For historical clarity, let’s visit the Tower of Babel event, in which the families of Japheth, Ham, and Shem were dispersed and divided “according to their genealogies, by their nations” (Genesis 10:32). Following that, in the eleventh chapter of Genesis starting with verse 10, the listing of Shem’s descendants begins. In verse 27, we read, “Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abraham, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot” (Genesis 11:27). Eleven generations of Shem followed before Abraham was born in 2166 B.C., and approximately 334 years had passed.
Haran, the middle son of Terah died in Ur, the land of the Chaldeans, but Abraham and Nahor married. Abraham’s wife, Sarai was barren and since Abraham was 75 years old, Sarai most certainly was far beyond childbearing age. Consequently, Abraham had no hope that he would ever have a son. Then in 2091 Terah, Abraham, Sarai, and Nahor’s family moved to Haran.
Now begins the fascinating and true story of Abraham and his remarkable faith.
Prior to living in Haran, God had spoken to Abraham saying:
“Go forth from your country
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house
To the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1)
Oh my… God was asking Abraham to abandon his country, his father, his brother, and the rest of his family without telling him where He wanted him to go. God said, “To the land which I will show you.” That would be like God telling you or me, “Pack your bags, and start walking to the land which I will show you.” Right — so do we go south? What about northeast? We could go directly north. No? Oh, okay, we get it, God. You just want us to start walking and soon you will tell us in what direction.
Through faith and obedience, Abraham began his journey to an unknown place. He was 75 years old. Abraham had already traveled northwest from Ur, his birthplace, to Haran. Nevertheless, he was ready to go again. Sarai and Abraham’s nephew Lot, the son of Nahor, traveled with Abraham. He also took all of their possessions and servants with them. When the time came for them to follow God’s directions, they walked slightly to the south, then west where they crossed the Euphrates River. Then they started going south again, until they reached Canaan. Finally, Abraham had reached the land God had promised to show him.
Moreover, it was in Canaan, the land where Abraham arrived, that God made this promise:
“And I will make you a great nation
And I will bless you
And make your name great
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
In Matthew 1:1-16 we find the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, and the son of Abraham. Then in verse 17, we read, “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.”
Friends, we are a part of the great nation in whom all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
The facts surrounding Abraham’s life speak clearly, of how his story fits into God’s grand story. Without Abraham, our stories wouldn’t fit into God’s grand story.
I am so thankful for Abraham’s faith and obedience.
How about you?
Until next time…