ABRAHAM - Father of Believing
:1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country,
and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house,
unto a land that I will shew thee :
:2 And I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great:
and thou shalt be a blessing:
:3 And I will bless them that bless thee,
and curse him that curseth thee:
and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
I will... I will... I will... God's ability equals His willingness. Abraham didn't ask for a new country, to be a great nation, to have a great name, etc. This was God's idea. Abraham didn't dream all of this up by his great tough-mindedness. His tough-mindedness was used to believe what God had said and do what God had said. Leaving his family, his father's house, was a break in tradition, they stayed together for protection. Here, God is asking him to pick up stakes and move. God is not telling him exactly where he should go. Put yourself in his shoes, there are details that need to be worked out! Abraham didn't say "that's nuts!" he did the Word of the Lord, and he was 75 years old when he left Haran. Abraham took action on the promises of God.
Taking action in this case was no small feat. Abraham didn't have trucks and trailers, he didn't hire a moving company, there were no eighteen-wheelers to carry his belongings the more than 800 miles that he ended up traveling. Also, Abram was wealthy:
Genesis 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle,
and in gold.
:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram,
:6 And the land was not able to bear them,
that they might dwell together:
for their substance was great,
so that they could not dwell together.
These verses describe Abram and Lot after they had been traveling for quite a while and they arrived in the area between Bethel and Hai. Now we should consult a map to really get an idea of their travels. Keep in mind that they walked and rode camels--that was their mode of transportation. They also herded their sheep (often referred to as cattle) along the way.
Consult map entitled "Abraham Comes to Canaan." In the southeast corner you can see Ur of the Chaldeas where Abraham was born. It is currently a suburb outside of Kuwait City. North of there is Babylon which is near present day Baghdad. Further north along the Euphrates River (north and west) there is Haran where Terah, Abraham's father brought him and Lot to live. It was in Haran where Abraham received the revelation to pack up and move. Up until then he lived in the area called Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia means "between the two rivers" and it is the valley between the Tigris River in the east and the Euphrates River in the west. It is now Iraq, southern Turkey and the eastern part of Syria. The area of Mesopotamia and southwest along the Great Sea [which is the Mediterranean Sea] is called the Fertile Crescent. The area is watered well and things flourish. South of it is the Great Desert [Arabia] which is mostly desert and not fit for travel.
On the next map of "The Bridge Between the Continents." The land of Canaan (later called the Land of Israel) is often referred to as a land bridge (can you see the bridge?). In the southwest there is Africa, in the northeast there is Asia and in the northwest there is Asia Minor, which is now Turkey, which is just a short ferry ride east of Europe. Between these great countries, Africa, Europe and Asia, there is this narrow strip of land called the Land of Israel (Canaan) that was safe to travel. There are some major roads down along the Jordan valley and one along the Mediterranean coast. When the Assyrians wanted to attack the Egyptians they had to go through there. When the Hittites of Asia Minor wanted to attack the Egyptians they went through the land of Israel. Anytime the north was after the south and visa versa they had to go through there. Which is one reason why there were always different empires taking over that strip of land.
That gives you a little idea of the area they were traveling in.
Genesis 12:4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him;
and Lot went with him:
and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife,
and Lot his brother's son,
and all their substance that they had gathered,
and the souls that they had gotten in Haran;
and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan;
and into the land of Canaan they came.
This trek was like moving a small town. In Genesis 14:14 it is mentioned that Abraham took 318 of his trained servants to go rescue Lot who had been abducted by Chedorlaomer. Granted this is after they had been in Canaan for a while but not long enough to train more servants than he already had when they left Haran. So 318 men plus wives and children (and they usually had more than one child but we will only give them one each) could be about 914 people. To take all of their belongings-tents, flocks, camels, food and herds of animals-was a great undertaking. Abram did it because he trusted God.
Abraham and Company traveled southwest from Haran through Canaan by the Great Sea (the Mediterranean Sea) and because of a drought they continued through to Egypt. After some time in Egypt they returned to Canaan about 1/3 of the way up the coast and stayed. In all, the trek was about 800 miles. Considering the distance traveled each day wouldn't exceed 20 miles, this journey is astounding. God said that He would show Abram where to go, but he wasn't told until he actually arrived there (Genesis 12: 6 & 7). It took patience and trust to see God's promise come to pass.
That was only part A of the promise that God made with Abram. Next week we will look at the rest of the record.
The maps are printable as they are, just adjust your printer setting for landscape and the margins at .5" (1/2 inch). This can be done by going to File > Page Setup in your browser.