Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there.” Genesis 24:6
Dear members and friends,
Life is a journey. Whether we travel the whole world or stay in one place, our life is a process that is heading towards the same end. During this process that is life, we cannot help but change physically and mentally, consciously and unconsciously. In this change, we move toward either to be more mature and spiritual, or more selfish and materialistic. Which way of life would be ultimately more meaningful? The answer might depend on your core values, which might relate to your religious background. However, many sages in both the West and the East seemed to agree that there is a way of life in which you would feel more content and peaceful with yourself and the world around you and conversely, there is a way of life in which you would feel more unsettled and fearful.
In Genesis, Abraham was called by his God to move out of his father’s house and to be an alien in a strange land. In his faithfulness, Abraham trusted his God and thus followed the command. The journey of Abraham symbolizes our spiritual journey. Throughout our life, God is calling us to leave our father’s house and to be a stranger in a strange land. However, when we are finally able to hear this spiritual call and thus obey it, then we might realize that the strange land is indeed the promised land in which we will build our eternal dwelling in unity with God. Of course, it might take a long time until we would be able to truly settle in the new land as it took a thousand years for the Israelites. Yet, the most important lesson from God in Genesis 24 is that we should not go back to where we came from as Abraham emphasized to his servant, “See to it that you do not take my son back there.” Whatever challenge we might face, and however troublesome the journey becomes, we should stay on the journey moving forward by continuously building our spiritual home in the promised land. However, at times there could be great temptation to move back as was the situation of Isaac, whose parents were very old and who was becoming a lonely alien in the strange land. This is why Abraham strongly urged his servant to make a promise to him not to take Isaac back to where he came from.
At times, things and matters might become too hard to bear and carry on. However, the promise of God has always been that when we feel the most burdened by the journey, the end is near.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee