Roots of BitternessWorld Events

Roots of Bitterness: Abraham Is Responsible Too

In the previous post, we briefly explored the lineage of Abraham to show his connection to Arpachshad, the rightful beneficiary of the land misappropriated by Canaan — and so hotly contested today.

We also explored the (Book of Jubilees) back-story as reasoning for why God may have chosen to bless Abraham from all Arpachshad’s descendants.

Moving forward, we will begin to understand how Canaan’s defiance of the family oath — and subsequent curse — unfolds, and how Abraham also plays a significant role in the turmoil we witness today and throughout Middle Eastern history.

Abraham was given a command and a promise.  In short, “Go where I tell you to go, because I’m going to make you into a mighty nation from whom all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Abraham was obedient, and God confirmed His promise.

“So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him…. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him” (Genesis 12:4-7 ESV).

In chapter 15, Abraham questioned God’s promise because he had no children, and God reassured him.

“And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:5-6 ESV).

A few verses later, God made a covenant with Abraham detailing a far greater expanse of land than the nation of Israel has ever realized.

“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites'” (Genesis 15:18-21 ESV).

Today, that would encompass a vast region from Northeastern Egypt, Jordan, Northern Saudi Arabia, Western Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, all the Palestinian territories, and Israel.


God was emphatically clear.  He was promising Abraham a great inheritance of land and offspring.

Unfortunately, Abraham and Sarah were impatient.  Since Sarah was unable to have children, she convinced Abraham to father children through her servant, Hagar (Genesis 16).

Big mistake.

Their impatience started the second phase of the roots of bitterness we witness today.

Once Hagar became pregnant, her relationship with Sarah changed.  Ultimately, it got so bad Hagar decided to leave, but God told her to return after giving her a promise.

“The angel of the LORD also said to her, ‘I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.’ And the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen’ (Genesis 16:10-12 ESV).

Actions have consequences, even for those who are chosen by God.

Next, we’ll explore how Abraham’s choices impact us today through his relationships with Ishmael and Isaac.  Read more here


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