Friday, November 28, 2008

Genesis 11:10-12:9: Waiting for the Word of God

Something strangely familiar. A ten generation genealogy ending with a man with three sons. Hello! Seen that before. In the wake of Nimrod's thwarted building project we could use some news. Last time we had a genealogy like this it ended with Noah, a man prophesied to bring relief and rest to a people made for rest. Name after name this one builds expectation. It's a curious one because we've already seen the start before - we've rewound the tape and we're taking a detour. When Eber comes along we don't run with Joktan, but with Peleg. And that brings us to Terah and his three sons.

Hope is high until we get a bit more acquainted with this family. One brother dies but he does have children. One stays put. And the other goes with his father out of the land of Ur and off toward Canaan. This son is called Father (Abram) but he has no children and a princess bride who is barren. It's not looking ideal. His nephew Lot comes along for the ride. Elsewhere we discover what prompts this hapless band to hit the road. Despite being in the line of Shem (the blessed one!) they're moonworshippers, idolators like the other Mesopotamians (Joshua 24). But then The "God of glory" (Acts 7v2-3) appears to Abram and tells them to go to Canaan. For Shemites this is fascinating because Canaanites will serve Shemites (as prophesied by Noah in Genesis 9) and we hear of this comission in Genesis 12v1-3 - just as Adam and Noah have been blessed so is Abram.

Halfway there they stop, at Haran (named after the dead brother) they gain possessions and evangelise the locals with their new found faith in the LORD (12v5). But they stop. Until Terah dies and then Abram continues his journey to the land of Canaan. Along with those who've decided to follow Sheikh Abram on his journey to Canaan. The land is occupied but they can set up altars. Priest Abram begins to call on the LORD as the Sethites did (Genesis 4). He believes that the LORD has said his offspring will inherit this land. While he waits, like any good priest, (1 Peter 2v9) he'll worship God and proclaim the excellencies of the one whose word he has believed.

Abram has promises from God of being blessed, a blessing, of Canaanite servitude, and of an inheriting offspring. This is good. But, in the meantime everyday tests his faith. Everytime he meets someone he introduces himself as father and has to admit to not having a child. Humanly speaking this ex-moonworshipper is a lost-cause, but the word of God accomplishes it's purposes. Abram believes the offspring will inherit. He trusts the promise of the Christ who will come not by human accomplishment but by the living word of God.

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