Do you have interests and abilities that aren’t being used? Does life seem to fly by without any purpose? Are you confused about what God is doing with your life? If so, you are not alone. Many people have these thoughts and I believe many Biblical characters had these thoughts.
For those of us having these thoughts, we want hope. We want hope that our life has meaning and that eventually things will make sense. One way to gain hope is to study the life of Abram. In hindsight, Abram’s life had great purpose, but as Abram lived his life, there had to be times that he had doubts. Let’s look at Abram and see how his life gives us reason to have hope for our lives.
For context, look at the words in red in the following verses. How old were these men when their descendant was born?
Gen. 11:10-11 ¶ These are the records of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old, and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; and Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:12-13 ¶ Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and became the father of Shelah;and Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Shelah, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:14-15 ¶ Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber; and Shelah lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Eber, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:16-17 ¶ Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg; and Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:18-19 ¶ Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu; and Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after he became the father of Reu, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:20-21 ¶ Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug; and Reu lived two hundred and seven years after he became the father of Serug, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:22-23 ¶ Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor; and Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and he had other sons and daughters.
Gen. 11:24-25 ¶ Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah; and Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and he had other sons and daughters.
Other than Seth, all these men were between 29 and 35 years old when their descendant was born. Now look at Terah. How old was he?
Gen. 11:26 ¶ Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Terah was 70 when his sons were born. Keep this in mind and keep reading. Who were Haran and Lot? What happened to Haran?
Gen. 11:27 ¶ Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot.
Gen. 11:28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.
Gen. 11:29 Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.
Gen. 11:30 Sarai was barren; she had no child.
Haran was Terah’s son. Lot was Terah’s grandson. Haran died young. What did Terah do after Haran died? How old was he when he did it?
Gen. 11:31-32 Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Terah moved his family from Ur to Haran. The Bible doesn’t tell us how old he was; however, he was at least 70 when Haran was born and there had to be enough time for Haran to grow up and father Lot. Therefore, Terah had to have been at least 100 years old when he moved from Ur to Haran.
Next, the Bible tells us that Abram completed the move to Canaan. How old was he when he moved and what significant promises did Yahweh make to Abram at that age?
Gen. 12:1 ¶ Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;
Gen. 12:2 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;
Gen. 12:3 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.”
Gen. 12:4 ¶ So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Gen. 12:5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
Abram was 75 when he left Haran and moved to Canaan. At this point in his life Abram was childless, but Yahweh promised to make him into a great nation and to bless all the families of the earth through Abram.
Here is what we know. Terah was over 100 years old when he moved from Ur to Haran. Men were fathering children as young as age 30; therefore, age 100 was advanced in years. It is 600 miles from Ur to Haran and they didn’t have motorized vehicles, so this was not a minor life change, this was a major change at a later stage of life.
We also know that Abram was 75 when he moved. It is 400 miles from Haran to Canaan and he moved without motorized vehicles; therefore, his move was also a significant life change at a later stage of life. And we know that Abram was going to experience even more change later in his life because Yahweh had promised to make him into a great nation and at that point Abram was childless.
Yahweh had a purpose for Abram’s life: God was going to use Abram and his descendants to bless all the families of the earth. Abram was 75 when he learned how Yahweh was going to use him and he was even older before he had any descendants who could turn into a great nation. In other words, Yahweh waited until Abram was old to act on His purpose for Abram’s life.
Just as God waited until Abram was old, so too God may be waiting till a later stage of our lives to use our full potential. This should give us hope for our lives. Consider the following verse.
Rom. 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
If you ever feel discouraged with your life, read the Old Testament scriptures and see what Abram, Moses, David and others experienced in their lives. They were often discouraged, but they persevered, and their experiences give us hope as we go through our lives and experience our discouragement.
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