Abraham was called by God out of Babylon and idol worship from the region of a 4,000-year-old Sumerian temple and the palaces known as the Great Ziggurat of Ur of the Chaldees.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” God said in Genesis 12:1-3.
It was one of the seminal moments for all people who worship the One True God.
It led directly to the Hebrew family and eventually a nation and the Messiah Yeshua, Jesus.
Pope Francis went back to Babylon last weekend.
Oddly, he didn’t say any of that.
Much more could be said about Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, Judah and the line that led to Jesus to made the all-important connection, yet, for some reason, he didn’t even start the story.
Instead, he told a story of unity – when in reality, the human race is a story of a chosen remnant of people who are triumphant, victorious and blessed like Abraham, who chose to reject his pagan roots and follow God.
The pope chose to hold an interreligious meeting where people would all sing kumbaya, forgive ISIS and talk about rebuilding Babylon.
Once the land of Iraq had a teeming population of Christians and Jews. The Jews were left to travel across the desert with only the clothes on their backs when Israel was founded. In 2003, Iraq boasted 1.5 million Christians, but today there are less than 150,000. Neither Jews nor Christians have any designs about returning there – much less rebuilding.
The pope knows what was done in this land when it was the so-called “caliphate” and witnessed unimaginable and unspeakable horrors, including beheadings and mass killings.
“Forgiveness is necessary to remain in love, to remain Christian,” he said.
Here’s something else the pope didn’t mention about Abraham. When he was 99 years old, God made a covenant with him.
It comes in Genesis 17:1-10.
“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.”
Something important came out of Babylon. Abraham did. There are even historical records of Abraham when he was there – in the Ur of the Chaldees. There’s no doubt about his existence.
But the most important thing about him was his faith in God. His faith was so great that he was willing to sacrifice his own son at His command. But God stopped short of that, having tested and proven His servant. Later God would sacrifice His own Son, because He so loved the world.
And yet we didn’t hear any of that story told by the pope – in Babylon.
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