“These are the descendants of Terach. Terach begat Abram, Nachor, and Haran and Haran begat Lot. Haran died before the face of Terach, his father. It was in the land of his descendants, in Ur of the Kasdiym.”
As we have mentioned, the scriptures are transitioning us from the life of Noah to the life of Abraham. Terach had three sons, but it would only be Abraham that is the line through which God will work, calling Abraham’s descendants to himself. These verses and the verses that follow really mark the setting apart of Abraham from his brothers — the first of his brothers, Haran, died at an unrecorded age in the land of his children. No children are mentioned by name as they are not connected to the covenantal line, but the text indicates their presence.
In Hebrew, the name of their homeland is MyIÚdVcAÚk (Kasdiym), and typically that is recognized to be the land of the Chaldeans, the predecessors of the later Babylonians. This is likely a connection back to Babel and the tower that those who dwelled in that area were seeking to build. We are introduced to Haran’s son, Lot, whose name refers to a covering or a wrapping over top of something. Lot will be taken in by Abram and Sarai and thus we know a great deal more about this man and his family (though much of it is not good), but we get ahead of ourselves.
For now, God is situating Abram to be separated from his people back in Ur. One step at a time, he is preparing to take this man and his wife on a journey of a lifetime — a journey of covenantal promise. For those who doubt the election of God, this is one of portions of scripture that must not be ignored. Here is a God who is intentionally separating a man and his line from all the rest of his family to be the bearer of the covenant. That, my friends, is election, plain and simple.
Yet, we would be remiss if we did not bring out a final principle by way of reminder. When God calls a person to follow, we must follow. He expects obedience from his own. Does that obedience characterize your life? If not, repent and follow the calling of the King of Kings wherever that may lead you.
“And the words were very evil in the eyes of Abraham on account of his son.”
In the context, Sarah has seen the ridicule that is coming from Hagar and Ishmael and asks Abraham to cast out both from his household. Ultimately, the promise is to be through Isaac, not Ishmael, and thus allowing Ishmael to stay would threaten the claim of Isaac. Such must not be. Yet, Ishmael is still Abraham’s son…
In our discussions of God’s promise to Isaac and all of the good things that God was doing in his covenantal line, we sometimes forget to remember that Ishmael was Abraham’s son too and that Abraham was a father just like any other father, and thus had feelings toward his son. Here is the point where this first child of his is about to be cast from his presence forever. He has lost Lot, his nephew (whom he had raised for much of his life) to sin after the destruction of Sodom and now he is losing Ishmael. No one must share in the covenantal promise that is directed rightly at Isaac.
God’s promise and blessing to Abraham is a wonderful promise, but we sometimes forget that with God’s promises often comes a sacrifice. For Abraham, in this case, the sacrifice was of his firstborn son being cast out because he threatened the claim of Isaac to the covenantal promise of God.
How often God demands sacrifices from us as well. Perhaps none are as great as this, perhaps they are. Yet God says to us, “trust my design, for it is good.” Often, like Abraham at this moment, the design of God does not look good to us, but sounds downright evil. Yet God says, “trust me.” The question we must ask is whether or not we will trust him and whether we will walk forward in obedience to his calling. My prayer, beloved, is that we learn trust even in the presence of those things that by every human standard, we perceive to be evil.
“As Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, in like manner committing sexual sin and going after each other’s flesh, they are set before you as an example of suffering justice and eternal fire.”
Thirdly, Jude deals with the sin of sexual immorality by pointing to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This destruction is only a shadow of the destruction that will come on the ungodly in final judgment, for at that time the fire of judgment will be eternal.
Friends, we live in a culture that glorifies sexual immorality, not unlike the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our culture has rejected the idea that sexuality is meant to be enjoyed within the confines of a marriage relationship. To understand why this is, we must understand what sexuality represents. Sexual relations between a husband and his wife represent the sealing of their marriage covenant, which is why we say that a marriage is not consummated until after sexual relations have occurred. Covenants, both in Biblical language and in the larger ancient world, were confirmed by the shedding of blood. The shedding of blood when a husband takes his wife in sexual relations and her hymen is broken is representative of the confirmation of this covenant. Afterwards, when a husband and a wife come together to the marriage bed, they are renewing the covenant which they made with each other before God.
This is why marital infidelity is so heinous in the eyes of God. For not only does it break the emotional and spiritual trust that is to be held within a family relationship, but it is a breaking of the covenant which was made by bringing someone who is not a member of the covenant into the covenant relationship. This is also why pre-marital sex is considered a sin, for it pretends to confirm a covenant that has never been made.
Throughout scripture, God uses the illustration of marriage to represent his covenant with his people. He is the faithful husband and Israel is the wife who falls repeatedly into sin. When the church worships idols, she brings an outsider into the marriage bed. To confirm the covenant with his people, God shed his own blood—the blood of Christ on the cross—thus, when God’s people fall into idolatry, they are simply playing at a covenant that does not exist.
Just as God uses the illustration of marriage to represent his relationship to the church, his faithfulness in his marriage to the church is to be modeled in the marriages of his people. Given that we live in a culture where the divorce rate amongst believers is as high as it is in the culture, it would seem that we don’t tend to take this very seriously. Friends, the faithfulness that you demonstrate within your marriage sends a message to the world about what you think of God’s faithfulness. If you want to send a message to the world that we must take our covenant with God seriously, then you must do so by demonstrating to the world how you take your covenant with your spouse seriously.
The sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah and the sexual immorality of our culture today mocks the covenant relationship that God has with his people. It makes light of the blood that was shed to confirm such a covenant. And, it downplays the idea of the covenant itself. The penalty for these two wicked cities and for all of the surrounding cities was for God to rain down fire upon them, wiping them from the face of the earth. And, this is the same judgment that faces those in our own culture that chase after sexual immorality—in the day of judgment. Our culture has exchanged the truth of God for a lie. We have adopted the idea that momentary pleasure is better than lasting pleasure and physical pleasure is better than spiritual pleasure. The pleasure that God offers in himself is eternal and infinitely satisfying. The pleasures of the flesh are fleeting and leave you unsatisfied and with a guilty conscience. Which will you chose?