ALIVE: Chapter 27 Destroying Death, Step One

Perambula and God continued to think about how they (to this day Perambula still takes credit for helping God destroy death) would reunite humankind with God in love and trust. Perambula understood why perfect-trust was the powerful weapon in the war to reverse the effects of the serpent's vile trick. What Perambula did not understand was how difficult it would be to achieve for humans who knew both good and evil. Having been as repulsed as God by the massive death caused by the flood, Perambula looked forward to a world with no death at all.

Because God likes the number nine for its magical characteristics and because He is so patient, He and Perambula waited for the ninth generation after the watershed moment in history, the flood, to get started.

Perambula was not so patient because even for an angel nine generations, 290 years to be exact, was a long time to wait; it's not that they were twiddling their spirit thumbs the whole time; God and Perambula were busy doing whatever they do in heaven, but it was important for God who adores symbolism and numbers that He select a person of the ninth generation of Shem to shift His death-destroying project into full gear.

In those days, as in these days, most men became fathers at around thirty years of age. But for what is probably a good reason, Terah was the exception. Terah, the son of Nahor was 70 years old when he became the father of Abram, the ninth generation son of Shem. Abram did not choose God. God chose Abram.

"Are you sure, you can hear God speak to you Abram? How can you be so sure?" questioned Sarai his wife. "Why does He wants us to move again? We have barely settled in Haran and now you are telling me to leave! What about my friends?"

"Sarai, I can't explain it. I just know. Ever since my father died, I have had this uncomfortable feeling that we don't belong in Haran. The only reason father forced us to leave Ur was because my brother Haran died. Don't you remember how he grieved?

"Yes! I remember." replied Sarai solemnly.

"He had to leave Ur. Everything there reminded him of Haran. So he determined to go to Canaan, but when we reached the town of Haran, he was so surprised. Here he found a place that could make him feel closer to our brother, but at the same time new, so we stayed here. But now that father has passed, we must leave. I know it."

"I wish we had stayed in Ur with Nahor and Milcah. I don't mind leaving Haran, but why don't we go back to Ur where we have family. We can take Lot back to his sister and brother."

"Sarai, trust me. The Lord God who spoke to Noah, has told me to take you and Lot and my possessions and go to the land of Canaan, where father intended to go before we stopped in Haran. Let's continue father's journey to Canaan and see what God has in store for us. He told me this morning that He would make of me a great nation, He will bless me, and make my name great, so that I will bless others."

Sarai looked at her husband with curiosity and a touch of skepticism. She knew she had no choice but to obey.

"Sarai, you should have heard Him." added Abram with growing enthusiasm, "It was as clear as morning light. God said to me, "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 shall be blessed."

Sarai started packing. Young Lot helped, and so did the servants they acquired who had to go with them. It wasn't long before the entourage of people and animals and carts of household goods, like the wagon train of the future, slowly, step by step made its ways through dry rocky ground to the land of Canaan, named after the son of Ham whom Noah cursed for embarrassing him.

Abram rode his camel at the head of the train. When he stopped everyone stopped. When he started to walk again, everyone picked up their loads and started walking. Abram did not chatter as did the others. He tried to maintain a heightened state of awareness in case God were to speak to him again. In fact Abram insisted that the people follow at a good distance behind him.

Seventy-five year old Abram felt as strong as he did at forty, but when the sun was hottest overhead he had compassion on the people and on the animals and stopped for water, and shade where it could be found to rest every living being.

One day, while cooling off under Moreh's oak tree a in Shechem the Lord God spoke again to Abram. In a small voice in his heart, he heard, "Look around you Abram, To your offspring I will give this land."

Abram looked around at the mountains and valleys, at houses and tents, at people walking and resting, and then he looked a few feet behind him where Sarai was chatting happily with her servants. Sarai had yet to bear children and both of them were getting old. His age did not bother Abram since he too was born to a 70 year old man, but neither did he concern himself with Sarai's age even though their peers had grandchildren already. Abram believed the Lord and decided to mark the place where God had given his unborn children the land of Canaan.

"What are doing Abram?" asked Sarai. "Don't you think it is time to head out before the sun sets?"

"Come Sarai, help me build this altar. Pick up that rock over there and bring it to me. God told me that our children will own this land someday. I believe Him; I want to mark the spot, clam my ground."

Sarai felt that she had been traveling her entire life. The thought of owning land was inconceivable to her. She wondered if Abram had become delusional, but she knew enough to keep silent and ferry rocks to her husband. By the time the altar was complete, night had fallen. Abram took Sarai's hand and together they looked up at the sky dense with stars. Abram felt blessed; he loved God whom he could not see, but what he could see, the tiniest intricate wildflower amidst dry dusty rocks amidst majestic mountains was for Abram a sign that pointed to a creator, to the Creator who spoke to him. Sarai loved her husband for his vigor and innocence. How could a man so old be so naive she wondered as she let go of his hand, gave him a peck on the cheek and said, "I am going to fix up our bed in the tent. Let's go to sleep; okay? Tomorrow will be another long day on the road."

Perambula watched this scene and could tell that Abram was unique for his ability to believe something that he couldn't see or touch. Perambula wondered what it was like to not be able to see God.

In the world where mankind daily eats of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, there is only one road back to immortality and that is the road travelled in blind faith and trust. Like the tree of life planted in the Garden of Eden that is surrounded by twirling flames lest anyone reach it, this road of faith is strewn with land mines, tests so tough, and often so illogical, that only the genuine survive. Abram was the first man after the flood to be ushered onto this road to eternal life.