From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. - Genesis 13:2 NIV
Sometimes after a long journey with God as we live out our calling we must return to the place from where we have come and seek His face again. The reasons for this are varied. We may be weary. We may be facing obstacles. We may sense that we need to change direction. We may just need a little encouragement that what we are doing is still what God wants from us. Whatever the reason, whether we are seeking God's face for a new direction or for renewed energy on our current trek, the fact remains that when we ask God for help, he will give it. If we heed God's advice we will find ourselves encouraged anew and revitalized to tackle the challenges ahead.
I wonder what compelled Abram to return to that place near Bethel where he had built his first altar to God. He had been on a long journey from Haran to Bethel to the Negev to Egypt and then back again to Bethel. He had yet to settle in the promised land but had still managed to accumulate wealth along the way. Perhaps he sensed he was off track in his pursuit of God's original mandate to him. I'm also wondering if in this latest meeting with God, God didn't remind Abram of his original instruction to leave his people and his father's household. After meeting with God, we do see from the text of Genesis 13 that Abram parted company with Lot (a relative), who had been traveling with him since he left Haran. Once Abram shed this "load", God spoke again to Abram and reminded him of the original plan he had for him:
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)
Abram lifted up his eyes and looked at the vision God had planned for him. He took his eyes off of himself and his current situation and focused on the future. He took in the sights, the sounds, and the smells of what the future held. We must do the same if we are to continue steadfastly in God's purpose for our lives. Has God given you a dream for a future in His service? What does that look like to you? Lay hold of it and start today to make that dream become reality. God is waiting to join you. Won't you join Him?
Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them. For more information, visit her at www.purposefulpartnerships.com.