Story Five

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 5
NOT far from the city of Băb́ y̆˗lon, where they began to build the tower of Bā́ bel, was another city, called Ûr of the Chăĺdes. The Chăĺ dees̞ were the people who lived in the country which was called Chăĺ dea, where the two rivers Eū-phrā́ tēs̝ and Tigris come together. Among these people, at fir, was living a man named Ā́ brăm. Ā́ brăm was a good man, for he prayed to the Lord God, and tried always to do God's will.
But the people who lived in Ûr, Ā́ brăm home, did not pray to God. They prayed to idols, images made of wood and stone: They thought that these images were gods, and that they could hear their prayers and could help them. And as these people who worshipped idols did not call on God, they did not know his will, and they did many wicked things.
The Lord saw that Abram was good and faithful, though wicked people were living all around him. And God did not wish to have Ā́ brăm’s family grow up in such a place, for then they too might become wicked. So the Lord spoke to Ā́ brăm, and said:
"Ā́ brăm, gather together all your family and go out from this place, to a land far away, that I will show you. And in that land I will make your family to become a great people, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that all the world shall give honor to your name. If you will do as I command you, you shall be blessed, and all the families of the earth shall obtain a blessing through you.”
Ā́ bram did not know just what this blessing meant that God promised to him. But we know that Ā́ brăm’s family grew after many years into the Ĭś̝ ra-el-īte people, out of whom came Jesus, the Savior of the world, for Jesus was a descendant of Ā́ brăm: that is, Jesus came a long time afterward from the family of which Ā́ brăm was the father; and thus Ā́ brăm’s family became a blessing to all the world by giving to the world a Savior.
Although Ā́ brăm did not know just what the blessing was to be that God promised to give him, and although he did not know where the land lay, to which God was sending him, he obeyed God's word. He took all his family, and with them his father Terah, who was very old, and his wife, whose name was Sā́ rāi; and his brother Nā́ hôr and his wife, and another brother's son whose name was Lŏt; for Lot's father, Hā́ ran, who was the younger brother of Ā́ brăm, had died before this time. And Abram took all that he had, his tents, and his flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and went forth on a long journey, to a land of which he did not even know the name.
He journeyed far up the great river Eū-phrā́ tēs̝ to the mountain region, until he came to a place called Hā́ ran, in a country called Mĕs-o-po-tá mĭ-ȧ. The word Mĕs-o-po-tá mĭ-ȧ means "between the rivers"; and this country was between the two great rivers Tī́ gris and Eū-phrā́ tes̝. At Hā́ ran they all stayed for a time. Perhaps they stopped there because Terah, the father of Abram, was too old to travel further; for they stayed at Hā́ran until Tḗ rah died.
After the death of Tḗ rah, his father, Abram again went on his journey, and Lŏt, his brother's son, went with him; but Nā́ hôr, Ā́ brăm's brother, stayed in Hā́ ran, and his family, and children, and children's children, whom they call "his descendants," lived at Hā́ ran for many years.
From Hā́ ran, Ā́ brăm and Lot turned toward the southwest, and journeyed for a long time, having the mountains on their right hand and the great desert on their left. They crossed over rivers; and climbed the hills, and at last they came into the land of Cā́ năan, which was the land of which God had spoken to Ā́ brăm. This land was called Cā́ năan, because the people who were living in it were the descendants, or children's children, of a man who had lived long before, whose name was Cắnăan. A long time after this it was called "the Land of Ĭs̝-rá el," from the people who lived in it; and because in that same land the Lord Jesus lived many years afterward; we now call it "The Holy Land.”
When Ā́ brăm came into the land of Cá năan, he found in it a few cities and villages of the Cā́ năan˗ītes. But Ā́ brăm and his people did not go into the towns to live. They lived in tents, out in the open fields, where they could find grass for their sheep and cattle. Not far from a city called Shḗ chem, Ā́ brăm set up his tent under an oak tree on the plain. There the Lord came to Ā́ brăm, and said: "I will give this land to your children, and to their children, and this shall be their land forever.”
And Ā́ brăm built there an altar, and made an offering, and worshipped the Lord. Wherever Ā́ brăm set up his tent, there he built his altar and prayed to God; for Abram loved God, and, served God, and believed God's promises.
Ā́ brăm and Lot moved their tents and their flocks to many places, where they could find grass for their flocks and water to drink. At one time they went down to the land of Ḗ ġy̆pt, where they saw the great river Nile. Perhaps they saw also the Pyramids, and the Sphinx, and the wonderful temples in that land, for many of them were built before Ā́ brăm lived.
Ā́ brăm did not stay long in the land of Ḗġ y̆pt. God did not wish him to live in a land where the people worshipped idols; so God sent Ā́ brăm back again to the land of C ā́năan, where he could live apart from cities, and bring up his servants and his people to worship the Lord. He came to a place where afterward a city called Bethel stood; and there as before he built an altar and prayed to the Lord.
Now Let, the son of Ā́ brăm's younger brother who had died, was with Ā́ brăm; and Lŏt, like Ā́ brăm, had flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and many tents for his people. Ā́ brăm’s shepherds and Lŏt's shepherds quarreled, because there was not grass enough in one place for both of them to feed their flocks; and besides these people, the Cā́ năan˗ītes were also in the land, so that there was not room for them all.
When Ā́ brăm heard of the quarrel between his men and the men under Lot, he said to Lŏt:
"Let there be no quarrel between you and me, nor between your men and my men; for you and I are like brothers to each other. The whole land is before us; let us go apart. You shall have the first choice, too. If you will take the land on the right hand, then I will take the land on the left; or if you choose the left hand, then I will take the right.”
This was noble and generous in Ā́ brăm, for he was the older, and might claim the first choice. Then, too, God had promised all the land to Ā́ brăm, so that he might have said to Lŏt, "Go away, for this land is all mine." But Ā́ brăm showed a kind, good heart in giving to Lŏt his choice of the land.
And Lot looked over the land from the mountain where they were standing, and saw down in the valley the river Jôŕ dan flowing, between green fields, where the soil was rich. He saw the cities of Sŏd́ om and Gō̇-mŏŕ rah upon the plain, near the head of the Dead Sea, into which the Jordan flows. And Lŏt said, "I will go down yonder to the plain.”
And he went down the mountain to the plain, with his tents and his men, and his flocks of sheep and his cattle, leaving the land on the mountains, which was not so good, to his uncle Abram. Perhaps 'At did not know that the people in Sŏd́ om were the most wicked of all the people in the land; but he went to live near them, and gradually moved his tent closer to Sŏd́ om, until after a time he was living in that wicked city.
After Lŏt had separated from Ā́ brăm, God said to Ā́ brăm: "Lift up your eyes from this place, and look east and west, and north and south. All the land that you can see, mountains and valleys and plains, I will give it to you, and to your children, and their children, and those who come after them. Your descendants shall have all this land, and they shall be as many as the dust of the earth; so that if one could count the dust of the earth, they could as easily count those who shall come from you. Rise up, and walk through the land wherever you please, for it is all yours."
Then Ā́ brăm moved tent from Bĕth́-el, and went to live near the city of Hḗbron, in the south, under an oak tree; and there again he built an altar to the Lord.
Lesson 3. Abram.
(Tell Stories 4 and 5. It might be well to end the story, for the present, at the foot of page 52, and leave
the story of Lot for the next lesson.)
1. What was the name of the first large city built after the great flood? Babel, afterward called Babylon.
2. What happened to the people who were building a great tower in this city? They could not understand each other's speech.
3. What did these people of different languages do? They went away to different lands.
4. Who was Abram? A good man, who prayed to God.
5. To what did all the other people of Abram's time pray? To gods of wood and stone.
6. What did God tell Abram to do? To go to a land far away.
7. What was God's promise to Abram? "I will be with thee and bless thee.”
8. To what land did Abram go, obeying God's word? To the land of Canaan.
9. How did Abram and his family live in the land of Canaan? In tents, moving from place to place.
10. What did Abram build whenever he set up his tent? An altar for prayer to God.