In our text today, Abram was seventy-five years old. His father had apparently died recently. Years before, his dad uprooted the family and started them on a migration. After a few hundred miles, they stopped in Harran. In modern geography, that’s a walk from south of Baghdad to southern Turkey.
And now God gets Abram moving again.
God’s plan for Abram was to move him to a land of his own, not of his family. God’s plan was to bless Abram, with a sense of purpose, with a hope of relationship to God, with enough generations of kids to be called a nation. God’s plan was to give that same purpose and relationship to others through Abram and his family.
And it was more than a plan. It was a promise.
But at the moment he started out, Abram was not a nation. He and Sarai hadn’t been able to conceive. They were raising Abram’s nephew because his brother had died years before. He had made some money living in this place. He was a somewhat successful shepherd. But he wasn’t a nation.
And at this moment, his only purpose is to leave where he was and go where God sent him. To go away from what and who he knew, supported only with the promise of God. But it was a real promise. Though no one else heard it, he did. Clearly.
I’m guessing that no one much cared that he left Harran. It wasn’t like there was a big sendoff. He and his non-traditional family pulled up stakes (literally) and headed off to the promised land.
And when they arrived, there wasn’t a big party either. When Abram and Sarai and Lot got to Canaan, the land of promise, it was already occupied.
Which may have been disorienting to him. When God sends you some place, when God calls you to do something, when God makes big promises, you kind of expect to see some evidence.
And Abram, as far as we read, didn’t see any evidence. Not at first.