Hello, Scroll Eaters! Welcome to week 2 of our Bible read-through for 2011. In week 1, we covered around 2200 years. For the next 51 weeks, we’ll cover about 1800.
So here we are, roughly 1800 BC, and we meet Abram, his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot, with their families and servants. God promises Abram that He will make him a blessing to all people, he himself will be blessed, and he will be the father of a great people. So what does Abram do shortly thereafter while in Egypt to avoid famine? He puts the entire promise of a great nation from his offspring in jeopardy. He’s afraid he’ll be murdered so they can take his beautiful wife*, so he pretends they’re brother and sister so the Egyptians will spare his life. The only problem is that the Egyptians try to buy her with a wedding dowry instead. God sorts that out by plaguing Egypt until they return her and tell escort Abram and his crew out of there, and tell him to keep all the livestock, servants, and camels as a peace offering. Abram commits the sin of not trusting God’s promise in two ways – Abram has to be alive for God to keep his promise, and Sarai has to be his wife for the promise of an heir. Abram sins, but God still blesses him anyway.
Abram and Lot end up having to separate due to how wealthy each eventually grows; their flocks are huge and the land can’t support them, and their respective servants are getting in confrontations. So Abram tells Lot to choose his area and Abram will take the other. Lot chooses some great land in a plain near a city called Sodom. God then tells Abram that he will eventually own all this land and it will be his as a permanent possession (Genesis 13:14-17). Only, the thing is, Abram never owned all the land in his life, nor did Isaac, Jacob, or the nation of Israel. Has God’s promise failed? No, it just won’t be totally fulfilled until the Resurrection of the Dead. God’s promises sometimes need time.
*Many atheists (and some Christians, for that matter), have objected that Sarai, at the at of 65+, could be considered so ravenously beautiful that the entire Egyptian court could be dropping their jaws and trying to get on Pharoah’s good side by bringing her to him. With no disrespect to the numerous gorgeous sextegenarians, it’s a fair point. (I could have put this in the section on the Flood, but decided to save it for here; it was was long enough!) Skeptics point out this verse, and also point out that it’s odd the pre-Flood people waited so long to have children (Seth was 105 when his first was born, Jared was 162, Methuselah was 187, Kenan was 70, and so forth). Both of these questions have the same answer.
In the antediluvian world, age was “stretched-out.” You know how people in their 20s will often postpone marriage and child-rearing to explore the world, then settle down in their 30s? Well, if you live into your 900s, this phase could easily fit a nice hundred-year period. What’s the rush? After the Flood, life-spans taper off quickly, but Abram and Sarai were early enough that they were still long-lived. I mean, God didn’t start telling Abram about the covenant he’d make with him until Abram was 75. Abram died at 175, and Sarai died young at 127. So, if 70 is the “promised age,” and we scale it back, Sarai at 65+ would look like a 30-40 year-old of our time? I’d say it’s very possible Sarai could have had breathtaking beauty.
For tomorrow, my dear friends, we read Genesis 14-16.
The Lord bless you and keep you.