Summary: Some criticize him for staying in Haran saying that he fell short of the promises of God, distracted by the attraction of wealth. I don’t think he was saying, OK, HE’S DEAD! WHAT HAVE I INHERITED? But he did stay in Haran until his father died.
Part 1 - Genesis 12:1-20 (NASB) - OK, HE’S DEAD. WHAT HAVE I INHERITED?
I understand the upheaval of moving to a different city. Packing endless boxes of books, dismantling beds and throwing out all the junk we have accumulated over time - big job. Then watching a huge truck back into our driveway, and take it all away. We have done all that many times in our lives and more recently when we moved to Sydney from the Whitsundays. But that was just from one state to the next. I can’t imagine moving to a different country. Australia is my home.
I was speaking to an English couple who had moved to Australia recently. They spoke about the trauma of uprooting yourself from your country, your relatives, friends and your home. It extracts a huge chunk of your emotional well-being, which like other household items, has to be packed in a box and left to deal with at the other end of the journey. You’ll deal with it then, but please, not now!
We all know of Abraham and how he moved. Pastor Jack McDonald asked us the other day "WHO KNOWS THE NAME OF ABRAHAM’S FATHER?" I thought it was a trick question at first but only one person seemed to have heard of TERAH.
Terah! That would be a good name for me at present. I always have to play the bad guy with my grandson. He is always the super hero and I am the one he defeats. I need a name like Terah! It just sounds like the name of a bad guy. Either that or a Doris Day song "HEY TERAH, TERAH". What do you mean you don’t know who Doris Day was? Anyway, Terah was Abraham’s father. And by the way, just for the record, Terah didn’t name his son "Abraham" but "Abram".
Terah had another son called HARAN (strange names in the Bible). Haran died while visiting his father in Ur. We don’t know the circumstances, but Terah must have been devastated. It seems to have spurred Terah to leave Ur permanently. Maybe the circumstances of Haran’s death were suspicious and demanded that he leave town with all his family. Haran could have done some bad business deals with the mafia in Ur and ended up dead.
For whatever reason, Terah wanted to get out of town. Did God tell him to go. No! Terah didn’t know God. We know that Ur was a spiritually corrupt city, from Joshua 24:2 (NLT) "Joshua said to the people, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods." But even in Ur God was prompting Abram, Terah’s other son, to go to Canaan (See Acts 7:2-3), so this is probably what spurred Terah on.
For some reason when Terah decided to leave Ur he travelled firstly to his dead son’s town. It seems that Haran had named the town after himself and I can imagine Terah, in his grief, coming to this place. Memories of his son would have been heavy on his heart and perhaps it was this that changed his plans. He decided to stay in Haran. He took over Haran’s house. Maybe he was caring for Haran’s wife and daughter, Iscah. Maybe Haran had extensive property investments. The town was named after him, so he must have been wealthy.
For whatever reason, Terah didn’t continue his journey to Canaan. This was Abram’s destiny, and not his. God didn’t ask Terah to go to Canaan in the first place. Abram, his son, certainly was called by God again to continue on to the land of Canaan while he was in Haran.
When my dad died, I inherited a tap (faucet) collection! Brass taps! I’ve never heard of someone who collects taps. Every shape and variety of brass taps. They were too heavy to put them in my suitcase so I placed them in a carry-on-bag as I went to the airport. My bag was taken through the X-ray machine a number of times, and there was a little commotion as some seriously heavy looking guys in uniforms asked me to open the bag. It occurred to me that taps look very much like guns in a carry-on-bag and I’m sure they expected an arms cache and that I was trying to smuggle illegal weapons to a gang in the Whitsundays. I smiled and explained that my dad had just died and that this was my inheritance. Surprisingly, they let me through with my taps. Not a single weapon was fired on the plane.
Abram had decided to stay in Haran until the time came to bury his father. This meant that the inheritance of Terah’s considerable estate was now his. Abraham was a rich man, (but he didn’t have taps). Some criticize him for staying in Haran saying that he fell short of the promises of God, distracted by the attraction of wealth.