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How Obedient was Abraham?

November 5, 2009

abraham2‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go’.

Am I alone in thinking that the order of the forsaking is unusual? Surely it makes more sense to build up from family, people and country, particularly when the promise is firstly to a land and then to a new family.

Of course it could be a reflection of the patriarchal society, or could it be that God knew that the leaving of the father’s household would be the hardest for Abraham.

So hard, in fact, that Abraham disobeyed – he takes Lot. Verse 4 says expressly that he left as God had told him, and Lot went with him. Terah was still alive in Haran apparently so he could have stayed behind. If he had he wouldn’t have been about to cause the heartache he caused later in the story.

Furthermore, verse 5 says Sarai his wife went with him, but repeats the fact that Lot went with him, and that he took all the possessions he had accumulated and the people they had acquired.

So did Abraham obey only partially? Or conditionally? Did he lack the courage at this stage to be wholly and radically obedient? And did his partial obedience store up issues for later?

Not that I’d ever do anything like that!

From → Genesis, Theology

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