Abraham - Part II
When the Lord called Abraham, then known as “Abram,” he was an idolater (Josh. 24:2); consequently, possessing no moral claim upon God, he was “a Syrian ready to perish” (Deut. 26:5). But He who said to the publican, “Follow Me” (Luke 5:27), said to Abraham, “Come with Me and I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). With the family history of Shem, of Terah, and with the call of Abraham is introduced the divine purpose of blessing families, as such, and bringing them into God’s kingdom upon earth.
Sarai Was Barren
“Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
“And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
“And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
“But Sarai was barren; she had no child” (Gen. 11:27-30).
We now come to the prelude before the call of one of the greatest men of God who ever lived, Abraham (incidentally, except when quoting the text, to keep it simple, we will refer to the Patriarch by the name which he is now known, Abraham).
As we look back through history, as given to us in the Bible, which, in fact, is the only reliable historic account given, we see that millenniums or double millenniums have marked a turning point in this history. For instance:
• About a thousand years after creation, Noah was born. His life would mark an episode in history of staggering proportions—the flood.
• About a thousand years after Noah, which would be about 2,000 years after creation, we have the account of Abraham. This is another turning point in history, with God giving to this man the meaning of justification by faith, which would explain the salvation process. From the loins of Abraham and the womb of Sarah would come the Jewish people, raised up for the express purpose of giving the world the Word of God, and, as well, serving as the womb of the Messiah, and also to evangelize the world. So from this, I think we can see how great this man Abraham actually was.
• About a thousand years after Abraham, which would be about 3,000 years after Creation, David is called by the Lord to be the King of Israel. Through his family, the Messiah would come, who would be called “The Son of David.”
• About a thousand years after David, making it about 4,000 years after creation, Jesus was born, the Saviour of the world.
• From the birth of Christ to this present time, which constitutes the church age, we can count approximately 2,000 years, making it about 6,000 years of recorded history from the time of the creation. At this juncture, which should happen very shortly, the rapture of the church could take place at any moment, followed by the great tribulation, which will conclude with the second coming of Christ, which, without a doubt, will be the most cataclysmic moment in history, at least in the time frame of this 6,000 years.
The Scripture tells us that Sarah was barren. Satan, knowing that it would be absolutely imperative for a male child to be born to this couple, that is, if the seed of the woman was to be born into the world, would consequently make her barren, and God would allow him to do so. In this, we see one of the greatest tests of faith, which brought about many failures on Abraham’s part, but ultimately great victory.
Of course, the Lord could have changed the situation of Sarah’s barrenness in a moment’s time; however, He would use the situation to teach Abraham and Sarah trust.
Ur Of The Chaldees
“And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the Land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
“And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran” (Gen. 11:31-32).
It is said that Ur of the Chaldees, located a little north of what is now referred to as the Persian Gulf, was one of the most modern cities in the world of that time. So Abraham and his family would have left these modern conveniences—modern for that time—to go to a land to which they had never been, and to live a nomadic existence for the rest of their lives, because of a revelation from God. How many would be willing to do that?
The Jewish Targums
The Jewish Targums (Jewish historical commentaries of sorts) say that Abraham’s family were idol makers. In other words, they made the idols, which represented the moon god “Ur” for which the city was named. They made them out of wood, out of stone, out of silver, out of gold, with some of them studded with precious stones, etc. In fact, at that time, Abraham was one of the most powerful men in the East, meaning he was one of the most powerful in the world. He had some 318 servants, and we speak of men servants alone, besides the women and children (Gen. 14:14). So, the entourage that left Ur at the behest of the Lord was quite large, counting the women and children, probably numbering about a thousand people.
Whether it is correct or not that Abraham and his family were idol makers, one thing is for sure, they definitely were idol worshippers. So we have to venture the thought that whatever revelation it was that God gave to Abraham, it was so powerful, so obvious, and left such a mark upon the Patriarch, that he would never be the same again. To be sure, this is a conversion that so changes a man, that he will now forsake all that he has known all his life, all the comforts of the world of that day, to reach out by faith, to something that he really could not see—except by faith.
We know that Abraham had this revelation when he was in Ur of the Chaldees. But how long he stayed there before he left for Canaan, with a stop in Haran, we aren’t told. I suspect it would not have been very long, because as the first verse of the next chapter proclaims, the command of the Lord was explicit.
He left Haran when he was 75 years old, as we shall see. Whether Terah, Abraham’s father, accepted the Lord is not clear. There is some evidence that he did, in that he, as well, left Ur of the Chaldees and got as far as Haran, where he died.
This article is an excerpt from the book, Abraham by Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.