Abraham of Chaldea Annonymous The following is a narrative description on the life and times of one of the most powerful characters in the Old Testament. Abraham was indeed a man of God in a time where few men believed in the One true God. Through many triumphs and errors, he always returned to God to lead him back to his calling. His dedication resulted in great promises from God that were eventually fulfilled and affect each of our lives today. His story is our story. Abraham was a native of Chaldea, and a ninth generation descendant of Shem, the son of Noah. He was born on the southern tip of the Tigris and Uuphrates rivers in the city of Ur around 2161BC.1 Before his name was changed to Abraham, his name was Abram.
When Abram was about seventy years of age he moved with his family to live in Haran. The reason he moved was because ‘The God of glory appeared to our father Abram when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Depart from your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ 2 While in Haran, Abram’s father died and God spoke to him again saying, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.’ 3 He obeyed and left Haran with his brother Nahor’s family and his Nephew Lot without really knowing where he was going. At this time, God did not reveal to him he was going to Canaan. God only told him ‘the land which I will show you.’ 4 When he did arrive in Canaan, he camped in the plains of Moreh, between the mountains of Ebal and Cerizim. It was here he was given the second promise from God that his seed would possess this land.
Abram built ‘an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him’ 5 He then moved to the mountainous district between Bethel and Ai. Here, he built another altar to Jehovah. Throughout the story of Abram, he consistently went back to Bethel to make amends with God. All of God’s children should have a similar alter they should go to when praising God. This could be the front of your church, but should be in public.
6 Archeology has since proved that Bethel is the modern village of Baytin. 7 When in this area, a famine struck forcing Abram to move southward toward Egypt. God talked to Abram on the mountain East of Bethel where he built an alter unto the Lord. Each person should have their own personal alter to go before God, this should also be done in public. When he did get to Egypt, Abram told his first recorded lie.
Because his wife Sarah was beautiful, he feared she would lusted by after the Egyptians and endanger his life. He also knew the Pharaoh was also concerned of Abram’s presence along with other Hyksos in the region. 8 Abram persuaded Sarah to pass herself off as his sister. This lie could probably be considered a lighter shade of gray considering Sarah was his half sister, having the same father but a different mother. 9 When the Egyptians saw how beautiful she was, they took her to Pharaoh’s harem. As a consequence, God plagued Pharaoh & his house. When the Pharaoh found out Sarah was Abram’s wife, he sent him and his clan out of Egypt to fend for themselves in the famished land.
Because Abram told this lie, God allowed this to happen. Abram went out of Egypt and returned to Bethel the second time to call on the name of the Lord. While in Bethel, both Lot’s and Abram’s livestock could not be supported by the land, and strife began between their herdsmen. Abram gave Lot his first choice of where he wanted to settle. Instead of choosing the unknown territory toward Canaan, Lot chose the easy way out and went East to Jordan near the populated city of Sodom.
The motif of scripture for this story is simple. Abram gave more than he took. He let Lot take what he wanted and left it to God to bless him with what was left. Lot’s mistake was he stopped growing in God’s faith and stagnated. He soon found out that everything is not as it seems.
If one only takes, but does not give, it soon gets them into trouble. On the other hand, Abram was rewarded with a third blessing for his faith. God reiterated His promise to give him the land of Canaan and a posterity as numerous as the dust of the earth. So Abram moved his clan and camped near Hebron where he built another altar to Jehovah. In the mean time, Lot got himself in the middle of a war between rivaling Babylonian kings in the area. As a result, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell and their cities were spoiled.
Lot and his goods were also carried off. When Abram heard of this, he immediately armed his dependents, 318 men, and some of his neighbors. They overtook and defeated the kings at Dan, near the springs of Jordan. To accomplish this, Abram must have been a military genius. After Abram freed Lot, you would think he would have learnt his lesson, but he returned with his family to live in Sodom.
When Abram was returning, the king of Sodom came out to meet him at the King’s Valley along with Melchizedek, king of Salem and ‘priest of the most high God.’ 10 Melchizedek brought him bread and wine, and blessed him by saying, ‘Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.’ 11 Hebrew tradition says that Melchizedek was Shem, son of Noah and survivor of the flood This tradition believes he was still alive at the time and the earth’s oldest living man. Others think that Melchizedek was an Angel or the Messiah himself. 12 In return, Abram presented Melchizedek a tenth of all he had. This is the first mention of tithing, and is still used as a guideline today. The king of Sodom attempted to give Abram the spoils of the war, but he refused.
Abram told the king, ‘I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or your, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten.’ 13 After this episode, The Lord rewarded Abram for his faithfulness and came to him in a vision. God said, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’ 14 In response, Abram asked how this could be since he did not have any children. God proceeded to encourage Abram through a distinct and detailed repetition of former promises He had made and by a solemn covenant contracted between himself and God. God told him his seed should be as numerous as the stars of heaven, that his posterity should grow up into a nation under foreign bondage, and that after four hundred years they should come up and possess the land in which he sojourned. After living in Canaan for ten years, Sarai went to Abram and said, ‘ The Lord has prevented me from bearing children.’ 15 As she was seventy-five years of age, she followed contemporary custom and allowed Abram to impregnate Hagar, 16 her Egyptian handm aid.
After this, Sarai got jealous of Hargar and told Abram that Hargar was looking at her with contempt. Abram told Sarai that Hargar was under her authority, and she could to with her as she pleased. Sarai subsequently dealt so harshly with Hagar tha t she fled. But an angel of the Lord appeared to her in the wilderness and convinced her to return to Sarai and submit herself to her. The angel told her she was pregnant and would give birth to a son who would greatly multiply her descendants. The ang el told her to call the name of this child Ishmael.
Thirteen years later, when Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. In a token to consummate the covenant, God commanded that Abraham, all males of his tribe and male descendants of his be circumcised. God also renewed his covenant to Abraham through the angles by assured him that Sarah, then ninety years old, would bear a child from his loins. Abraham laughed at this and questioned how an old man like himself could impregnate a 90 year old woman. Abraham said, ‘O that Ishmael might live in thy sight!’ 17 God assured him Ishmael would make him fruitful also and make a great nation of him. But God told him that Sarah would indeed bear him a son and he should call his name Isaac. God said he would establish a covenant with Isaac and all his descendants.
After this meeting with conversation with God, Abraham obeyed him and all males were circumcised. After this cove …