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Saturday, October 24, 2015
Today’s Reading | Genesis 12:1–9
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.
I’m from an Air Force family, so this kind of road trip is actually kind of familiar. Abraham (I’m just going to call him Abraham) starts out in Ur of the Chaldeans, in what is now southeastern Iraq. He takes his family and goes northwest along the Euphrates River to Haran, in present-day Turkey near the Syrian border.
Anyway, God appears to him and says, “Get moving.” And he heads south into Canaan. God says, “I will give your descendants this land,” and Abraham says, “Great!” He builds an altar and keeps moving, just like that—he moves on, pitches his tent, builds an altar, and keeps moving south, through Canaan toward the Negev and eventually on into Egypt.
It’s a roundabout route. It’s as if the Joad family left the Dust Bowl, went north to Canada, then west, heading to California via Seattle, then not stopping in California but heading on down to Mexico.
I imagine that Abraham was hearing a lot of “Are we there yet?” I can imagine Sarah thinking, “Canaan, isn’t that our exit? Weren’t we supposed to turn off here?” But it’s really noteworthy that Abraham doesn’t stop once he hears God say his descendants would get the land. He doesn’t sit down and say, “OK, God, do your thing.” He keeps pitching his tents, building his altars, and moving on.
Psalm 27 says, “Wait for the Lord,” but this waiting is always active—it is patient perseverance in living the lives that God has given us. God knows where we are going to wind up. Our job is to be active, to stay on the road, to keep moving ahead. Faith is never passive—It requires constant expression in the action of our lives.
We’ll get there when we get there.
Lord, remind me that I am to wait while moving. Help me patiently to do your work, to build your altars, and to persevere in my journey to the place you have provided. Amen.
Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts
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