This is the account of Terah’s family line.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.
Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.
Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.
In chapter 11 we see God bring His focus down from all of mankind to the family of Terah. You may recall that back in Genesis chapter 2 God moved us from an overview of creation to the account of man by rotating His telephoto lens from wide angle to zoom, so to speak. In chapter 1 of Genesis God’s word is at wide angle focused on all of creation — in Genesis chapter 2, verse 8 the Bible zooms in to record that part of God’s creation that is mankind. (bennett’s blog Genesis 2:4-7)
Now in Genesis chapter 11 we’ll see God narrow His focus even further until we will find ourselves reading the story of Abram and his descendants.
As God’s focus narrows we learn about Abram’s father Terah’s family, which provides important background to several of the stories we’ll read later in Genesis.
Nahor is Abram’s brother. From the descendants of Nahor and Milkah (Milkah was Nahor’s wife) will come the wives of Isaac and Jacob. (See Terah’s Family Tree at the bottom of this post)
Abram’s other brother, Haran, the father of Lot, dies unexpectedly. Lot was apparently under Abram’s care in the absence of Haran. Abram appears to be involved in his nephew Lot’s life right up until the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (verses 27-28)
Friends Leave Unexpectedly
Haran’s unexpected death reminds me of two friends of mine John and Gale. Both firefighters known for their physical strength. Both blessed with beautiful families. Both known for their sense of humor. Both talented firefighters, veterans who were savvy at surviving the dangers they faced at work fighting fire. Both loved by their firefighter friends.
One day, on a day off, they decided to take John’s two seat Polaris RZR ATV onto some nearby mountain trails. Finding a trail through a large but steep meadow they decided to attempt to make it to the top. They were both confident that they’d be OK. They were skilled at negotiating such terrain, and besides, the ATV had seatbelts to hold them in their seats.
Up they went, the tires of the ATV slipping at times but mostly biting into the dirt and rocks, carrying John and Gale up and up and up until they reached the end of the purely vertical part of the climb.
Then at the end of the vertical part of the trail they bore to the right which took them along the top of the meadow. Not as easy as it looked, side hill and uphill at the same time, but they were handling it, continuing up until they were almost 1,000 feet above their starting point.
At which time–their left front tire hit a rock. A rock about the size of a bowling ball half submerged in the ground. The left front of the ATV bounced and lifted up until the ATV rolled over. Not so bad at first, strapped in, rolling. But as they continued down the 1,000 foot vertical meadow they gained speed. They rolled and they bounced. More speed–they bounced higher and further. Even more speed–they flew through the air. The forces from the impacts exerted upon their bodies were more than any human being could withstand, even two human beings like John and Gale, known for their physical strength, and skilled at surviving the dangers of fighting fire.
They finally came to rest against a tree.
Like Haran, they died–unexpectedly. (To learn more about John and Gale, go to MedfordFirefighters.com)
Daughter Departs Without Warning
On a rainy day, on a curvy road, my friend’s young daughter who was also my family’s baby-sitter, died in a car accident right in front of me. That same friend lost his wife in a car accident a few years earlier.
A Simple Flu Bug
A few weeks ago another friend’s teen-age son died suddenly and unexpectedly–of the flu.
Living for What Counts
While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died… (v. 28)
The fact is none of us knows when we might die. If you think you’ll get around to focusing on your relationship with God later, well… think again. Not one of us knows the day of his death.
It could happen tomorrow.
So invest in that which will will have value when you’re living in eternity, because each of us will spend eternity living with the consequences of how we spend our time and energy here, now, in this life.
Just for today, just one day, just this day–live for Christ.
You’ll spend eternity glad that you did.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
-Jesus Christ, John 6:27
Terah’s Family Tree:
[Hour glass image via: bhermans - Creative Commons]