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THE STORY OF A LONG JOURNEY
Genesis xi: 27, to xiii: 18.
OT far from the city of Babylon, where they began to
build the tower of Babel, was another city, called Ur
of the Chaldees. The Chaldees were the people who
lived in the country which was called Chaldea, where
the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris come together.
Among these people, at Ur, was living a man named Abram.
Abram 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 Ur, Abram's 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 God saw that Abram was good and faithful, though
wicked people were living all around him. And God did not wish
to have Abram's family grow up in such a place, for then they too
might become wicked. So the Lord spoke to Abram, and said:
"Abram, 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
Abram did not know just what this blessing meant that God
promised to him. But we know that Abram's family grew after
many years into the Israelite people, out of whom came Jesus,
the Saviour of the world, for Jesus was a descendant of Abram:
that is, Jesus came a long time afterward from the family of which
 Abram was the father; and thus Abram's family became a blessing
to all the world by giving to the world a Saviour.
A NATIVE OF EGYPT AND HIS WATER BOTTLE
Although Abram 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 Sarai; and his
brother Nahor and his wife, and
another brother's son whose name was Lot; for
Lot's father, Haran, who was the younger brother of
Abram, 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
He journeyed far up the great river Euphrates to the mountain
region, until he came to a place called Haran, in a country
called Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means "between the
rivers"; and this country was between the two great rivers Tigris
and Euphrates. At Haran 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 Haran until Terah died.
 After the death of Terah, his father, Abram again went on
his journey, and Lot, his brother's son, went with him; but Nahor,
Abram's brother, stayed in Haran, and his family, and children,
and children's children, whom they call "his descendants," lived
at Haran for many years.
From Haran, Abram 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
Canaan, which was the land of which God had spoken to Abram.
This land was called Canaan, 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 Canaan. A long time
after this it was called "the Land of Israel," 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 Abram came into the land of Canaan, he found in it a
few cities and villages of the Canaanites. But Abram 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 Shechem, Abram set up his tent
under an oak tree on the plain. There the Lord came to Abram,
"I will give this land to your children, and to their children,
and this shall be their land forever."
And Abram built there an altar, and made an offering, and
worshipped the Lord. Wherever Abram 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.
Abram 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 Egypt, 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 Abram lived.
THE SPHINX AND PYRAMID IN EGYPT
Abram did not stay long in the land of Egypt. God did not
wish him to live in a land where the people worshipped idols;
so God sent Abram back again to the land of Canaan, 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 Lot, the son of Abram's younger brother who had died,
was with Abram; and Lot, like Abram, had flocks of sheep and herds
of cattle, and many tents for his people. Abram's shepherds and
Lot'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 Canaanites were also in the land, so that there was not
room for them all.
When Abram heard of the quarrel between his men and the
men under Lot, he said to Lot:
"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 Abram, for he was the older,
and might claim the first choice. Then, too, God had promised
all the land to Abram, so that he might have said to Lot, "Go away,
for this land is all mine." But Abram showed a kind, good heart
in giving to Lot 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 Jordan flowing
between green fields, where the soil was rich. He saw the cities
of Sodom and Gomorrah upon the plain, near the head of the Dead
Sea, into which the Jordan flows. And Lot 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 Lot did not know that the people in Sodom 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 Sodom, until after a time
he was living in that wicked city.
After Lot had separated from Abram, God said to Abram:
"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 Abram moved his tent from Bethel, and went to live
near the city of Hebron, in the south, under an oak tree; and there
again he built an altar to the Lord.