No Idea What Was Coming, Part 1…

If you would have told me 10 years ago that my life would look like it does today, I would have laughed at you. Seriously. I am in a place in life that looks absolutely nothing like I planned, but there is no other place I would rather be. The Lord has blessed me more than I could have asked or imagined. Through the difficult and the good, I have seen God’s kindness to me and my family. All of this despite the fact that I earned none of it. If anything, I constantly give God reasons to not bless me. But He is a loving Father, and I am so thankful. BUT… I still had no idea what was coming that ended up bringing me here.

The last 2 years has brought many of us to places in life we never thought we would be. In early 2020, the economy in the U.S. was booming. Now, just 2 short years later, we find ourselves with a serious inflation problem and 2 years into the mess that is COVID-19. And a mess it is! Besides an economic beating, most have experienced a sort of mental health beating over the last few years. Unwarranted and unconstitutional lock-downs, isolation, a constant barrage of information (good, bad, and much plain stupid) online and on television – These things have done a number on most of us these last few years. Friendships that seemed solid have dissipated over differences on beliefs regarding mask-wearing, vaccines, and what constitutes freedom. Social media has continued to play a more negative role in most of our lives than it should. Friends and family have battled real illness (COVID and otherwise), some of those ending in death. Death for them and serious grief for us. Governments in the U.S. and abroad have continued to take more and more individual liberties away, making strides toward a nanny-state that many citizens seem to want. As has been the case throughout history, government run-amuck is glad to be a god to otherwise godless people. The way the Church has has been quick to hand the government the keys, so to speak, has been surprising (at least initially). But I digress…

We really had no way of knowing what was coming. Had you told us 10 years ago that the U.S. government would be mandating vaccines, closing businesses, instituting curfews because of an illness, most of us would have laughed at you. Except that crazy relative we each have. He would have told us that he knew these things were going to happen. And maybe he did. Who knows? But I still think he is crazy.

Our house church looked at Genesis 11 this past week, and I am pretty excited. “Why?” you ask. (Thanks for asking, by the way) In Genesis 11, we encountered a guy who has absolutely no idea what is coming. We are a handful of generations down the line from Noah (you remember, the guy from the ark during the flood…). We also are just a few hundred years or so removed from that whole Tower of Babel fiasco (what a bad idea, right!?). Onto the scene is born a fella named Terah. Let’s just take a look at the actual text of Scripture in Genesis 11 that tells us about Terah and his clan:

27 This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot. 28 And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Then 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 the father of Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. 32 So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.

Seems like a typical family with typical kinds of problems. Terah and his wife are living the dream, having a family, building a life and wealth. They have 3 boys: Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And then, even in these short sentences we see the mess trickle in…

They could not have known what was coming…

The youngest son, Haran, has a son, Lot. Where is Lot’s mom? I mean, the Scripture actually says that Abram and Nahor each got married. But there is nothing about Haran getting married. He just up and had a son! Maybe he was married. Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe his wife had died. We don’t know. And if (possibly) being a single dad isn’t tough enough, Haran dies! What the heck!? So now, Lot is fatherless (if not also motherless). Terah and Mrs. Terah are grieving the death of their son. Abram and Nahor are grieving the untimely death of their youngest brother.

For whatever reason, Terah decides to move out of Ur of the Chaldeans, a prosperous and likely highly populated city in Mesopotamia, to Haran (confusing I know – the city has the same name as the deceased son). Haran seems to have been a trading town in northern Mesopotamia or Syria, just down the Euphrates River. This route would have kept Terah and the family from having to cross the desert while coming into Canaan.

By Goran tek-en, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30851043

Nahor and his wife don’t make the trip from Ur to Haran. Why? Was there a family rift? Did he stay behind to run some kind of business? Who knows?! We don’t have a clue. But you have to figure, remembering that Terah and the fam are real people in a real time with real problems, that splitting the family up for whatever reason brought along some kind of real, human, painful baggage. One son had been lost to death. Another stayed behind in Ur. No cell phones. No land lines. No email. No USPS. Moving meant a real break, a real hinderance to the relationship, whether it was wanted or not.

Abram and his wife, Sarai, are in Haran with Dad Terah. Lot, Terah’s only apparent grandson at this point, is there, too. Good thing, I guess. Abram and Sarai can’t have children. The Bible says that Sarai was ”barren.” That sucks royally in a culture that considers barrenness to be a curse from above. Do you think Sarai felt cursed? Did she feel like less than a woman because she couldn’t get pregant? Did Abram resent Sarai? Did Sarai worry that Abram resented her? I wonder how Abram and Sarai felt about Lot? Was Abram jealous that his brother could have a son? Did he grieve when he looked at Lot because he reminded him of his brother Haran? I wonder how Abram and Sarai felt about Lot’s relationship with Terah and Mrs. Terah? For that matter, I wonder if Mrs. Terah was still alive!? She isn’t mentioned in the text either.

So many troubles in life. So many griefs and sorrows. And again, Terah’s family could not have known what was coming… The last verse of Genesis 11 says, “So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.” 205 years! That sounds like a lot to you and me. And that is a long time. Do you think Abram, Sarai, and Lot grieved? My grandfather died last year at 90 years old. Our family grieved pretty hard. It is difficult to let go of someone you love, no matter their age. It is difficult to let go of someone you love, even when you have faith in Christ. 205 years is a long time, but I bet Terah’s family grieved when he died! And I bet they felt like they did not know what was coming. Why? Because their near recent ancestors had lived into their 400s and 500s. Terah’s own grandfather had fathered children at 230 years of age. The family had no idea what was coming when Terah died.

Now, Abram and Sarai had no idea what was coming. From what little we know of Abram and Sarai at this point in the Scripture, they don’t appear connected to God at all. They have lived and loved, lost and grieved, tried to make it through life like we do. And it appears they were trying to do so as best they knew how. And doing so on their own. After all of this hardship; after all of their years of hard work; after their big move to Haran; after their accumulation of wealth there; God busts onto the scene…

And Abram and Sarai had no idea what was coming…

Genesis 12: 1a

Now the Lord had said to Abram:

To be continued…

Published by Jeff McCarty

Husband, Dad, RN Coach, Mental Health Guy, & Minister of the Good News of Jesus Christ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: