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Lech Lecha

The opening three verses of this week's parashah sets the stage for today.  Genesis 12:1-3 reads, " Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; 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; 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."

Notice that G-d's promise is to bless those who bless Abraham and to curse the one who curses him.  Today, Christians and Jewish people bless Abraham's offspring, Israel.  Only Islam curses her.  And so, Islam shall forever be cursed by G-d.

"Get up and go" is the opening commandment of HaShem to His not yet faithful servant Abram.  He told him to go away from his land, from his relatives and from his father's house and to go only to the land that G-d would show him!  Oh, how often does G-d so instruct us and we falter and whine; "But L-rd, please show me where You want me to go and what You want me to do."  G-d gave Abram no clue as to where he was to go or of how he would live; only that he was to go and to trust G-d to provide the destination and his destiny.

Abram was already seventy-five years old when he began this great adventure.  He took with him his wife, his nephew and "all of the souls they had made in Haran."  It seems that while a sojourner in his father's household in the city of Haran, Abram had brought to faith in the G-d of Abram, a number of Gentiles. These he took with him along the way he was to go.

Barely had he entered the land to which he was sent than G-d appeared to him with His promise, found in verse 7: "To your descendants  I will give this land." And now, today, the descendents of Abram dwell in the land of that very promise.  G-d's word is always true.

After their sojourn into Egypt because of a famine, Abram and all of his family and possessions returned to the Land, but there was trouble brewing among the people.  So, in chapter 13 verses 5-9, we read: "Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.  And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together.  And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. Now the  Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.  So  Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.  'Is not the whole land before you?  Please separate from me; if {to} the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left."   Abram was following after the L-rd of Hosts who had told him that He would show Abram the place he was to go as he went.  Lot was following after Abram.  And so, rather than showing honor to his uncle, Lot chose the place that was settled with many people and that was filled with activities that would give him great pleasure.  And, once again, when Lot had departed, HaShem confirmed His covenant with Abram.

Well, it doesn't take long for the inevitable to occur.  Lot gets into much trouble and was captured by warring kings.  When news of this came to Abram, he gathered his 318 mighty men and went after these forces who had defeated a great city.  When he had destroyed the enemies and was returning to take Lot home, he was met by the king of Salem, which means Peace.  His name in your Bible is Melchizedek, but in Hebrew, it is actually Melech Tzadik, which means "king of Righteousness."  The king honored Abram and Abram showed reverence by giving him a tithe.  The king, in an act of reciprocal honor, offered him all of the spoils except the people.  You see, the King of Righteousness isn't interested in our "stuff" he only want those who will serve Him!  Abram refused to take anything back that he had given to the King.  So should we!

The last story in this portion is of Sarah giving her maidservant to Abram from whom she hoped to receive a son.  Well, you know how that worked out and the lessons in this part are well known.  But the morale of that story is simply this; "let G-d be god!"

Keep praying.

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