sons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth,
moved far away. They each went
to a seperate area in the
world to live. Through them
and there descendants the world
came into being.
The stories in the Old Testament
tell us about these nations.
The nations of the Israelites, Hebrews,
and Jews. The Bible tells us of
their beginnings, how they grew as
a nation, and all the hardships that
they had to face. But, remember,
the Bible is more concerned of
how we as a people have a
relationship with God. We are called
God's Chosen People, because
of this special bond with God.
God promised that He would allow
Noah's descendants to grow and
prosper and that He would help
them when they called upon Him.
In return they must obey
God and all of His commandments.
So, that through them all man
could learn to know God.
This special relationship with
God began with a man called Abram.
He was a descendant of Shem.
He and his wife, Sarai,
lived in a place called Ur.
This is in the land of Chaldees,
and is located on the Euphrates River.
Sarai and Abram had no children.
And since they were so old
they did not think they would
have any children. God spoke
to Abram and told him to move
to a new land. There he
would have a family. They
would be blessed with a great nation
and through his family future generations
would be blessed.
Abram loved God. He had promised
to do as God said. So he
gathered all his many sheep and
cattle and began his journey.
Those that went with him was Sarai,
his father Terah, a brother Nahor,
and Lot, the son of one of
his brothers who had died.
They travelled up the Euphrates
River to a place called Haran.
It was there that Terah died.
Nahor decided to stay there.
Abram continued on his journey with
Sarai and Lot. God had not told
Abram where to stop. When he
came to the land called
Caanan, God came to his tent
and told him that He was giving this
land to his children and their
families forever. This is the area
that became known as Israel.
Abram and Lot continued to raise
sheep and cattle. They had to move
around a lot in order to find
good lush ground for the animals
to feed on. They ended up going
as far away as Egypt. In Egypt they were
very successful. When they returned
to Caanan, they had so many cattle
and sheep that it was hard
to feed them. The herdsmen working for
Abram and Lot began to quarrel about
grazing rights. Abram asked Lot if
he wanted to seperate and Lot agreed.
He let Lot choose the land he
wanted. Lot choose the fertile
plain of the River Jordan and
Abram stayed in the mountains. As Lot
prospered he moved into the
city of Sodom.
Though he had chosen the richest
land, Lot found nothing but trouble
because he had settled among evil
people. First he was captured and
taken in a war. There he was forced
to become a slave. Abram heard this
and gathered his workers to free
him. There was over 300 of them.
They caught up with the conquering
army, beat them in a suprise attack
and rescued Lot and the other captives.
Abram brought Lot and the other
captives back to Sodom. The King
of the city offered him a reward,
but Abram refused. He then returned to
his home in the mountains.
By this time Abram was a very
old man indeed. God appeared to Abram and
told him more of the special
relationship that he and his
family would have with God.
First, God changed Abram's name to
Abraham, which means father
of nations. He changed Sarai's name
to Sarah, which means princess. He told
Abraham that he and Sarah
would have a son. Abraham was so astonished
that he laughed. But, God reassured
him that this would happen. That the
promises He had made to him would
continue. He was to call his son Issac.
The next time God appeared to
Abraham, he appeared as a traveler.
Abraham invited him and two other
travelers to his tent to rest and eat.
This time Sarah heard they were
to have a son. She too laughed in
astonishment. But, she was also reassured
this would happen.
When the travelers got ready
to leave, Abraham walked down the road with
them. When they reached a point where
they could look down the road and
see the city of Sodom, where
Lot lived, God told Abraham that He was
going to destroy the city along
with the nearby city of Gomorrah.
The people living there had become
too wicked. Abraham pleaded that it was not
right to destroy them all. The
good along with the bad. God
promised that He would spare
the cities if He could find ten
good people living in them. He
could not. God destroyed the city in a
great fire. Lot was rescued by two
angels who appeared at the house as travelers.
In those days Abraham, and others
that loved God, showed their love by
placing a sacrifice on an altar.
This was their gift to God.
Usually the very best of whatever
they raised. Most of the time this
was a sheep or a calf.
God knew He must keep Abraham aware
of his promises. Abraham must obey
God's commands. No matter how bad
or painful they were. This was
the only way that Abraham and
his family could understand the
seriousness of their promise to God.
God ordered Abraham to place his
son Issac upon an altar and kill
him as if he was a sheep. Abraham
was filled with grief. He had
promised to obey all of God's commands,
not just the ones that he thought was
right. He also knew that God had
promised that Issac would be a father
of a great family, which would
lead to a great nation. Perhaps he
thought God would somehow bring
Issac back to life. This was the greatest
test of faith a man could ever face.
Abraham had three days to decide what to
do and change his mind. He set out
to obey God. He traveled with Issac
to the place that God had instructed
him to go.
When they started up the mountain,
Issac asked his father, "Where is the lamb
for the offering?" Abraham replied, "My son,
God will provide Himself a lamb."
Abraham built an altar, tied his
son up, and laid him upon the altar.
As he stood with the knife in his hand,
a voice cried out. "Abraham! Abraham!"
and he replied, "Here I am."
An angel appeared and told him that
God had seen that he had not
even withheld even his only son,
whom he loved, from God.
And Issac was spared.
Then God blessed Abraham and
told him again of His great promise
that Abraham's family would be a
blessing to all people on earth.
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