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Desert Tales1
by tope Ogundare
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My name is Abraham.

Born as Abram. Abram ben Terah.

I am from the middle east, the old world. Specifically from Ur of the chaldees in Mesopotamia, current day Iraq. I hear the place is now a war zone and always at the centre of controversy in international circles. Such a pity, it used to be a peaceful city, full of life and laughter. It was also the largest business district in the old world.

I digress.

I lived up to a hundred and seventy five years. It was a full life; full of ups and downs, fears and insecurities and fightings. I had great moments too.

Like the day Isaac was born. That was a great day for me, I won’t cease to smile at the memory. My Sarah became a mother. At ninety years!

Then the years after that, as I watched my son-my heir grow. I felt young again as I roamed the hills with him, showing him the outdoors and the land that will someday be his, as Yahweh had promised, and teaching him all about Yahweh.

I guess I should start at the beginning, where it all started.

My life begun at seventy five years. The years before then were really uneventful and dull. I was the first born of my father, Tehrah, and had two brothers, Nahor and Haran.

Haran had always been sickly and he died in his early adult years. He had a son, Lot, who I took in after his father’s death and raised him like mine. He was a comfort to me in those days, my heart swelled whenever he calls me father.

When my father died, I moved into his tent, being the first child and took over his business. Few years after his death, the cattle and sheep had doubled and I was among the richest in the land. I was respected, but also an subject of the local gossip. The rich man who had no son to inherit him.

In those days, I was an unhappy man. My life was empty and most days I was restless and disquieted within me. It was more than just being childless. It was much later that I knew it was a longing for purpose and meaning to my existence.

My life took a new turn one night, few months after I turned seventy five. It was autumn and the night air was chilly. Sarah snuggled close to me on the bed. I had the strangest dream that night.

In the dream, I saw myself in the temple of Naana, the moon god. I looked up and saw him moving towards me. Only it wasn’t him, not the long bearded god, with a crescent shaped moon on his head, as depicted in the image of him crested on his temple, but a man dressed in white robe, shining as the sun. His visage was fearful and at the sight of him I trembled.

“Fear not” he said to me, his voice like the sound of many waters, sonorous and infusing me with a longing so great.

He led me by hand to the north entrance of the temple and pointed at a place in the horizon.

It was a city, full of people, innumerable, like the sand of the sea shore.

“These are your descendants” he said to me, “I will make you a great nation and will bless you and anyone that blesses you; and I will curse anyone that curses you”

Then, he led me back towards the room I was before and towards the south entrance. There I saw the whole land of Ur.

“You must leave your land, and your people and go to a land that I will show you”

I woke up. It was still dark outside but I stood up and went outside the tent. Dawn was still a few hours away. I walked towards the field and pondered on the dream. I knew it was no ordinary dream.

The Man in the dream had called himself Yahweh, the God of the whole earth. I had never heard of such a God before but somehow I believed Him. Something was happening inside me, for the first time in years, I felt alive. My body was pulsing with excitement. I had found a purpose to my existence. Joy surged through me.

The next few days, I gathered my servants together and sent for my herdmen in the hills on the outskirts of the city. I handed over the affairs of the estate to Nahor, who found it strange that I was leaving all behind, to a land I didn’t know where. I sounded like a man that had lost his sanity.

I could easily guess the direction of the local gossip; poor rich childless man has finally lost his grip on sanity. Well, they have their mouths and they can say whatever they want.

Nahor tried to reason with me and persuade me to change my mind.

“This is madness”, he had exclaimed.

I just smiled at him and told him not to worry about me, that I would be fine and would send word to him whenever I am fully settled in the land where I was going.

“A land you have no idea where” he had murmured.

I sighed. There was no way to convince him. I patted him on the back and dismissed him.

Exactly a week after I had the dream, I set out of Ur with my possessions and Lot, my nephew. He had refused to stay behind. I was really proud of him.

I headed northward, according to the direction Yahweh had taken me to show me my descendants in the dream. I reckoned he was trying to show me where to go.

That journey would eventually lead me to Canaan.

Now, if at seventy five years of age I was willing to let everything go and part with all that was familiar and dear to go on an adventure with God, whom I was meeting for the first time, what is stopping you from taking that leap of faith? Why are you afraid to let go and let God? If you know a bit of history, you know how it turned out for me.

I even hear that people sing a song about me: “Abraham’s blessings are mine”. If only they knew the level of dependence and obedience and rugged faith that went before the blessings….

I digress again.

I will be back to tell you more of my story.

Till then, go with God on that adventure. You won’t regret it. I promise.


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