Tarrying with “Terah”
God commanded Abram to pack his bags and take a hike—ok, not exactly in those words (see Genesis 12). Actually, God commanded Abram to leave everything familiar, the land he had probably known most of his life (Ur of Chaldees), and move to a place “that I will show thee”. I mean, God was not being terribly specific here.
But we all know good ole Abram, he was such a righteous man, surely he saddled up and moved on at the first command, right? Well, uh, not exactly. Just a few verses back in Genesis 11 we find that Abram had his own ideas. Instead of dropping everything to follow God into this “unknown” land, he did travel in the direction of Canaan (the unspecified land) but decided to tarry a while in Haran. Not only that, but he took his father, Terah, with him. This was also in direct disobedience to God’s command, which was, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”
I can’t really blame Abram, though. I wouldn’t want to leave my family behind to go on some mystical journey to unknown lands. I probably would have stalled a bit. But the story gets better, folks; Abram’s father’s name was Terah. You know what Terah means? It means “delay”. Maybe Terah was two weeks past his due date when his mother finally gave birth to him? We can’t know for sure why she chose such a name for Terah, but later in the life of Abram it makes too much sense to ignore. Abram was delayed by his elderly father; the same man who was himself named delay.
Eventually Abram got his act together and finished his journey, but only after his father died. “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” Evidently Abram was in Haran quite some time since he obviously had a lot to gather before he left. Nevertheless, he finally did obey.
I can’t help but wonder how many times I have tarried in Haran, with my Terah in tow. How many excuses have I come up with to delay what God has clearly spoken? And once I did finally listen, how many blessings were waiting for me in the land of Canaan? In the end I have found the only thing tarrying with Terah has ever accomplished was to delay God’s greater blessing and purpose in my life.
How about you? Have you been tarrying with Terah? Have you gotten distracted by the sights and sounds of Haran when a greater blessing has awaited you in Canaan? Is it time for you to leave your Ur and head to a land “that [God] will show thee”?