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The Call of Abraham

By Paul George

Abraham aka Abram. The events in the Middle East that have had a major impact on humanity and history in the past, in the present and will have in the future are traceable back to Abraham. In Genesis chapter eleven verses twenty-seven through thirty-two it is written, “Now this is the history of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot. Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldees. 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 who was also the father of Iscah. Sarai was barren. She had no child. Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife. They went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there. The days of Terah were two hundred five years. Terah died in Haran.”

Ur, if that was the name of the city Terah left and came to Haran, was located in southern Mesopotamia, about ten miles west of the Euphrates River near the Persian Gulf, about two hundred miles southeast of Baghdad. There are remains of a city that is known as Tell el-Mukayyar near the city of Nasiriyah, south of Baghdad in modern day Iraq that may be the city that Terah left and came to Haran.

Haran was a city in northern Mesopotamia and means “crossroads”. Haran was located about two hundred and forty miles northwest of Nineveh and two hundred and eighty miles northeast of Damascus. Haran lay on the trade route between Babylonia and the Mediterranean Sea. The inhabitants of Haran worshiped Sin, the moon god. Today, Haran is a small Arab village, known as Harran.

We are not told why Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife and went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. We are not told why Terah, Abram, and Lot settled in Haran

While in Ur of the Chaldeans the Lord told Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” This is verified in Acts chapter seven beginning with verse two. In his response to the charge of blasphemy and the high priest’s question is the charge true, Stephen said, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your land, and from your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’ Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans, and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living.”

There were promises attached to the command, “get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” The Lord told Abram, “I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Note the word covenant is not used when the Lord makes these promises. The Lord is telling Abram what He will do, but He has not put it in the form of a covenant.

A covenant refers to an agreement made between God and man, man and man, nation and nation. When the covenant is between God and man the covenant is a sovereign act of God. In the covenant God establishes with man He obligates Himself to fulfill promises that are stated in the covenant. The covenants God makes with man fall into one of two categories, conditional or unconditional. In a conditional covenant the recipient of the covenant is obligated to fulfill certain stated obligations or conditions before God is obligated to fulfill the promises and blessing stated in the covenant. In an unconditional covenant the covenant depends upon God for its fulfillment. In an unconditional covenant there maybe blessings that is conditional, however this does not change the nature of the covenant. It is also important we remember the covenants God has established with man are literal, eternal, and depend sole on the integrity of God.

Note if you will what happened following the command Abram leave his country, his relatives, and his father’s house. Abram left his country when left with his father to go to the land of Canaan. The reason the Lord commanded Abram to leave his country, his relatives, and his father’s house was to remove Abram from the influence of the society he was living in and the influence of his relatives and father.

When Abram left Ur of the Chaldees with his father and his nephew Lot he was not obeying the command to leave his relatives and his father’s house. When he settled in Haran he did not settle in the land that the Lord said He would show him. When Abram settled in Haran did this annul the promises the Lord made to Abram? Here is the good news in our dealings with God; He always gives us time to repent of our disobedience.

There is something important in the death of Abram’s father. Some scholars claim in Haran Abram received a second call to leave his country, which Abram did when he left Ur of the Chaldees, leave his relatives, and his father’s house. Put yourself in Abram’s position; if the Lord told you to do what He told Abram to do and promised you what He promised Abram, would you forget it? There was one obstacle that was keeping Abram from obeying the command of the Lord, his father. What happened when Abram’s father died, the obstacle was removed. What are we told in verse four of chapter twelve; “So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him.” Question, did Abram do what the Lord had told him to do? What is written in verses four and five? “Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife, Lot his brother’s son, all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls whom they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” Who is Lot? Lot is Abram’s nephew. He is no longer a child. He is an adult. Abram is still being disobedient.

Abram and Lot came into the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Shechem was a fortified Canaanite city between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. The oak of Moreh was a sacred tree in the same area, Moreh was a pagan sanctuary. Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, ‘I will give this land to your seed.’ Note the word covenant is missing. What is the Lord doing; He is telling Abram what He will do. When is He going to give this land to Abram’s seed; when Abram obeys Him? As long as Abram is not obeying the Lord, the Lord is under no obligation to fulfill the promises He has made to Abram. What applies to Abram applies to us.

Abram built an altar to Yahweh, then he proceeds to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and called on the name of Yahweh. Abram continued on toward the Negev. There is famine in the land and Abram goes to Egypt where he puts his wife Sarai in a dangerous situation, however the Lord intervenes (read Genesis 12:10-20 for details of the incident in Egypt).

There is a lesson in the call of Abram; the Lord will not fulfill His promises as long as we are disobedient and not fulfilling the conditions attached to the promises. The Lord will remove the obstacles we place or Satan through humans places in path to the fulfilling of the promises the Lord has made with mankind. The obstacles are removed in two ways; first direct intervention by the Lord. An example of the direct intervention of the Lord is the flood in the days of Noah. There was an evil situation in the world that had to be removed because it threatened the coming of the Seed of the woman that will bruise the head of the serpent.

In the days of Noah, just as it was when Adam rebelled against the Lord, the Lord could have destroyed Adam and Eve and created a second Adam and Eve, however this was not included in the Lord’s preordained plan for the course of history. Instead of destruction the Lord sent human messengers into the land with a message of repentance and a warning of coming destruction; He is doing this today and just as it was in the days prior to the flood that destroyed all flesh on the earth, except Noah and his family and the animals and fowl that went into the ark Noah built, people are not heeding the call to repent and turn from their evil and wicked ways. Although we do not want to admit it people are moving farther away from the Lord and deeper into evil and wickedness in these last days.

Today, Satan’s intent is to rid the world of God’s people, both Jew and Christian and prevent the King of kings, the Lord of lords from taking His place on the throne that has been given to Him and rule over the kingdom that has been given to Him.

A second way obstacles are removed is through the process of God’s established laws of nature. Terah was an obstacle to the fulfilling of the promises God made to Abram. The obstacle was removed when the days allotted to Terah was fulfilled. We need to be ready for the time when the days allotted for humanity is fulfilled and the King of kings and Lord of lords is sent to bring to an end all evil and wickedness existing on earth.

Retired pastor,Church of the Nazarene

Author of web site Exploring God’s Word

http://www.thewordofgodonline.net

New American Standard Bible

King James Version

The World English Bible

Sermons and Bible studies preached and taught by author

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