Monday, March 17, 2008

Scribblings on Shem, Canaan and a long wait for a promise

God blesses Shem and promises that Canaan will serve him (Genesis 9v26). Shem lives to see many generations of his family and a world that is filled with problems. Ninety-four years after the promise man conspires to overthrow God at Babel before being scattered. Shem's descendants head east while Canaan settles in the west. How will the promise be kept?

And 262 years after the promise later Abram, descendant of Shem, arrives in Canaan from Ur via Haran, to be to be promised that his offspring will inherit the land (Genesis 12v7). This isn't a great likely candidate to be the one who sees God's blessing come to Shem's line. Abram is a worshipper of false gods, but God has spoken to this sinner and appeared to him as 'the LORD of glory' and he becomes one who calls upon the name of the LORD!

When Shem dies, 138 years later, he's surely still holding to these promises in a world where the land of Canaan is promised to the offspring of an old man with a barren wife... and yet, contrary to all expectations, this Abram has two offpsring, Ishmael and Isaac. Offspring to inherit the land of the Canaanites, to rule it and enslave them... to bring blessing to the house of Shem.

It looks like the promise is kept! It's just a taste. Millenia later Abram's offspring Jesus comes to bring God's people into their land, triumphing over God's enemies and their enslavement to idols... and enjoying God's blessing to Shem, God's blessing to Abraham.

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