Summary: Contrast Terah the father of Abraham and his incomplete journey with the inspiring faith and obedience of Abraham.
THE TEMPTATION OF TERAH
Resolutions are made and broken. Diets are begun and ended. Home improvement projects lie around our houses half completed. Beginning with enthusiasm is not enough. Planning a journey, loading the van, the buzz of excitement is not fulfillment. One wise man said, "when everything is said and done, there is a whole lot more said than done." The temptation of Terah surrounds everything we do. However, critical mass is reached when the temptation of Terah engulfs our spiritual obedience, our journey of faith from God.
We have all studied the inspiring obedience of Terah’s son, Abram. We have admired his faith as he set out to find a city he could not see, believing for a son he could not hold, trusting for a miracle that could not be conceived. Yet the antithesis of Abram’s pursuit of God’s promise, spanning more than two decades without physical evidence, is seen in his father Terah. While Abram walked by faith and not by sight, Terah camped in fear and satisfaction.
Yet a generation of Laodicean lukewarmness is convicted when passion that defies complacency and evidence moves as quickly as God’s glory lifts and keeps a lifestyle of loose tent pegs as it pursues the high call. Stopped by neither prosperity nor persecution, neither blessing nor barrenness, neither temptation nor time, Abram pursued a promise until he became a different pursuer (Abraham, renamed by God and justified by faith). Let us be care to study and learn from the temptation that tantalized Terah and his all-too-different son Abram, apprehended by sovereignty, accepting the call, forsaking all, and exemplied in Hebrews 11 with faith that is not small.
I. Fear can cause you to camp out in Haran
A. Gen 12:6 "The Canaanite was in the land" -- I don’t know who this dude was but he must have been one intimidator to deserve this special mentioning
B. Mentality goes something like "At least I’m not back in idolatrous Ur. Haran is not so bad, besides God would have me use wisdom to avoid ’The Canaanite’"
C. Fear paralyzes. It is all about perception. They thought this "the canaanite" dude was a force to be reckoned with. We now don’t even know his name but realize the faith of Abram was the true force to be reckoned with.
II. Sorrow can cause you to camp out in Haran
A. Haran died. Now powerful Terah has had this memorial for Haran.
B. Mentality goes something like "I left out of Ur for you God, and this is what I get -- my son dies? Or this place so reminded him of the son he lost back in Ur that he could not abandon his son’s memory."
C. Prov 17:22 "Merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
D. Our task is not to understand God, appreciate God, explain God. It is to obey God and to love God -- "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."
III. Satisfaction can cause you to camp in Haran
A. Maybe it was the barrenness of Sarah’s womb that drove Abram to a mentality of desperation to pursue a promise.
B. Maybe it was the fullness of Terah’s home, that made him content with partial obedience.
C. Realize you can’t be content being called out from Ur. Your salvation is only half fulfilled when you are called out of the world.
D. God has not only saved you from the world, but to His glory. Abram was not content growing in a household that only birthed the minimum of salvation by separation from idols. He had forsaken the world, now he must pursue another world.
IV. God’s plan will always be pursued beyond your years
A. Abram pursued a city he would never see
B. David desired to build a temple he was not permitted to build
C. Paul desired to journey to Spain & preach the gospel
D. God will always give you a mandate greater than you can fulfill
E. If it is something you can accomplish in your lifetime, it is your goal and satisfaction will leave you complacent in Haran
V. God’s call to a new generation
A. Get out of thy country -- leave the culture, language, religion you are familiar with.
B. Get out from thy kindred -- leave every relationship that would entangle you or remind you of your life before this call
C. Get out from thy father’s house -- forsake the wealth bequeathed you by your inherited complacency. Forsake everything but cleave to this call. Embrace only this word. Forgetting those things which are behind, I press on to the mark of the high call of God that is in Christ Jesus.
D. To a land I will show you. God did not even tell him about the land. Whether the land was good or barren, hot or cold, north or south. The promised was veiled as a future promise of another revelation. As if to say, you are not ready to see it until you prepare yourself through obedience.