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—  Terah  —
the  father  of  Abraham
whose personal pain sabotaged his life purpose – which is a warning to us all today!
but God's mercy was wonderfully one step ahead!
The Bible is far more than a collection of sermon texts. It gives us spiritual principles in the light of God's own character, demonstrated in His historical behaviour,
which relates directly to the very personal practical experiences of human life – of us all.
In
Genesis, Abraham's life, the lead personality in this first book of Holy Scripture in whose life the fundamental principle of a spiritual relationship to God is illustrated (namely trusting God beyond our understanding), gives us a brief detail of the practical context within which his radical spiritual pilgrimage began. It is a detail largely ignored because of its scant detail,
but its brief mention is recorded because of its significance, which is valuable for us to take serious note of today.
 
 
Abraham's father, Terah, had more than one son in their hometown of Ur in Chaldea, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). His sons were Abram, Nahor, and Haran. The Lot that we read of who travelled with Abraham to Canaan was the son of Haran.
Haran died in Ur and Terah's pain associated with that loss is a clue to what follows.
"Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans."



Genesis 11:27-28.
It is
not without significance that the Bible says that it was Terah, not Abraham, who took his family out of Ur, in what later became the start of Abraham's pilgrimage of faith. Historical research tells us that human sacrifice was practiced by the priesthood of Ur who controlled that city, and it is significant that Abraham subsequently felt responsible for Lot the son of his deceased brother Haran. Nor is it without significance that the family journey from Ur to Canaan stopped at a town called Haran and only recommenced many years later after the death of Terah.
"Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson,
and Sarai his
(Terah's) daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together
from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.
"
Genesis 11:31.
It is
written for our understanding that Joshua reminded Israel –
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates,
Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.
"
This gives more meaning to the shock effect on Terah which probably helped motivate his departure from the family's home town of Ur, for those "other gods" received human sacrifice, and it would have been the ultimate pain to Terah if this evil atrocity had been applied to his beloved son Haran!


Joshua 24:2.
 
Although in retrospect, Abraham left Ur to go to Canaan, they did not know this at that time, for the Bible says that –
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.
And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
"
In other words it started more as an evacuation of conscience from the evil of human sacrifice
rather than to a known chosen destination.
Hebrews 11:8.
It is also clear from the statement in Genesis 11 above that Terah was in-charge of this evacuation from Ur,
and it was only after Terah died in Haran many many years later that their journey to Canaan recommenced.
 
Some have argued that there could be no link between his son Haran (הָרָן) and the settlement named Haran (חָרָן) where Terah later died because of the one letter spelling difference, but they forget that within the time-frame of this unique journey of Terah, alphabetic spelling had not yet been invented. That was still a later development in the culture of Canaan in Abraham's future and therefore the later spelling difference is not relevant within its historical setting at this particular time.
This same spelling difference in principle applies between Jacob's 'Peniel' and 'Penuel'
(Genesis 32:30,31)
How
Haran died in Ur we do not know, but its Biblical association with the act of his father Terah to lead the whole family out of Ur is significant in the light of the known practice of human sacrifice in Ur at that time. This takes on more meaning if we note how long Terah then lived in Haran before he eventually died there, and that
Abram did not leave Haran to continue his journey to Canaan until Terah died.
 
 
Although the manner of Haran's premature death is not given to us, the heart-break of this loss to his father is implied in what is presented for our understanding.
 
Life in this world often does very painful things to people, and the level of emotional hurt caused is often very difficult to recover from.
 
Emotional pain is often worse than physical pain and can become a terribly debilitating factor in one's life, which it is hard for others to understand, but God is able to actually turn-the-tables on such situations and then –
 make them into an ultimate advantage when turned over to Him. 
 
For
our understanding, this happened to David who later became Israel's king. His service to their King Saul, to kill blaspheming Goliath in the stand-off between the armies of the Philistines and Israel, which made David so popular in Israel, caused jealous Saul to so hunt David like an animal that David ended up taking refuge among the Philistine enemy. And after the suicide of Saul and Israel's acceptance of David as their king, David trusted his Philistine helpers (the Cherethites and Pelethites) even more in loyalty to him than his own people and so they became his personal royal bodyguard in Israel.
God is able to turn the tables on any situation that, in childlike trust, is turned over to Him.
Even many years later, when David had succumbed to the seduction of the sharp-witted wife of Uriah,
when fully turned over to God (Psalm 51)
it resulted in the next king of Israel, from her womb (Solomon), becoming the greatest and wisest king of all Israel's history.
God is able – beyond understanding!
2 Samuel 15:18,
etc..
If Terah
had followed through in his migration from Ur and had not become emotionally bogged down in his loss of Haran, it would probably have been Terah whose example would be before us in Genesis, as trusting God beyond understanding, and be known today as the spiritual father of all those who believe.
Galatians 3:7.
 
Nevertheless, God in His infinite mercy and wisdom is always able to turn-the-tables on our pain...
and so, for those who trust Him more than themselves, likewise –
 
 
as out of Terah's pain came a migration that changed human history; for
although he failed to follow through because of his grief, his son Abraham did
and the election of Terah's descendants through Abraham and Isaac, is still today
chosen, as the handle of a cup is chosen, to lift up the entire 'cup' of humanity!
 

Abraham's Ancestry God's Election of Israel 40-years with Jethro The 2nd Temptation is Among Us

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