Daily Thought for: 12th January

ABRAM, SON OF TERAH

Genesis 11. 26 – 12. 5

By any measure, Abraham is the most important person in the book of Genesis, progressing from the mere idolater that he was, to the model believer that he became. Abram—as he was originally called, meaning ‘exalted father’—was born and bred in the city of Ur. According to today’s archaeologists, Ur was one of the most well-developed cities of its day in terms of its social, intellectual and architectural advancements. 

The city deity was the moon-god called Nannar (or Sin), but the sun and water gods were also worshipped with great public ritual and ceremony, with Abram’s family no doubt taking part in such homage, Josh. 24. 2, 14-15. This great and prosperous city offered Abram the best that this world could provide in his day—a full life in a fascinating city. What eventually moved Abram away from this was a vision of the God of glory, Acts 7. 2-3, telling him to ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee . . . in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’, Gen. 12. 1-3. 

However, the only move he made to begin with was at the behest of his father Terah, who himself decided to go into the land of Canaan; but he only got to Haran, and being quite satisfied with the city, he stayed. Haran, like Ur, was a centre of moon-god worship and a busy commercial city which was on a major east-west trade route, so however spiritually uncomfortable the partly obedient Abram might have felt, the rest of the family would still have been quite at home. Abram did not leave Haran until he was seventy-five, after his father died. 

Haran meant a considerable delay for Abram, with family ties holding him back.  However, when he did move, he went straight to Canaan. Having crossed over the Euphrates, he was for ever after the man who had crossed over from beyond the great river, that is the Hebrew. Have we left the world’s side, and crossed over to a life of faith? 

 

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