121 YHWH said to Abram: Go forth from the soil of your homeland, your kinfolk, and your father’s house to a place I will let you see. 2 I will make you a great nation; there I will bless you and make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 Those who bless you, I will bless; those who curse you, I will damn. All the clans of earth will find their blessing through you. 4 Abram went forth as YHWH said; Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old. 5 And Abram took his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and all their possessions, including those added to the household while they were in Haran. They set out for Canaan. They came to Canaan. 6 Abram traveled through the land, as far as Shechem and the Oak of Moreh. There were Canaanites in the land. 7 YHWH was seen by Abram and said, “I give this land to your seed.” Abram built an altar there to YHWH, whom he had seen. 8 He moved on to the mountains east of Bethel and pitched his tent between Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar to YHWH and called out YHWH’s name. 9 Then Abram successively journeyed on to the dry Negeb.
We are moving out of archetypes into the details of particular people. This does not mean less ambiguity or mixture of motives. A dive into more details does not lessen the need for a creative imagination, but a willingness to tie our reading to our living. One of the largest considerations to take into account is an underlying methodology of the recorders that privileges a patriarchal paradigm. Readers will need to continually see beyond the temptation to turn this narrative choice into a theory of what is “natural.”
A first act of eventually finding meaning in one’s own backyard is to quest forward. There are many motives for finally acting on behalf of a promised blessing somewhere down the line. Power of being a great nation certainly plays its part in any fancy of being in a better position. Honor has its part to play as we are justly recognized for the wonder we are. It is a leap of another kind to be a source of blessing to, for, with, and among others that does not rely upon authority or integrity of self. Blessing is a call to wholeness, a partnership that relies on more than the wisp of vanity of passing power and/or honor.
A focus on blessing is like a rainbow after the curses related to East of Eden, Lamech, and Canaan. In particular, in a post-Flood earth, the latest curse of Canaan is being mitigated by a second decree to rectify a hasty first response.
We will have to wait and see, but the early sign is one of difficulties to come as the blessing is for one’s own who will colonize the Canaanites rather than bless them as the Canaanites they are.
The interplays between Abram, Sarai, and Lot will carry all the familial misunderstandings of role and person that each has and inhabits.
We begin lightly with a tent and a traveling by stages to the clarifying wilderness of the Negeb. The quest begins with a promise of blessing and a horizon of briar, challenges, and risk of missteps.