In Genesis 12:1, God called Abraham to “come out of his father’s house.” It is only by reading carefully and understanding the previous chapter and its contextual specific narrative nature that we are able to get the full significance and momentous depth of the call. Genesis 11 reveals to us that Abraham, his father and their entire clan had left Ur in Chaldea for Canaan. Canaan represents, symbolizes and typifies the land of promise, destiny, fulfillment, and the accomplishment of the fullness of blessing God had intended. In fact, it speaks of all God is and wanted to be in their lives—and in ours. The journey was harsh, long and exhausting. They were hit with tragedies, threats and traumatizing experiences. Loved ones passed away, and as they walked through these valleys of grief, the Promised Land seemed far away.
They stopped in a place called Haran, a city located approximately 600 miles west of the Euphrates River in Northern Syria. They had traveled over two thirds of their journey when they stopped there, physically exhausted, but also weary spiritually. The word “Haran” means “a dry place, a place of little fruit.”
Abraham and his father were on their way to Canaan, the place of blessing and fullness. Jesus makes the same promise to us: “I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). It is interesting to consider the Greek word “zoe” that is used when speaking of the life Christ offers and has in mind for us. The word expresses the notion of “being complete, being fulfilled, bearing abundant fruit, true happiness and fulfillment.”
Please understand the correlation. Abraham, his father and family were on a journey to Canaan, but they tragically stopped in the place of little fruit. They should have been pressing forth, moving forward, persevering to fullness and abundance, but they settled for mediocrity.
Faith cries out, “I refuse to die in the place of small fruit! I refuse this small existence with small worship, small sanctification, small change, small transformation and small faith.” I have heard the fierce and passionate cry of men and women, leaders and pastors of every color from many nations declaring, “We refuse to die in Haran!” God calls us to “come out of our father’s house.” That is what He did with Abraham and that is what He is doing with you and me.
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.