The Call of Abraham to the Promised Land

There have been a number of people whom I have heard exegete Genesis 12.1: “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” I am not so much concerned with Abram’s obedience in this post. Instead, I am concerned with the nearly universal conclusion that Abraham had no idea where he was going. His leaving his country is usually portrayed as Abraham starting out in faith and moving forward that God would show him where he is going. Indeed, if one were take this verse out of context, that is precisely the proper interpretation.

But look at 11.31-32, which says in part: “…and together they set out for UR of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.” And the consider 12.4-6: “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him…he took…all the possessions they had accumulated…in Haran and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”

It is my interpretation that even before 12.1, Abraham knew he would end up in Canaan and that the phrase “go to the land I will show you” is more of an idiom that essentially says: “I want to show you the land that I’ve already told you to go to”. I think leaving on pure faith that is interpreted that Abram had no idea where he was going in 12.1 is incorrect. He knew where God was taking him – as stated in 12.4-6. He “set out” for the land of Canaan. Most will disagree with me. I’m fine with that. It won’t be the first time I’ve been in the minority.

Now, why make such a fuss about all this?

Because, in business, you can’t just hope that you’re moving in the right direction without something certain from the Lord. Most business owners get into business, not because they planned it, but because it just “happens” to them. After a few years, they often realize that they need to refine and hone the mission, vision and purpose of the business in order to ensure they are moving on the right track into the future. Bathed in prayer, all of this can be found in direction from the Lord. But I’ve not met anyone who has said, “God told me to start a business, but He didn’t tell me what that business would be” and then moved to form a business without first knowing what the business would be. Many have long-term ideas as to what they want to do and what their business might look like – just like Abraham had a long-term view that he was headed to Canaan even though he stopped for a number of years in Haran.

God may give you a future vision for a business but allow you to take time doing something else (your stop in Haran) before he definitely calls you to action on owning a business. There is nothing wrong with this. But when the call comes, be sure to obey and move out. He will supply your desire and funding to get your business going. And you’ll find that owning a business will be a journey that will hone your love for the Lord and your ability to work with people.

I really believe that we can change our nation if we could coalesce Christian business owners around a common purpose and theme. I will write my vision statement in my next blog post.

Bill English

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