For the next several weeks we will be reading the chapters that tell Abraham's basic biography.
It would have been nice if chapter 12 had begun with Genesis 11:27. At the end of that chapter there is a particularly intriguing detail mentioned. There it is recorded that Terah took (faithful) Abram, (righteous) Lot and (beautiful but barren) Sarai out of Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:31). Sounds inconsequential, right?
Well, when compared with the account that Deacon Stephen gave in Acts 7:2-4, it seems clear enough that God called Abraham twice: first out of Ur and later out of Haran (when Abe was 75 years old). The peculiar thing is that TERAH was said to have led the family out of Ur to Haran... then ABRAHAM led them out of Haran into Canaan. Either Terah moved out of Ur unwittingly (playing into God's plan for Abraham) or Abraham told his father about God's call and Terah went along with it. If the former is the case, it speaks to God's "behind-the-scene" sovereign actions in the lives of His children (a valid point). If the latter is the case then it speaks to God's blessing upon a son's respect for his father (also a valid point, obviously). Either way, Abraham believed God and it resulted in the salvation of his soul and in a whole host of blessings that grew forth from the Abrahamic covenant.
Was Abraham perfect? Obviously not! In fact, in this introductory chapter of his life we find him (in his trip down into Egypt) being deceptive, manipulative, unchivalrous and cowardly. Yet, God mercifully protected him and his family from others... and from himself.
This man was especially blessed, that is for sure. Yet, we too can have the kinds of blessings Abraham had (Galatians 3:9, 14 & 29). He was so blessed that he had Paradise named after him (Luke 16:22). Now, in the end, we see that being a physical descendant of Abraham is of no value at all (Luke 3:8) if one is not also his spiritual descendant... that is, by faith in Christ. Contrariwise, if we have Abraham’s brand of faith, then our "race" and family becomes irrelevant on the eternal scale. Being a son of God supersedes every other relation!
Of all the things that can be said about Abraham, perhaps the grandest is this: God called Himself the God of Abraham (Genesis 26:24, among many other texts). The prophet Nehemiah described the friendship between Abraham and God very well in Nehemiah 9:7-8, "You are the LORD the God, who did choose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name of Abraham; and found his heart faithful before you, and made a covenant with him..."
My prayer: "God of Abraham ... would you be willing to use my name in introducing yourself? Is my faith and heart like Abraham's?"