By Dan Luehrs
"Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east. -- "And Jacob said to them, "My brothers, where are you from?" And they said, "We are from Haran" (Genesis 29:1, 4 NASB).
Haran is truly an interesting place. Both Abraham and Jacob lived there, they had to go through it to reach their destiny in God. Exactly how long they stayed there only God knows. But I can assure you that it was for many years as they were there to be freed from the clutches of their past. For that’s what "Haran" prophetically stands for, our past! Rebekah told Jacob to go into her past and stay there until he was safe. “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran” (Genesis 27:43 KJV). She wanted him to go into her past that she was comfortable and familiar with. We must see that we are all like Jacob and on a spiritual journey that must pass through Haran. When Jacob's mother sent him out from their camp she sent him back into her past so that he too could take refuge there and find a wife from that which was familiar to her.
When Jacob was at the well he asked the men; “Where are you from” and they replied, "We are from Haran!" They knew well where they were from and were proud of it because that’s all that they had ever known. They never ventured out from their past. Most of the generations of mankind fall into this same old pattern of life, living out of their past even as their fathers and forefathers had done before them. That's what they had known, that’s all they ever knew… the past! There is so much more of life to be experienced in and through God's will even, though it is not always the easy way. So many people live their lives in the same old town their parents did, in the same old house, attending the same church and even some work in the same factories, trades, and farms. That is the thing to do rather than to paying the price of finding out what God would have them do. Our past can be a place of security, but a road to nowhere in God!
"So while these nations feared the LORD, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day" (2 Kings 17:41 NASB).
For some of us to move on with God He must totally destroy our former lives as we have seen them in our rearview mirror. Even King Hezekiah had to break the old religious relics of Israel’s past so that he could move on with God, and Jesus will do this for us, if we let Him!
"He (the king) removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent (the religious relic’s) that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan" (2 Kings 18:4 NASB). “Nehushtan” means, the copper serpent of the desert.
I have written about “Haran” before, it literally means “roadway.” Haran was to be a resting-place for Abraham and his family along the way to the Promise Land, it was not a place to live and die in! They basically fell asleep in Haran by becoming rich and comfortable with the world and their surroundings. We are also called of God to go out of our own Haran into our Promise Land of the fullness of God; many of our forefathers in the faith have failed to lead us this way. They themselves also died in Haran (the roadway), which is the traditions of man, religion, and the fear of man and failure. (This has stopped many Christians from fulfilling their call of God upon their lives!)
I believe that God wants to do this same thing through many of His people today. But because Christians are afraid and too comfortable, they will not trust Him enough to move on to what He has called them to. They too will simply die on the roadside of life without ever placing a foot in the Promise Land. For us to go on into the fullness of God’s life the key is that we do not quit along the roadside to prosper in the things of the world. For we too could die in Haran instead of traveling on the road to the Promise Land. And this is just what many or even most people have done! All Christians are on a journey to the Celestial City to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. However many of His people have taken their eyes off of Him, and beholding instead the world and its ways of doing things, thus being sidelined in the ditch on the road to life.
“I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land (Haran) at once and go back to your native land (Canaan)” (Genesis 31:13 NIV).
There was nothing left in Haran for Jacob to learn from anymore, for all the lessons of Haran were in the past and gone. He was now a changed man from his dealing with Laban! Do you my friend, have a Laban in your past? I know that I have had a few and I am grateful for every one of them because God has used them to change me! Now Jacob was to move on into the unknown of God’s future, even as his grandfather Abraham did when he first moved from Haran to the Land of Canaan. It’s always difficult and often quite painful to make a move from a comfortable, secure lifestyle to a life of the unknown. But if God is dealing with us and leading the way that is all we should ever need. He has exciting plans for us and only for our good! He has something more for us to learn of Him. We should never fear the past or the future if we are certain that God is leading the way for us. One verse that has always been a great comfort for me is Jeremiah 29:11.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Yes, God has a plan and a future for you my friend! I can remember the very first job that I was laid off from. I was so concerned about our future and how we were going to make it. When I came home that day after receiving my pink slip, I got the mail and I received a letter from CBN. In it Pat Robertson wrote Jeremiah 29:11 and I knew it was God speaking to me that everything was going to work out after His will and pattern for our lives. When great traumatic events happen in our lives it is not to harm us but to help us become more stable in our relationship with God and with His ways.
I can remember when I was shaken to the core when I left my UPS job and left for Bible College. It didn’t work out as I thought it should and I had to move back to my hometown. I saw no future before me. Everything in me was so shaken that I didn’t know if I could even make it another week or even a day. God told me in the midst of it that He was causing all that was in my head about Him and His word to go into my heart. The ONLY way for this to take place was for me to suffer hardships and go through trials and tribulations with Him. "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand" (2 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV).
God’s dealings in our life will shake us to the core, but out of these He has promised us a sure foundation that cannot be shaken by anything or anyone. That is, His kingdom being established in our lives through truth and not the lies of the flesh, man, or devils. God is removing all that is not of Him, shaking it out of us through our trials. Hallelujah! (We must rejoice in this because this will free us up to be more like Him!) The price of freedom has always been high, yet someone must pay the price. Why not us? The rewards far outweigh the cost!
"Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26, 27 KJV).
Be encouraged, remain strong and steadfast in your faith my friend. Trust God to remove the things that can be shaken from your past life in Haran as He leads you into the Promised Land… the fullness of Him!