just like us, Abram responded in partial obedience by failing to hold his ground when the snake came. If you read the accounts of Lot you will see that he caused Abram much time and trouble and took him off course more than once.
BUT God is GOOD! All the time! In God’s goodness he continued to bless Abram and even though Abram lost some time in battles that were never intended for him to fight, the Lord fulfilled EVERY promise He made to Abram that day when he told him to leave his country.
I find comfort in that because like Abram, I have often answered God’s directives with partial obedience. I have listened to the snake of doubt, fear, unbelief, compromise, and more as I entertained the “Did God really say…” thoughts from myself and others. I have held on to stuff (feelings, people, hurts, actual things, and more) when God has clearly told me to let go of, and move away from them, so I could move forward into the place he has prepared for me. Thank you Jesus that you promise to bring us back to the proper path for our life when we go astray! (Psalm 25:8)
My question for you today is this: Are there any areas of your life that you are living in partial obedience to God’s written or spoken Word for your life?
If there is, simply ask the Lord for forgiveness and ask Him to place you back on the proper path for your life. He will answer the cry of a willing and surrendered heart. He will never ever leave us off course if we ask Him to bring us back! We simply need to admit we listened to the snake and we need help from our Father God, who is a good good Father!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being a good, good Father. Thank you for your mercy and grace that endure forever. WE come to you today Lord asking for your wisdom and direction. Holy Spirit reveal to us any areas of our lives that we are living in partial obedience to your written or spoken Word. Remove the blinders of doubt, fear, compromise, and every other thing that the snake has brought into our lives. Forgive our partial obedience and set us back on the proper path for our lives so we can do the good works you have created us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Moving forward in full obedience,