June 20, 2017 | Permalink
Not only are family lines important, so too are places. This shouldn’t surprise us. God loves places… after all He made the whole earth, the solar system and the whole cosmos! And He saw that it was good!
In Genesis times we find some places that might be odd to us in our modern world. Ur, was once such place. Let’s see what we might observe about this strange place.
Ur was the principal center of worship of the Sumerian moon god Nanna and of his Babylonian equivalent Sin in Haran. It is currently a suburb outside of Kuwait City. I should really like to visit there. North of Ur is Babylon which is near present day Baghdad. Further north along the Euphrates River (north and west) there is the biblically famous Haran. Then, as one turns south and even further west, one eventually enters the land of Canaan. It was here that Tehran had originally intended to take his family.
However, on arrival in Haran, and we’re not sure how long thereafter, Terah decides to stay put. And, it was in Haran, that Terah passed away.
Abraham had thus seen a brother pass away in Ur, of the Chaldeans and a father in Haran. Being part of southern Mesopotamia and northern Mesopotamia respectively, they were places of strong idol worship.
Mesopotamia, you might like to know, means “between the two rivers” and it is the valley between the Tigris River in the east and the Euphrates River in the west. Today, we’d find it in Iraq, southern Turkey and the eastern part of Syria. Two things are of note. First, the area of Mesopotamia and southwest along the Great Sea [which is the Mediterranean Sea] is called the Fertile Crescent. The area is watered well and things flourish. South of it is the Great Desert [Arabia] which is mostly desert and, of course, not fit for plantation, not to mention travel.
God made these places, yet they had become places of idolatry. Abram lived in these places and journeys between them. Abram leaves Ur and goes to Haran with His Father, after the death of his brother, Haran. The journey, for Abram, is significant. He leaves an area where he has seen his family, close and extended grow. It’s a rich area. He travels north with his father and other family members along the trail of the Fertile Crescent. No easy journey back then, but a journey, I am sure, where he learned a lot, yet also faced loss. All this in the midst of idolatry.
We’ll look more at Abram and his father, Tehran, tomorrow. For now, consider where you live, where you are traveling, what you are learning, and even, what you might be losing. You might have some ties to Abram!