“So Lot chose for himself all he valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other.”
God’s initial request of Abram was to A) “Go forth from your country,” B) “and from your relatives and” C) “from your father’s house…” (Gen. 12:1) Thought his may seem a somewhat redundant request by God, I believe God is asking Abram three separate things, which until now were not fully completed.
Obviously when Abram left Haran, he was fulfilling the first part of the request go to forth from his country. And though he left some of his relatives too, his nephew Lot was tagging along the entire time. Abram may have felt an obligation to take care of Lot since Lot’s father died untimely and Abram adopted him. However I have to guess that at this point Lot would have been 40-45 years old or so – not a child anymore. And so Abram, knowing that Lot now has material provision, was willing to let him go on his way. So until Lot left, Abram did not completely fulfill what God had requested – to go forth from his relatives.
So we are asking ourselves, when did he complete the third part, to go forth from his father’s house? It would be easy to assume that happened when he left Haran, where his father was. And in a sense this is true. However because God chooses to stop and re-affirm his promise, in great and glorious detail to Abram as soon as Lot leaves, I get the sense that complete fulfillment finally took place. The text reads “The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him…” (Gen. 13:14) And because God does not waste words, I cannot simply think that “going forth from his country” and “his father’s house” were one and the same request that could be completed with one act.
So what else has happened in the narrative thus far where Abram could have completed another request of God? Abram went to Egypt. As we see in Exodus with the Israelites, Egypt is a place of bondage that is hostile to the one true God. Egypt is used as a representation, the epitome of worldliness and humanism. Later, a concept which is put forth in the New Testament writings is that Satan wields control over the world system, and that Satan is like a father to those who do things the worldly way. Jesus at one point rebukes some Pharisees, telling them “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23) and further tells them “Why do you not understand what I am saying? it is because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.” (John 8:43-44) And so Jesus makes a spiritual point about those following the world and doing the deeds of the devil as if he was their father.
I say all that to say that the “father’s house” that God asked Abram to leave was a spiritual request. God was asking Abram not to succumb to the ways of the world. And Abram proved this to God twice: He let Lot take the better land for one. And though he went to Egypt, he left unscathed after, presumably, quite a short stay. So walking away from Egypt was a picture of Abram leaving ‘his father’s house’. The world is, in a sense, the father to all of us; not only were we made from the earth physically, but this world is all we know and see in the natural sense; we experience it with our fives senses in a way that we cannot experience God with. And so the world is our father by default until we decide to do our Maker’s Will.