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Sabbath: The Roots of Abraham — 8 Comments

  1. Just a bit of background:

    The Bible refers to Ur of the Chaldees several times. Most archaeologists identify it as an important city-state with a very long history of occupation. At the time when Abram was likely called out of Ur, it was also a port. The Persian Gulf extended much further inland in that period. It was a very rich city and arguably the largest city in the world at the time. It is estimated that its population was about 65,000.

    Like most city-states of the time, it was ruled by a priestly class who lived in luxury compared with the rest of the populace. The prominent deity at the time of Abram was most likely the moon goddess. There is a close association between moon worship and bull worship - the crescent form of the moon was considered similar to the horns of a bull. Fertility was a feature of the religion and phallic symbolism and evidence of temple prostitution has been found in the archaeological remains. The tombs of the priestly rulers show evidence of human sacrifices, particularly of servants who were dispatched with a blow to the back of the head.

    During the period there was some fluidity in the veneration of deities as various political/religious groups took power.

    • Thank you, Maurice. I always find it helpful to understand the cultural and historical context, especially as it is so different from our own.

    • It is interesting to note the influence of the Babylonian culture on Abram’s family:

      Genesis 11:29 sn The name Sarai (a variant spelling of “Sarah”) means “princess” (or “lady”). Sharratu was the name of the wife of the moon god Sin. The original name may reflect the culture out of which the patriarch was called, for the family did worship other gods in Mesopotamia.

      Genesis 11:29 sn The name Milcah means “Queen.” But more to the point here is the fact that Malkatu was a title for Ishtar, the daughter of the moon god. If the women were named after such titles (and there is no evidence that this was the motivation for naming the girls “Princess” or “Queen”), that would not necessarily imply anything about the faith of the two women themselves.

      Just as God called Abram out of Ur (Babylon), so he calls us out of our “Babylon” where the gods of materialism and political demagogues reign. God’s call led Abram from physical and material security to a place where he was a stranger who had to trust that God would care for him. From my own life’s experience, that is a stressful place to be. Abram’s failures and successes on his faith journey are struggles with which I can identify. I thank God for his patience and grace as I continue to work out his will for my life.

  2. I am looking forward to studying the works of our Creator’s mighty hands as it was the time to call Abram out of Ur to establish His Own Name's Presence in the land of Canaan. It shows the physical and spiritual roots of Abraham to have been located in a region and religion of his father’s affiliation with serving as a priest of the region’s pagan religion; theirs was a religion full of gods and religious rites associated honoring their pagan gods most likely started at the time of Nimrod.

    It is apparent that Abram was ready and willing to remove himself and his family far away from the 'safety and security' which his father’s house provided, and go to unseen and unproven regions, occupied by people with hostile intentions. How was our heavenly Father to know that Abram could hear Him in all the tumult of false gods glamouring for attention? The Father knew his child’s heart, and the heart of the child could hear his Heavenly Father's voice and distinguish it from the hollow ding of the voices of the false gods!

    Faith is a peculiar thing. When faith is placed into the hands of God, it will be Him who directs the path of the faithful. When faith is placed in the works of man’s own hands, he will fall short of the mark of securing his future.
    Man will not be able to experience by the work of his own hands that which Life is designed to produce - - - to give all honor and praise to the Creator of all things which leads the faithful to their final destination - Eternal Life.

  3. Living with not knowing. Suspended in the void. Without his past. The old world falling apart. Without his future. The new world unknown. In the now. In between. Standing in the doorway, not quite out of one room, not quite into the other (the definition of "liminal space"). On the threshold. A posture of submission to God. Ears pricked for His Voice.

    Is that God's Spirit I hear in the tops of the balsam trees? (1 Chron. 14:15)

    You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to be blessed (Gen. 12:3).

    Okay, I want to exercise my right to waive my rights and let You choose for me, God. Thank You for stripping away the good that is not good enough.

  4. Abraham was a might man of faith. And at the same time he suffered moments of doubt and fear that led him to resort to some self-preserving actions at times. How can the full, unpolished reality of Abraham's journey that had both up and downs encourage you in the reality of your journey to the promised land that lies beyond this present world?

    • Phil – my thoughts regarding your questions are along the line of ‘knowing the will of God’ and by faith engaging in life accordingly. The Holy Spirit has revealed to us the Will of God; what we do is engage with His Will by faith because we love Him - Mark 12:30-31.
      What is the Will of God - Phil.4:7-9:
      ”And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
      Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.
      Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you … .”

  5. Memory Text: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would. *receive as an inheritance*.
    And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, NKJV).

    Makes me wonder how much, and to what extent, is this a shadow of the eternal WORD made flesh in receiving his and our inherentence !?
    Proverbs 13:22, Psalm 16:6, 1 Peter 1:1-12, Colossians 1:12, Psalms 2:8,
    Ephesians 1:18, Galatians 3:29
    Thank you Jesus, my Lord, for this inherentence in clay pots currently !


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