THEY WENT FORTH AND THEY CAME Andy Hollifield 1-25-19
Genesis 12:5 “…and they went forth into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. (KJV)
I am sure that I am plagiarizing someone’s thought but I am not sure who I heard read this scripture. After reading the bible as much as I have from childhood on, I am glad God can still teach an old dog new tricks. I have managed to miss that statement and the significance of it all of my life. This verse details the beginning of Abrams sojourning with God. God had called him to leave his homeland and, like us, he had to do something totally on his own. When we do that, it always causes us problems later. It would pay us to be obedient to the Lord.
If you back up to chapter 11 you find that Terah, Abram’s father, had decided to take his family and leave Ur of the Chaldees to go to Canaan. They went as far as Haran and dwelt there and that was where Terah died. Lot’s father Haran, had died before they had ever started the journey toward Canaan. It is likely that after Terah died, there was no one left to take care of Lot except Abram. For whatever reason, apparently Abram’s brother Nahor hadn’t made the trip. After Terah died in Haran, there were still other kindred in Haran, but Abram took Lot with him when he followed God’s command to leave Haran and his kindred and go on to Canaan. Nowhere did God tell Abram to take Lot and you don’t find anywhere that Abram prayed about it. I make mention of that because Lot was a source of great mental anguish to his uncle Abram all of his life. Only 25 years after leaving Haran, Abram was found begging God not to destroy the cities that Lot had fled to. That wasn’t the only grief that Lot caused Abram. His life would have been a lot more simple if he had only done things exactly God’s way.
I didn’t write all of that to bash Abram or Lot but to illustrate a point in a minute. Before Abram had even left Haran, God had already made the promises to him concerning his seed yet to come. With those promises in mind, Abram set out for a land that God had yet to show him. That took a tremendous amount of faith. While there is no doubting Abram’s faith, we must remember he is a man just like we are. He is capable of making mistakes and getting ahead of God and also being blatantly disobedient to the Lords leadership. There was the instance of taking Lot with him, and also later taking Hagar to be his wife and bear him children. There were also a couple of instances when he lied to kings because he was afraid they would kill him so they could take Sarai as their wife. Although Abram was later called “a friend of God,” he still did his share of rebellion and neglect of things pleasing to the Lord. That sounds a lot like us doesn’t it?
The last sentence in verse five is what I want to look at. It says, “They went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” Their whole purpose for leaving Haran was to go into this unknown land; blindly following the Lord. In spite of the times he had already messed up and would be disobedient in the future, God still set him out on a journey. I am sure that Abram had no idea the impact that choice to be obedient to God was going to impact the world. The next part of verse five says this: “And into the land of Canaan they came.” It really is that simple. If God sends you on a journey, regardless of what you have done, you will get where he is sending you.
That about sums it up. God knows all of our tomorrows and our steps. It amazes me that even though he knows where I will fail and come short of his glory and even at times will be his “problem child,” he still loves me like I was his only son, and uses, and blesses me. Like David said in Psalms 139, God knew me before he formed me in the womb and has always known everything about me. There’s nowhere I can go and not be seen by him and nothing I can do that he doesn’t know about before I do it. Knowing all of that, he still lets me be his child. A lot of people spend their lives beating themselves up over their past. God doesn’t ever ask about my past because he is much more concerned with my future. Those folks will never know the joy of being used by God and being blessed by him for being obedient. They will keep themselves beat down but God never will. He is not in the business of beating down but rather in the business of lifting us up. Abraham’s life should encourage you to know that after all he did through disobedience, he was still “a friend of God.” No matter what you might have done or where you might have been; you have never been too wrong or too far away for God to not be able to reach you. He can still make something out of you that he is pleased with. Just like Abraham; in spite of who you have been or where you started out, when God sets you on a journey; rest assured you will get there. “And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!