Today, I want to continue the account of Abram from the Book of Jasher. At the end of the last post, Abram was living with Noah and Shem. Abram left Noah’s house when he was 50 years old and returned to his father to convince him that idolatry was vain and to destroy his father’s twelve idols. When he came to Terah’s place, Abram entered his father’s chamber of idols and destroyed 11 of his father’s idols and made it look like the 12th idol did it. When his father came in and asked what happened, Abram blamed everything on the 12th idol.
As you can imagine, Terah was furious with Abram because he knew that idols were not capable of destroying each other or of eating the meat offerings he always brought them but he was not ready to forsake his idolatry. After trying to reason with Terah without success, Abram destroyed the 12th idol too.
Terah was so angry Abram destroyed his idols that he went to discuss the problem with King Nimrod. In the process of talking with Nimrod, Terah had to confess that he had not given Abram to him shortly after birth but that it was really the baby of his concubine that Nimrod had killed.
Abram justified the destruction of his father’s idols to the king and princes and encouraged them to forsake their wickedness and to serve the Lord or be prepared to face God’s judgment which awaited them. Abram spent ten days in jail for his “wicked” crime at the end of which King Nimrod called together the other kings, princes, governors, and sages to discuss Abram’s fate.
Oddly enough, they suggested Abram should be hung on a tree for reviling the king but ultimately, they decided he must be burned to death for destroying Terah’s gods. Terah almost suffered the same judgment of a fiery death for not giving Abram to Nimrod shortly after birth but out of fear, he falsely accused his oldest son, Haran of advising him to swap the babies. As a result, both Haran and Abram were bound and thrown into the furnace in which a fire had been prepared for 3 days and 3 nights.
Haran quickly burned to ashes in the fire but God delivered Abram from certain death and made it possible for him to walk freely in the fire for 3 days and 3 nights. Intrigued, the king ordered Abram to be removed from the fire but 8 men died trying to get him out. When Abram finally came before the king, he explained that it was God who saved him from death. Nimrod then gave Abram gifts and two servants, one of which was Eliezer. About 300 of the king’s men joined and followed Abram as he returned to his father’s house. Shortly after that, he married Sarai.
As I reflected on this passage from Jasher, I imagined that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew that Abram had once been delivered from a fiery furnace and knew that if God desired, he could deliver them too.
I also noted that there are various shadows of Christ in the account of Abram and Nimrod’s fiery furnace:
- Abram destroyed the idols in the chamber of Terah’s gods. Jesus cleansed His Father’s temple.
- The officials suggested crucifying Abram for his “crime.” Jesus was convicted of blasphemy by the religious leaders and was crucified.
- Abram was in the furnace three days and three nights where he should have died but he came out alive and returned to live with his father. Jesus’ dead body laid in the grave three days and three nights and His spirit descended into the fire of hell where He made a proclamation to the imprisioned spirits but He rose from the dead and returned to live with His heavenly Father (Eph. 4:9, 1 Peter 3:18-20).
- One person was delivered from judgment and the other was not. One criminal who was crucified with Jesus went to paradise and the other one did not.
- A multiple of 3: Three hundred were added to Abram’s household whereas 3000 were added to the faith after Pentecost (Shavuot).
Now, let’s get back to Abram. Two years after Abram came out of the fiery furnace, Nimrod had a dream that was interpreted by one of his servants who explained that Abram’s seed would rise up to destroy Nimrod and his army. When Nimrod heard this, he commanded Abram to be killed. Eliezer heard about Nimrod’s command and warned Abram who fled to Noah and Shem’s house where he stayed a month. Terah visited him there and finally Abram convinced him that they had to leave and go to Canaan in order to survive Nimrod’s death threats. So that was when Terah, Lot (Haran’s son), Abram, and Sarai finally left Ur of the Chaldeans but instead of making it to Canaan, they stopped in Haran where Abram taught the ways of the Lord to those living there.
As you consider the things that Abram went through, think about what God has done in your life. Do you have confidence that He will take care of you and be with you through the good and difficult times?
Please realize that sometimes it’s ok to run away from something. There were several Biblical people who did so. That doesn’t show a lack of trust, it shows common sense. It was God’s way of protecting them.
Is God calling you to go somewhere comparable to the depths of hell in order to teach the ways of the Lord to those around you?