I’m a slow reactor. I don’t jump when someone leaps out from a corner and says, “Boo!” It’s frustrated my girls for years. I touch a hot iron, and when the smoke begins to rise, I think, “Hmmm, I should take my finger off that iron.” I eat three bites of something green and slimy before I realize I don’t really like cooked spinach. Get the picture?
Well, my maternal instincts were no different. It took a few years before my “Mama Bear” claws grew to full length – but when they did…they were razor sharp. It happened when our oldest daughter, Trina, was a freshman in summer volleyball. League rules stated every kid played equal time. Trina’s coach missed that line in her contract and decided to play everyone except my daughter and one other girl in the tournament. I was livid and went to the ladies’ room to cool down after the first game – which happened to be in the girls’ locker room. I was sitting in the stall – minding my own business – when I heard my daughter’s coach screaming in the locker room at a couple of girls about their pathetic attitudes, how they should be team-players and stop moping about sitting the bench. I walked out of the stall and saw my daughter and the other “bench-warmer” in tears. Boing! Out came the Mama-bear claws! I ripped that coach to shreds with every ounce of pent up maternal instinct. It was ugly. But here’s the worst part. I was so upset, shaking so badly, crying uncontrollably – I had to walk off my anger, and I missed the rest of the tournament games! I don’t even know if Trina got to play. So what started as a righteous cause, ended as an abandoned rescue because my emotions got the better of me. I started slow, peaked, and finished weak. Ugh. But our Heavenly Father doesn’t have issues of delayed reactions and pent up emotion. He works patiently with His children and their children’s children to complete the plan He ordained. First, He created. Then, He began anew. Now, He waits patiently with purpose….
Gen. 11:10-26 – “This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters. When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters. When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters. When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters. When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters. When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters. After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.” (emphasis added)
- We know from Gen. 10:25 that Peleg was named such because “in his time the earth was divided” – so Babel occurred approximately 101 years after the flood. The total of all bold numbers indicate 292 years between the flood and Abram’s birth. I’ve never been a math gal, so all this is leading to a point. Though God didn’t seem to have fellowship with humankind at Babel, he hadn’t given up. He was patient in His plan of redemption. But the waiting wasn’t pleasant. Humankind remained distant from their Creator, and the life spans from Shem to Abram decreased. Shem lived 500 years, but Abram’s grandfather, Nahor, lived only 119. Imagine the despair of every generation seeing many of their own children die before them. Imagine the looming feeling of doom. The world may have seemed far from God and hopeless, but God was systematically moving toward Abram – the man through whom a nation would bless the world.
Gen. 11:27-32 – “This is the account of Terah. 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 Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no children. 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 Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.”
- Gotta think ancient Mid-eastern culture here. No airplanes. No McDonalds. No police protection. Terah’s youngest son, Haran, died and left three children – Lot, Milcah and Iscah. Milcah was evidently old enough to marry Abram’s brother, Nahor (her uncle – ick…think ancient Mid-eastern culture, remember). Who knows what happened to the other sister, Iscah, but Papaw Terah flies the Ur coop with Son Abram, daughter-in-law, Sarai, and grandson, Lot. The whole caravan is all revved up to go to Canaan, but they run out of steam by the time they reach Haran (the city name is spelled differently in Hebrew than Terah’s dead son’s name). Ask yourself. What drove Terah from Ur in the first place? Why not take Nahor and Milcah? Why didn’t he take his other grand-daughter, Iscah, too? What family issues boiled beneath the surface? Sounds like a bad soap opera, doesn’t it? But my point is that Abram, the man God chose to bring His Covenant Promise to the world, came from a complex, mixed up family.
Lord, there’s a lot of family baggage that could impede my progress on life’s journey. My heart bears scars that can distort my view of Your map. Open the eyes of my heart to see Your way clearly. I don’t want to stop before I reach the fullness of blessing You have planned for me. Lord, I want to finish strong, regardless of family obligation or strongholds. The only way I can do that is through Your strength – not mine.
How has God shown Himself faithful in bringing YOU out of a tough family situation?