Summary: how there are striking similarities and differences between ourselves and ABram
February 24, 2002 Genesis 12:1-8
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.
During the winter, a father once walked through the snow with his son lagging behind - trying to follow in his father’s steps. But the steps were so big and so wide, that the son found himself facing an impossible task. He just couldn’t do it. His feet were too small and his legs weren’t wide enough. The term they use for that is “he’s got big shoes to fill.” It happens in the work place, on the sports team, and within the home - where we are compared with those who have gone before us. Sometimes we always have to live in the shadow of some perceivably great person, and when we don’t compare it makes us angry. Instead, we say, we should just be the best WE can be and not worry about comparisons.
Yet when Paul was collecting an offering for some poor Jews in Jerusalem, he told the Corinthians that the Macedonians gave even MORE than they were able. And then he went on to say, I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. He told Timothy that he was to be an EXAMPLE to the believers in speech, in life, in love and in purity. They were to COMPARE themself with him when it came to their lives. So comparisons can be good. God does this so he can make his principles and concepts alive and kicking in our lives by seeing a living and acting example. Today, God paints the portrait of Abraham - the Father of all believers’ - life. What I want to do today sounds daunting - a little scary - but -
I Dare You to Compare Yourself to Abram
I. The background
Several weeks ago the Lydia Society shared with each other the different ways that they had met their spouses. It was really interesting to me to hear the background of the relationships that each of them had. Some met on a blind date while others met in church. When you compare backgrounds of people - especially in today’s society - you will get a wide variety of them.
It was really interesting for me to explore the background of Abraham in preparation for today’s sermon. He actually didn’t live too long after the flood, as it turns out. If you remember, there were three main descendants of Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Abraham was first said to be living in Ur of the Chaldeans. If you look at a Bible map, you can see that Ur is over in the land of Babylonia, which is now modern day Iran. How he ended up there is kind of a mystery. Japheth is thought to have inhabited the far reaching regions of Asia Minor and Europe. Ham was thought to go to Babylon and Assyria, with his descendant Canaan taking over modern day Israel. And Shem is thought to have inherited regions interspersed around Egypt and up to Babylon as well.
But what’s sad to see is that the spiritual heritage of these three men, who should have been VERY close to the Lord after the flood, went down hill. The promise of the Savior stayed alive through Shem’s offspring Arphaxad. But for the most part - the other two families of Japheth and Ham really didn’t turn out too well. Genesis 10 says of Nimrod, a descendant of Ham - that he who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon. . . 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh. In the eyes of the world Ham would have been the successful one. Maybe this is what drew Abraham’s father Terah to live in Ur - the land of Nimrod and Ham - the physical prosperity.