NOT OBEYING GOD’S CALLING RIGHT AWAY
Why did God need to appear to Abraham twice and call him twice? Why did God need to repeat His calling? As far as God was concerned, there was no need for Him to repeat His calling. It was Abraham who needed the repetition. There is hardly one who has experienced God’s calling just once and then immediately crossed the river. No one among us has ever answered God’s calling without dragging his feet through mud and water. Hardly anyone has ever given a clean-cut answer to God’s calling. You may say, “What about Peter and John when they were called by the Lord by the Sea of Galilee? The Lord called them, and they followed Him immediately.” If you read other portions of the Word, you will see that even these disciples were dragging their feet. It is difficult to have a clean-cut answer to God’s calling. We always drag our feet through mud and water. Our relatives might be the mud and we ourselves might be the water. Although you might have received the calling from God, you allow your relatives to be the mud through which you drag your feet. And you yourself are the water, the dirty and black water. You drag your feet through this mud and water.
While Abraham was living at Ur, the God of glory suddenly appeared to him. This appearing brought in light. (The name Ur means light.) In a demonic land, a land full of demons (Chaldea means demonic), the God of glory appeared and brought in light. This is very meaningful. Whenever God comes to call a man, there is always light. While Saul of Tarsus was on the way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, a light from heaven shone upon him (Acts 9:1-3). At that moment, Saul was at Ur. He was under the light. When you were called, you also were under the light. You saw that your place, your environment and surroundings, was not the right place for you to stay any longer. You were called at Ur, the place of light.
TAKEN TO HARAN BY HIS FATHER AFTER HIS BROTHER’S DEATH
I believe that Abraham received God’s calling when he was young. He might have told his father, Terah, and his relatives how God had appeared to him and had told him to get out of his country and his kindred. Abraham probably did not have the boldness to do this himself. In 11:28 we are told that “Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.” Haran might have been Abraham’s older brother and he might have opposed God’s calling to Abraham. It might have been that God waited a certain period of time. When Abraham still did not take any action, God took away Haran, the opposing one. Haran might have been Terah’s eldest son. The eldest son’s death might have been a warning to the father not to tarry any longer. The name Terah means to tarry, to delay, or to be laggard. Terah took the whole family, went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, and dwelt in Haran (11:31; Acts 7:4a). It was not Abraham who took the initiative to leave Ur; it was his father.
Terah and his family might have traveled northward along the side of the river Euphrates. Eventually, after a journey of at least five hundred miles, they came to Haran. According to the ancient method of travel, it must have taken over half a month to travel from Ur to Haran. But although they made such a long journey, they never crossed the river as God wanted them to. How many years have you been dragging along the side of the river without crossing it? You may say, “Praise the Lord that I am no longer in Ur.” Right, you are not in Ur, but you are still on the other side of the river. Even in the church life you have been journeying along the riverside without crossing the river. Many of you have journeyed northward but are still on the other side. But even this journey northward was caused by God’s doing.
At Ur there was a person named Haran, and now we see a city with the same name. This means that they left one Haran and came into another. In the eyes of God, both are the same. Whether Haran is a person or a place, it is still Haran. The name Haran means dry. When the elder brother was opposing God’s calling, he must have been dry. Any relative who tries to prevent you from accepting the Lord’s calling is a dry one, and any place that hinders you from answering God’s calling is a dry place. You can never be watered there. In such a place you have the sensation of dryness. Many of us have experienced this.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)