“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.”Genesis 12:4
We’re all familiar with the expression “actions speak louder than words.” However, even then some actions speak louder than other actions, and Abraham’s were no exception. There are at least two events in the life of Abraham that I believe took great courage on his part and are examples for us to remember in our own lives today. One is more well-known, and rightfully so, but there was at least a second, earlier action that we can easily miss when reading Genesis.
Late into his life, at age 100, Abraham was blessed by God with a son named Isaac. This son was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations through Isaac. Even then, while Isaac was still a young boy, God commanded Abraham to take his son to Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering.
The next morning, Abraham began the three-day journey to Moriah with his servants, his provisions, and his son. Once there, Abraham took his son, built the altar, and bound him. Abraham pulled out his knife and raised his arm for that fateful blow to Isaac when an Angel of the Lord instructed him to stop.
This series of events from beginning to end took great courage to follow God’s command each literal step of the way and offer his son as a burnt offering without hesitation or questioning. However, in order for Abraham to be able to make his way to Moriah for this action, he had to follow God’s plan and demonstrate his courage and faithfulness another way.
After Abraham’s father died in Harran, God told Abraham, at 75 years old, to take all his possessions and leave his country and people for an unknown land. This was after Abraham, his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot, and his father Terah had already left Ur of the Chaldees for Canaan, but settled in Harran instead.
Abraham was being told to leave his comfortable and familiar lifestyle in Harran and trade it for a nomadic one full of uncertainty. Abraham could have reasoned the timing and circumstances weren’t right or that Abraham already had his own plans for his life in Harran. Instead, the Bible says that Abraham obeyed and again went just as the Lord had told him.
It was not explicitly clear to Abraham at the time why God was telling him to leave Harran for Canaan. But the Bible tells of the many promises and outcomes that God shared with Abraham that would result from his faithfulness, obedience, and courage, including being the father of many nations.
Through these actions, Abraham demonstrates the courage I pray to have: courage to sacrifice my wants and desires for God’s and the courage to follow God into the unknown while trusting in His divine plans.