Let me begin with a few random musings from today's reading. First, Mamre (as in the oaks of Mamre) is a person, not a place. I don't remember catching that before, which makes me wonder if "terebinths" (the word translated as "oaks") are some type of orchard trees. That would mean the Terebinths of Mamre was more of a farm than a a random forest/oasis in the wilderness. Second, I remember from my Critical Introduction to the Old Testament course that the professor pointed out the tension Genesis presents between nomads and city dwellers. The bias being that nomads must rely on God while city dwellers try to rely on themselves. I noticed that again as I was reading through today's chapters...but enough random musings.
In Genesis chapter 12 the story of Abram begins. Much like the story of humanity, Abram's story and his relationship with God is going to be a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs, but reading through the story of his calling to God's covenant with Abram in chapter 15, I couldn't help but appreciate the difficulty of Abram's predicament. Believing that God will take care of him while wandering around in hostile territory is no simple thing. Not only that, it takes time to build trust, and there isn't any specified indication that Abram knew much about God before he was told to leave his home. When Abram pretends that he isn't married to his wife so that he won't harmed by the Egyptians, which leads to the Egyptian Pharaoh taking her as a concubine, it's easy to judge Abram pretty harshly (and frankly, in our modern times, who wouldn't). At the same time, what has God done at this point in Abram's story to prove that he can be trusted? It is difficult to believe. It is difficult to trust.
Now I'm no Abram, but two and a half years ago Kalyn and I left our home to journey into unknown territory. I can honestly say I never tried to sell off Kalyn as my sister, but have I always been honest about what I really think? Have I always spoken out over disagreements when I think I should have? No, I haven't. It's not easy to trust that God will care for you when you're in a distant, unfamiliar land. It's not easy to believe. So today I'll cut Abram some slack. Today I'll admire him for his courage to try.
Stopping Point: Genesis 15