And he [Abram] journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD. – Genesis 13:3-4
Don’t get me wrong, I love being at new and exciting places, but the process of actually getting there is what I could do without. Plane delays, sleep deprivation, and lugging baggage around aren’t on my list of “fun ways to spend my day” and traveling usually entails all these inconveniences.
However, my dislike for traveling would grow even further if I felt like all I was doing was going in circles, if in order to get to the place I was going, I had to come back to the place I had just left.
This is what happened to Abram, later to be called Abraham. As those familiar with the story know, God had called Abram on a journey promising to bring him to a land where his promised many descendants would have everything they need. Abram left everything that was familiar in order to embark on this journey. And yet once he set out, God brought him back to a place he had already been.
Could you imagine being a part of his traveling party?
You: Abram, haven’t we already been here?
You: What are we doing back here?
Abram: I’m not sure, but this is where God led me.
That same feeling of uncertainty, and perhaps despair, are still felt by us today.
We believe God’s called us to something and yet we keep coming back to the place we’ve already been.
We’ve started out on our journey, yet don’t seem to be making progress.
We want to get to the destination, but God calls us to stop along the way.
And just like Abram, we may not know the reasons for these “delays;” we may not understand why we must leave what is known for an uncertain and seemingly futile journey.
However, if you look at the passage carefully, you’ll see that the place where God brought him, is the place where he had built an altar. God brought him to a place where there was a lasting memorial to what God had promised and how God had worked in Abram’s life. He brought him to a place that pointed Abram back to Him.
And so He does with us. He brings us to the place where He’s demonstrated His faithfulness, and shows us that we can trust Him, because He’s already proven His provision time and time again.
And then we are equipped for the rest of the journey. Our assurance in our God secure, we can continue to the place where He’s bringing us; to the place where He longs for us to be.