The Land of Beginning Again
“I wish that there were some wonderful place
In the Land of Beginning Again.
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
and never put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be there at the gates
like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.
We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late,
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.
It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again,
And the ones we misjudged
and the ones whom we grudged
their moments of victory here,
Would find in the grasp of our loving hand-clasp
More than penitent lips could explain…
So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.”
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.”
There are at least three significant days in the life of any Christian. There is the day of one’s birth. There is the day of Divine visitation resulting in the salvation of the soul. There is the day of one’s death when the soul is graduated into glory. A long time ago, about the year 2161 BC, the Spirit of the Living God moved in the land of Babylon. The Spirit of the Lord came to rest on a man living in the city of Ur. A secret, sovereign, regenerating work of grace took place in the soul of the man named Abram, and he was forever changed.
No longer was Abram comfortable when his father, Nahor, worshipped the moon god, Sin (Nannar), or his consort, Ningal, the queen of heaven. No longer did the man in the ancient metropolitan city enjoy watching individuals climb the steps of a great ziggurat to offer sacrifices to idols they believed resided in the heavens. Abram was changed by the power of the living Lord. Now he knew. The gods and goddess created by the vain imagination of men did not truly reflect the one and only great God of glory. The God of the universe had revealed Himself. He had spoken personally to Abram.
What God wanted Abram to do was to leave Ur of the Chaldees and move. Time passed, and Abram delayed. Whatever Abram’s rationale was for this act of disobedience is not given. What the text says is that the Divine summons came yet a second time. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram.” This time Abram did not delay and thereby disobey. This time Abram listened to the voice of God.
A practical question arises. “Does the will of God come to individuals today?” “If so, how does God speak?” The Bible teaches that in times past, God has spoken to individual through dreams, as He did with Joseph.
God has spoken by an audible voice, as He did with Moses at the burning bush. God has spoken by visions, as He did with Ezekiel who saw a valley of dry bones come to life. God has spoken by the prophetic voice, as His word came to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and others.
The Bible says that in these last days God has spoken to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:2).
And, just to be clear, the last days began more than 2000 years ago. When people ask, “Are we living in the last days”, the Biblical answer is, “Yes, we are living in the last days, and have been living in them for 2,000 years.” Understanding this will calm people’s spirits from the doomsday sensationalism of religious charlatans who are always trying to scare people by talking of blood moons and other apocalyptic events. A.W. Tozer is right when he taught that God still speaks to the person who cares. For those who listen to the Lord, through His Word, and by His Spirit, life is transformed, and movement is made towards a new beginning.
“For each of us who have traveled the road,
Of sorrow, misfortune, and sin,
There’s a wonderful place of courage and hope,
Called the Land of Beginning Again.”
Abram was invited, indeed, he was commanded to go to the Land of Beginning Again. However, it is not easy to go to a new and unfamiliar place for there is a separation that must take place. Abram was told to leave the country of his nativity. He was to surrender to God His geographical security. Anyone who has ever moved can appreciate the traumatic experience that can be. As humans, we become attached to physical surroundings and familiar settings. We might come to enjoy the climate in a particular place, or the beauty of the changing seasons. The physical landscape becomes picturesque to us and we want to linger. “Abram, I want you to leave your country, and the place of your geographical security.” And Abram said, “Yes, Lord. I will leave.”
Second, Abram was instructed to depart from his kindred, and therefore to depart from his social security. People who live together for a long time as neighbors tend to find a community spirit of bonding. Neighbors, if they are the right sort, tend to look out after the interest of one another. Hearts are united. Nevertheless, one day God said, “Abram, I want you to leave your kindred and the security of your social life.” And Abram said, “Yes, Lord, I will leave my social security net.”
Third, Abram was instructed to leave even his own personal security for the command was given to leave, “thy Father’s house.” And Abram said, “I will leave my father’s house.”
Observe the progression of the Divine demands. There is always one separation after another until there is a total cleavage with the familiar, and the only thing left is absolute faith in God. When the late southern evangelist, Bill Rice (1912 – 1978), was studying for the ministry, he and his wife knew many heartaches and trials. A student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Bill and his wife endured long hours of work, study, and separation. Then their little girl was born. But before long little Betty Ann became sick with meningitis. Due to the illness, she lost her hearing. And so it went. One trial after another came to Bill and his wife and the children. They were temporarily impoverished, and they were living from hand to mouth. But it was from God’s hand to their mouths, and that is faith.
The world says such faith is foolish. The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Abram pleased God. He left his geographical security. He left his social security. Abram left his personal security to do what he knew was right. While it is often difficult to leave the physical security for a spiritual reality, God will honor those who dare to honor Him. Abram dared to trust God, and so he went forth, with his family, to the Land of Beginning Again, clothed in hope.
“Their hope, like a cloak that wraps us around,
Make stronger our purpose to win,
And love, and truth, and faith are easily found,
In this Land of Beginning Again.”
The word hope is a beautiful, Biblical word. It has to do with the unseen, and the future. The apostle Paul explains. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:24, 25). Hope describes the happy anticipation of something which is good, such as eternal life. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). The foundation of all hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Abram had hope as he looked towards the Land of New Beginning.
Mingled with hope is love, truth, and faith. All spiritual reality falls apart in the absence of love, truth, and faith. These three concepts are so entwined with hope, and with each other that, to reduce the significance of one, is to reduce the significant of all. In the Divine economy it was not enough for Abram to have love for God, and knowledge of the truth, without obedient faith.
It would not have been enough for Abram to have had obedient faith, while resenting the demands of God upon His life. Any combination that excludes even one component of Christian conduct makes the other components weak and tarnished. It has been my experience that people will do much, and travel far, to find love, truth, and faith. And the search continues for the Land of New Beginnings.
The Bible says that the day came when Abram started to move towards the Land of New Beginning. A. W. Pink wrote, “The Abraham Ranch was a beehive of activity. Herds were being rounded up for the long march toward Canaan. His 800 men servants and their families were busily engaged in packing the possessions they could carry with them on the long journey. Lovely Sarah worked excitedly from morning until night. Household goods were strapped on the backs of camels and donkeys for the long trip. At last the great day of departure arrived. Abraham and Sarah took one last look at the home they loved so well before leaving it.” But then they looked into the future and were off for the Land of Beginning Again
“No grudge in our heart, no malice, no strife,
No words that are ever unkind,
But a smile, and a laugh, and a loving hand clasp
In the Land of Beginning we find.”
Observe from the text several principles by way of application.
First, people of faith need never travel alone. Just as Abram was willing to believe God, so were others. God has a people which no man can number. While it seems that individuals stand alone, there is always a remnant according to grace. Elijah learned this and so must we. First one person and then another appears. The army of God grows stronger. The company of believers gather not only in numbers, but also in strength. The greater the number of righteous people, the greater strength of godly influence will be felt.
Second, the greater the number of righteousness, the greater the joy and laughter there will be in society. In the company of saints who are in love with the Lord, there is always joy. Of course His Spirit can be grieved. But when God’s people come together, when they are right with the Lord in their personal lives, there is delight in their souls. The important truth is that a Christian must never lose sight of the fact that God has called His people to enjoy a new adventure. That is why Christians are called pilgrims. No one is too old to join the journey of faith. Abram was 75 years of age. when he began his journey with God to a Land of New Beginning. Age is no barrier to faith, love, and truth.
As Abram and his family entered the Land of Promise there were conflicts and concerns to be dealt with. That will always be true, until there is a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. God was with Abram and his family, and so there was a measure of humble confidence that what God had authorized He would sustain by the power of His might.
Spiritual Lessons to Learn
First, the call of God upon one’s life is often resisted. We read in Genesis 12:1, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram.” The implication is that the Lord called to Abram, and called again. The God of heaven has been lovingly called, “The Hound of Heaven”, for He pursues individuals with irresistible cords of love to draw souls to Himself.
Second, the Lord calls us where we are, in our trespasses and sin. The sin of Abram is reflected in his name which means, “high father”. Abram was a product of his society and engaged in the worship of false gods. This is not a slanderous report, but the testimony of Scripture. “And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods” (Joshua 24:2). Nevertheless, where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. We must never forget how the Lord has delivered us from the muck and mire sin and set us on higher ground.
Third, when the Lord calls a person, He changes that individual. The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). The Lord changed Abram. He changed his name from Abram to Abraham “father of multitudes.” From being an idol worshipper, Abraham became the “Father of the Faithful”.
The Lord changed Abraham’s direction. From Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham was directed to go to a Land of Promise because God had a geographical will for His life. The Lord changed Abraham’s attitude. The Lord promised to bless Abraham. When God is believed, it will change a person’s attitude.
The Lord has promised to bless all those who call upon the name of the Lord with life, and that more abundantly in time, and eternal life to come. Let the heart say, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” Let the heart say in gospel obedience, “I too will go to the Land of Beginning Again”.