Bread on the Waters: Pilgrim

Written by Pastor John Hayward

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Genesis 11:31-32

Abraham's father Terah had every intention to reach the land of Canaan when he left his home and native civilisation of Ur in Mesopotamia. However, on the way he stopped off at Haran, settled down there, and eventually died there.

Terah's journey is representative of many through the ages, who have started out on a journey of faith, yet after a while settled down for something other than the Lord's desired end for them. Terah's life is a lesson to all who would receive instruction on the importance of endurance in the faith.

Firstly, Terah came out Ur of the Chaldees, a place of idolatry which in type represents the world. However, on the way, Terah and his family stopped off at a place called Haran, and they dwelt there. In other words, they settled down and never moved on from there to possess the land.

The significance of this detail in the Word becomes evident when we discover what the names of Terah and Haran mean. In the West, we often choose names because we like the sound of them, but in Scripture they were often given for prophetic significance and purpose.

Terah means 'to delay', and Haran means 'dryness'. The lesson then becomes clear. If we delay to move on with the Lord, there is a dryness that will come into our Christian life and experience. When we speak of moving on, we are not necessarily referring to a change of location, but spiritually speaking, allowing the Lord to take us on to higher ground with Himself.

We must remember that we are on a journey, we do not belong down here. We are sojourners, passing through. If we settle down in Haran and become satisfied with this present age, dryness will come in; that which rots and decays. Our sense of purpose and direction will be lost, and we will become bound to routine and lifeless living.

Let us shake off any delay in our hearts to move on with the Lord and any slothful attitude of heart. Especially as we see this present age drawing to a close. Let us take the exaltation of Paul the Apostle: 'And that knowing the time, that it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.' (Romans 13:11).

Let us briefly consider another example in the Word of God concerning the importance of moving on with the Lord. In the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord says to Moses: "The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying, 'Ye have dwelt long enough at this Mount: Turn you, and take your journey...'" (Deuteronomy 1:6).

Like Haran, the name Horeb also means dryness. When the Lord calls us forward, let us 'take our journey' and move on with the living God. He has called us unto a glorious end, not only a wonderful start. We are not only called out of Ur, but called unto the Promised Land!

We must never allow Haran to win our hearts. By the grace of the Lord, let us ever set our affection on the things above, where Christ is, the One who is our very life! Let us press on, holding before us our glorious hope, that when Christ returns, we will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:2). Hallelujah!

He who would valiant be 'gainst all disaster
Let him in constancy follow the Master
There's no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound - his strength the more is
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit
We know we at the end, shall life inherit
Then fancies flee away! I'll fear not what men say
I'll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

John Bunyan