One of the most intriguing stories in the Bible for me is the story of Abraham. His life as chronicled by the Bible and accepted as truth and fact by Jews, Christians and Muslims was one that exemplified ‘Total Submission’ to YAHWEH’s will.
In the account from the 12th chapter of Genesis we are told that when Abram (as he was originally called which meant ‘Exalted Father’) was Seventy-Five years YAHWEH said to him:
”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, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
We are told that Abram promptly obeyed and departed just as YAHWEH had instructed him after his father Terah’s death. He didn’t however leave Haran (where his father had afore settled after leaving Ur of the Chaldees, his birthplace) alone, but with his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, all their property and servants they went into the land of Canaan.
He didn’t question the authenticity of this message, neither did he find ridiculous the wordings of same. You would expect that a man of whom a great nation will be made should have many children, like bows in a quiver, but at this time, he had none and was advanced in age. Though the possibility of having a child remained, that of having many to make the possibility of a great nation a reality wasn’t too easy to envisage especially if same was to come from one woman who at present was confirmed or better still thought to be barren.
Though Abram was well off he couldn’t be considered to be Great at that time, yet a promise of future greatness was made to him despite his situation. If you also consider that he would have to move from his comfort zone ‘unto a Land that YAHWEH will show him’, you may then begin to wonder how this can be so, considering that one is likely to make it in a place he’s familiar with than in a strange place.
As for blessing, in an age (as is also obtainable today) where barrenness was considered curse, regardless of the amount in wealth the individual might possess, it appeared that in the case of Abraham it should mean only one thing.
Finally, there’d be repercussions for those who curse him and blessings for those who bless him.
But then, the first act of FAITH must be taken, which was to ‘move’, and like Noah before him, Abram obeyed the voice of YAHWEH, though he knew not where he was to go, which is very instructive for us today, because really if we harken to HIS voice today to do HIS will, many of the things we do today won’t be what we’ll be doing.
Abram in his journey passed over several lands currently inhabited by the Canaanites, and at a point YAHWEH again appeared to him and said:
” Unto thy seed will I give this land”
Remember, that at this time Abram had no kid(s), and the promise here referred only to ‘a seed’, not two or more. It may be true that many lived well into old age as biblical records show, but biblical, archaeological and historical records also showed that infant mortality was also high, so many a married couple tended to have as many children as possible do that a remnant will remain should pestilence, famine, war and disease claim the lives of others. If one was also promised that of him will be made a great nation, then it becomes imperative that his quiver be filled with the arrows that children represented, yet the promise was of ‘A SEED’.
Like most couples who’ve experienced childlessness or are currently experiencing it, it wouldn’t have bothered Abram that ‘seed’ was used as in that situation, he’d have considered that ‘Half Bread was Better than One’ and that ‘A Bird in Hand was worth Two (or more) in the Bush’.
Hence, Abram was made a promise of of a land currently occupied by others (probably well established and quite unfriendly to him) to a seed (most likely a son) which he didn’t as yet have.
Because of a famine however, Abram had to travel to Egypt (the dominant world power at the time). For fear that he might be killed by the Pharaoh or his men by reason of the beauty of his wife, Abram and Sarai agreed that they should tell them they were siblings, and before you could say Ab-, Sarai was whisked away to the Pharaoh’s palace on the recommendations of the Princes.
The Pharaoh later came to know about the treachery after YAHWEH visited upon him and his house great plagues for their actions, and banished ‘Abram and company’ from Egypt.
It wasn’t easy for Abraham, as the fact that he was following instructions that will lead to fulfilment of promise did not in any way reduce the challenges inherent in making the journey.
Many a time we lose the path to our ‘Land Of Promise’ just because we failed to see the obstacles on our path as ‘Necessary Evils’. The challenges Abram faced thus far and others he’ll encounter later did not deter him or spur him to make a U-turn to his place of origin. He trusted THE ONE, who asked him to embark on this journey and he was rewarded in good measure.
**Hebrews Chapter 11 gives an insight into the possible thoughts of Abram which may help us understand why he could persevere for so long to earn the nomen, ‘The Father Of Faith’.
We are admonished that it was,
”By Faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he
should after receive for an
inheritance, obeyed; and he went out,
not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of
promise, as in a strange country,
dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and
Jacob, the heirs with him of the same
For he looked for a city which hath
foundations, whose builder and
maker is YAHWEH.”
Unlike many of us he caught the vision from a perspective that wasn’t pedestrian, something that’s so very lacking in many of us who think ourselves ‘Children Of Abraham’.
*Genesis 12 verses 1 – 20
**Hebrews 11 verses 8 – 10