When we begin to dig into this text, we uncover perplexities which, to be solved, would demand far more time than is allotted for this message. Perplexities like: Were these three sons triplets since they are mentioned together or was this simply the biblical writer's way of saying that at the age of 70, Terah began producing sons and he had three in all? And like: If they were not triplets, where was Abram (later Abraham) in the birth order? Was he the oldest since he is mentioned first? Or was he, as is implied in other passages, the youngest son but mentioned first since he was the most important? And like: How did the journey of Terah toward Canaan relate to the call of Abraham to go to the promised land? Did God call Terah first, and then, when he refused, turn to Abraham? Or was God's call to Abraham the driving motive from the beginning?
Debating about these perplexities and suggesting solutions for them would keep serious Bible students busy for hours. I will leave all of that for another time and another setting. Today, I want us instead to catch the simple suggestion of this succinct story and apply its truth to our lives.
Terah traced his lineage back to Noah through Noah's son Shem. Several generations removed and hundreds of years later, Terah was born. When we meet Terah in our text, he was living in the city of Ur with his three sons, Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran died. Some time later, we don't know how much later, Terah took Abram and his wife Sarai and Lot, the son of Haran who had died, and the Bible says "they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan."
We don't know why Terah wanted to leave Ur. It could have been because of a desire to get away from the idolatry which permeated the city of Ur for Ur was a center of moon worship. It could have been that he left over his grief for Haran. It could have been that God called him to go. We don't know.
What we do know is that Terah never made it to Canaan. He wanted to go. He started in that direction. But the Bible says, in Genesis 11:31
, "But when they came to Haran, they settled there." The Hebrew word for "settled" means "to sit down." Terah put his roots down in Haran, and there, according to Genesis 11:32
, Terah died.
However you interpret the perplexities raised earlier, the simple suggestion of this story is that Terah had a dream to make it to Canaan but the dream died with him in Haran.
That still happens today. Most people, at one time or another, have a dream, a dream of what they want to do or who they want to be or where they want to go. But instead of making it to the Canaan of their dreams, many people die with their dream in Haran.
Why does that happen? Why do our dreams die?
Because of Changes
Sometimes our dreams die because of changes in our lives. We have a dream at one point but then, in the passing of time, we discover it was the wrong dream, so we change our minds. We realize this dream was not in line with our gifts or in line with our God.