Let the play begin… | Genesis 11.27-12.3
Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took 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 Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 11:27-12:3 | ESV
“God’s division of the world into nations (Genesis 10) provides the backdrop for God’s innovation to elect one particular nation from Shem’s lineage (Genesis 12) to bring universal salvation.” So summarizes Waltke. With the words, “This is the account of Terah” we now embark on the main story. The prelude is done, the preliminaries finished, the opening overture complete. The curtain has been raised, and now the play commences. The next “book” of Genesis launches the first act of the Play of Salvation, taking us through the story of Abraham (right up through Genesis 22). For us, the introductory title can be misleading. “This is the account of Terah.” So Terah is the one! He’s the one who will do it! After all the mess and sin and confusion, he is the one through whom God will bring redemption. He even has three sons just like Adam. Just like Noah. Yes, we recognize this pattern. We have seen this. We then watch Terah move his family, including his son Abram, the one with the barren wife (loser!), and he heads towards what we know is the Promised Land – center stage, yes! We watch as Terah approaches center stage, poised for what we are sure will be a decisive moment in salvation history…and he dies. Right before he gets there. Dies. Death resurgent. Has the play been stopped? No, wait. It wasn’t Terah at all. Well, it was, but it wasn’t. It was his son. Which one? The one with the barren wife. The one with no kids. The one with the name filled with bitter irony and pain: Abram. “Exalted Father.” The father with no children. Yes, God says. That’s the one through whom I will do this. Go, Abram, Go. Journey on to the land I will show you. Nimrod the Rebel thought his name was great; humanity in building their pathetic tower thought they could make their name great, those builders who shall remain unnamed. But I will make your name great. Those who curse you I will curse; those who bless you I will bless. And everyone – every family, every tribe, every clan, every nation, every generation – everyone will be blessed through you. Go on, Abram, Go. Leave the cities of man. Go to the land I will show you. And you will see it all go into motion through each step of faith you take. Go on, Abram, Go.
And the exalted father with no kids steps onto center stage.
And the play begins…
Abram is an awesome example of an unlikely hero. What other unlikely heroes can you think of from the biblical tale – or from life in general? How can you be sure not to miss your cue to step out center stage and play the role for which you were created?
Lord, you have purposed me, formed me, named me and called me into this moment at this place, at this time. Help me to see the moments you have for me, to be present to the roles your heart intends for me to play. Remind me that as the powerful play goes on that I may contribute a verse. Empower me to make that contribution with passion and clarity, allowing you to direct me as you will. Through Christ.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.