Abram’s ascension from Egypt

Abram goes to Egypt The story of Abram going down to Egypt is quite a weird one, regardless of how you look at it. It is difficult to understand why it is included in Beresheit, let alone to understand what it means in the larger story in which it sits. But when you look more closely at it, certain familiar images appear which give it an authenticity and value not seen before. Continuing on from my last post, we find that when Abram finally arrives at the land God has promised him, he finds it inhabited by the Canaanites. There is little, if any, room for Abram. To make matters worse, we read next that there is a famine in the land, driving Abram and his family down to Egypt. Abram travelled 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. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his […]

Lech lecha! Get out!

Lech lecha! The way in which the story of Abraham is introduced has always fascinated me. Or rather, I should say, the way in which I have most often heard the story of Abraham introduced has always fascinated me. Abraham seems to appear, like Melchizadek, out of nowhere. Now admittedly, I have mainly only heard the story from Reformed Church preachers or Jewish rabbis. The former preach on Abraham as part of their understanding of the covenant, and the latter do so as the father of their nation, even if he runs a long second behind Moses as a founding father. And even when you read through Beresheit from the creation story, there still seems to be a hiatus between Babel and Ur. So what is the connection between Abraham and the eleven chapters that have gone before him? Is there continuity or a gap. Before I look at that, I want to look at something else in the story that also seems odd. Gen 12. The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I […]

The power of three

It’s Good Friday today, and in church this morning, the stage has been given an Easter theme with a depiction of Golgotha and three crosses. After looking at this for a moment, I suddenly had a weird thought (not too uncommon for me, I suppose) Why three crosses? Easter was, after all, about Jesus the Messiah who was crucified during the time of Pontius Pilate. It is Jesus’ death that brings forgiveness and healing to the world, only Jesus’ death. What place did the other two crosses have? Well it seems when you look back through the Bible, God often does things with three people, or three types of people. We see this fairly clearly with Abram. God comes to him and promises to bless him. But God does more than that. In Genesis 12 we read: 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 dishonours you […]

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