It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”
One day, a man stepped outside his door, and was swept onto a strange journey that crossed several countries. When he started, he certainly didn’t know where he would be swept off to, and perhaps, if Bilbo was advising him, might this man have looked at him with grave eyes, or would it have been merry eyes? His name was Abram. In time, he was given a new name, Abraham, and become well-known to billions of people across the centuries.
And why did Abram step out his door and onto the road? YHVH told him. Moses recorded in the twelfth chapter of Genesis Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,Genesis 12:1-3
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Looking at this message, Abram was given a command, admittedly a difficult command. To make it interesting and worth his investment in obedience and time, Abram was given promises that were very great indeed. In the previous chapter (chapter 11), we read that Abram left Ur Kasdim and went to Haran. From Haran, he went south into Canaan to Shechem. There, as recorded in Genesis 12:7 “[t]he Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.”
Before Abram heard YHVH. Now, at Shechem, YHVH appeared to Him and confirmed that the land of Canaan would indeed be given to him and his descendants. Indeed, Abram had been swept from Ur Kasdim off to Canaan, and rewarded with a personal appearance by YHVH!