Saturday, July 24, 2010

Small beginnings

Genesis 11 is a watershed of sorts. In the beginning of the chapter, we see that sin has spread throughout the world. Not only has it separated humans from God, husband from wife, brother from brother, humans from the natural world, it now separates one group of humans from another. Think of all the hurt that comes from "our group against your group" kinds of thinking. Northern Ireland. Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. Rwandan genocide. Apartheid. The KKK. White Supremacists. The Black Panthers. 9/11. Every one of these and thousands more come from our group is different from your group thinking.

Sin has spread throughout the world at this point and has gained momentum that will not quit.

But God has a plan. In Genesis 11:27-31 it begins. Out of Ur of the Chaldees, just at the southern end of the Plain of Shinar where that tower of Babel incident occurred, lives a man named Terah.

Never heard of Terah? Not surprising. His name only occurs in those genealogies that we blip over when we read the Bible. But if you haven't done it yet, read what the Bible says about Terah.

God wanted to bring Abraham and Sarah to the land of Canaan, but it begins with a family move. Maybe the economy was better in Haran. Maybe Terah had itchy feet and was tired of Ur and all those Chaldeans. Maybe he got publicly disgraced somehow and needed to leave town. In any case, he takes his family, including the memory of his dead son, and moves. We don't know if Haran is named for Terah's son or if it had that name before. Maybe Terah renamed the settlement once he got there, or maybe the name was a sign from God that his family should settle there for a while. Doesn't matter. Out of these small beginnings -- one family moving from one end of the Euphrates Valley to the other -- God has begun to address the problem of sin.

Don't despise the day of small beginnings. Don't think the circumstances of your life are random. God is at work.

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