Abram to Abraham| prt. 1

Posted on January 23, 2009 by

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“Why the distinction?” you might ask. Isn’t that the same person? Aren’t we going to talk about his obedience and the offering of Issac as a sacrifice?

Yes it is. Yes we will. But first there is more.

Where does Abram come into the picture? The flood has happened, the scattering of those in babel who intended to escape the “fill the earth” part of the cultural mandate, and then people were born and people died… then Terah, abram’s father.

Genesis 11

27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Abram was a chaldean in the land of Ur. This is actually important to understanding the character of Abram and his family

In the  Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary it says Ur–now Orfa; that is, “light,” or “fire.” Its name probably derived from its being devoted to the rites of fire-worship. Terah and his family were equally infected with that idolatry as the rest of the inhabitants (Jos 24:15).

So Abram was being called out of a land devoted to the worship of fire. From this we can see that the family of Terah was going to be hard pressed to leave this life that sorrounded them and was so much a part of their culture.

Looking to Habakkuk we can see even further into who they were

“For behold, I am raising R13 up the Chaldeans, That fierce F5 and impetuous people Who march throughout F6 the earth To seize R14 F7 dwelling places which are not theirs. (NASB)

or

For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. (ESV)

Abrams people were known as a people who were quick to make decisions and who took lands from other people. Just the kind of people for the Job that God had in mind. To take Abram from his home and give him other peoples land.

So Abram’s family lived in a land of idolatry and were a people prone to rash decisions and to seizing lands that weren’t theirs.

Lets look at the Call of Abram. A good example of a man of faith who heard God and rose up to do what he was told, to receive the promises made to him. Right?

We’ll see

Genesis 12

1 Now the Lord said F54 to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.

Something here seems amiss. Wasn’t Abram from the land of the Chaldean’s in Ur? Let’s back up and see how they got to Haran.

Genesis 11

31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.

The Geneva study bible and Gill’s exposition give an interesting interpretation of this. It seems that even though the call of Abram is related to us after this passage that it happened before. If we take these passages to relate chronology then, Terah and his family were on their way to Canaan and then God called abram to Canaan. But if we see this as the conclusion of the geneology section where it sums up Terah’s life and then begins a narrative on Abram’s life, then it would seem that when Abram was called to move to Canaan and leave his kindred and his father’s house he went to his father to seek guidance.

It makes sense to me. I worship fire and have established myself in this land with these people, and some God I don’t know comes to me and tells me to move to a land some distance away and take it from the people who live there. Sounds like fun to me but it also seems a little crazy, so I go check in with dad. He says that we need to do this, after Haran died it’s been hard to be around all these places that have so many memories and it sounds like quite an adventure. So Terah picks up the family and moves out to Canaan.

But there is a problem. God told Abram to leave his kindred and his Father’s house and go to canaan. And who is going with him… Lot (kindred) and terah (father with the house) is leading the expodition.

So they get to the land of Charan (haran) and Terah can’t go on traveling, perhaps he’s too old. But for whatever reason the family settles in Charan. Not what God had called Abram to do. Eventually Terah passes and Abram continues his journey in obedience to God.

From here on out Abram is generally focused, he makes some slip ups (some BIG ones), and that is encouraging. Because in my journey to follow God’s will in my life, I’m pretty sure I’ve screwed up…ok I’m positive I’ve screwed up. But Abram’s story gives me hope, despite his many missteps and faulty judgment God still uses this man to achieve what He wanted to achieve.

God is Sovereign and will achieve His goals, we will fail Him but He will never fail us. Praise God, He is in control.

:then next one is on Abraham: who knows how long it will take me to get through that 😀

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Posted in: Theology