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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

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The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“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.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

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. 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. -Genesis 12:1-7

taken from vagabond journey.com

The image above is a picture of Beehive houses that are in modern-day Harran, Turkey. The homes date back over 4,000 years ago, and perhaps could be the style of homes used when Abraham lived in Harran.

Hebrews 11:8 tells us this: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

This is a concept that the modern mind cannot even begin to imagine. At the time, Abraham and his brother had moved to Harran with their father. When Abram (who later becomes Abraham) received this calling there are no specifics. He was told to pack up his things and leave, and at a later time would be shown where he will eventually settle. He takes his nephew Lot, the last of his family, his wife and all they own, heads south to the land of Canaan. At a tree, again Abram receives confirmation from God.

“To your offspring, I will give this land.”

Oh, wait! I forgot to mention, Abram is 75 years old. He also has never had any children.

Abram at this point is going through many adventures. There is a famine, so they move to Egypt. The Pharaoh takes a liking to his wife, and in order to protect himself, tells her to lie and say they are siblings. Pharaoh finds out, and basically kicks them out of Egypt. God has blessed and given Abram and Lot so many animals that they must separate. Eventually Lot gets taken by attackers and Abram rescues him. There are people living in the land before him that are unsure of his presence, and must settle their differences. Life as a nomad is not boring or routine.

He is a regular man living life that is sometimes messy.

One night, God appears to him in a vision.

Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,

your very great reward. (Genesis 15:1)

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This begins a very beautiful and honest exchange between Abram and God. Basically Abram replies, “You’re sovereign, but I have no kids. Still. Since Lot is gone, maybe my servant will gain the inheritance.”

God assures him that his plan is for Abram’s own child, one from his own  genetics, will be the heir. He tells him to go outside and look at the stars. Count the stars. This will be how great your offspring, your children’s children will become.

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6

This theme blew my mind when I saw it piece together just a few months back. You see that word “shield” above? In my Bible there is a footnote that says that word can also mean “sovereign”, and that reward could also be shield. What a perfect picture of both these terms. It is the sovereignty of God that shields us. Sovereignty is basically the full knowledge, his foreknowledge that only he has, because of his nature being God. We live life on a lateral, day-by-day path. But God, who is unlimited to time and space, looks down from all time on our moment with full knowledge of what is to come. It’s that knowledge that shields us.

Abram didn’t know what was to come. There was no way that he understood God’s plan. He wasn’t given any details either.

BUT, he believed.

God then tells him to bring a sacrifice, which just so happens to be the 5 animals of sacrifice that will be commanded to Moses. Abram prepares them, sitting them open and laying them out to be burned. He falls into a deep sleep and was given a vision. These descendants to come, the ones represented by the stars, will be strangers, slaves, and mistreated for 400 years. Abram sees the suffering that his promise future will face. But the Sovereign One assures him of their redemption and future to return to the land of their inheritance. After the vision, the sacrifice is burned up and the covenant between God and Abram is confirmed, for the future generations.

We talked about how sin entered through Adam and Eve. That sin was paid by the death of Christ on the cross, and is offered to us. Unless we believe that Jesus can save us, there is no salvation. The promise of the Messiah began in the garden, but all of the Old Testament heroes of faith looked forward to his coming. They also needed to believe.

Kids believe very easily. They naturally believe things they don’t see or understand. It’s much more difficult for us adults, who have been hardened by reality to find the faith to believe God. My prayer is that this Christmas season you would find that hope, know the shield of His sovereignty in whatever your circumstance, and believe in Christ the Savior who has come.

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Family Devotion:

Gather a kitchen chair or stool, ornament and Bible

Read Genesis 12:1-7 and Genesis 15:6 Talk about what it must have been like for Abram to move, unsure of where he was going. What would be things they would want to bring with them.  Believing in something you cannot see is what we call faith. Have a child stand on a chair, back facing you. Ask them to stand straight and stiff, and not look back. Have everyone else in the family stand or kneel behind them in line and create a net by holding their arms out. Ask the child on the chair to fall backward, being sure to catch them in the “arm net”. Ask how is this game like faith. If you want, plan a surprise outing together, where they don’t know what you’re going to do.

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