| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 43 - Page 59 of 243 Index | Zoom | |
The old man.
It is very evident when we compare Acts 7: 2, 3 with Gen. 12: 1 that the Lord
spoke to Abram twice. Gen. 12: adds to Acts 7: by saying not only "country" and
"kindred", but "thy father's house". In the first movement, instead of leaving his father's
house we find Terah, his father, accompanying Abram.
"And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his
daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the
Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there"
(Gen. 11: 31).
Here Abram is seen leaving his native land, and Stephen declares that "he came out of
the land of the Chaldeans", but we feel a little uneasy about the presence of Terah and
Lot in the face of the command "from thy kindred". Notice the failure also in the
abortive effort suggested in the words:
"And they went forth with them . . . . . to go into the land of Canaan; and they came
unto Haran, and dwelt there."
If the map is consulted it will be seen that Abram and Terah made a journey of some
600 miles, but when they stayed at Haran they were still on the same side of the
Euphrates. The lesson is repeated at the time of the Exodus. Nothing but a "three days
journey" could satisfy the command of God, and Pharaoh, it will be remembered, tried to
play the part of Terah by suggesting first that Israel should worship God "in the land",
and then, this being rejected, that Israel should go "not very far off", anything except that
which set forth resurrection ground. In spite of the 600 miles journey, Abram was no
nearer entering the inheritance. He must cross the river. He must become "Abram the
Hebrew", the one who "crossed over". This, however, could not take place while Terah
lived. Stephen's words echo the doctrine of Rom. 6: when he said, "When his father
was dead, he removed him into this land". Terah stands for the old man, and the old man
is a hinderer. Not until we can realize that our old man has been crucified, and that we
are alive unto God, can we proceed.
The second movement sees Abram leaving Haran and his father's house, and actually
entering the land of Canaan. Then to him is made the great seven-fold covenant.
Famine, however, soon puts Abram to the test. A question which perhaps cannot be
answered presents itself. Had Lot not been with Abram, would Abram have stood true?
The analogy of Israel in the wilderness gives light. Just as Abram took Lot with him
across the Euphrates, so we read in Exod. 12: 38, "A mixed multitude went up also with
them". And just as trouble with Lot and the latter's inability to resist the well-watered
plain of Sodom was directly connected with flocks and herds, so with this mixed
multitude is enumerated "flocks, and herds, even very much cattle". Numb. 11: 4, 5
reveals the evil effect of this company: