In November of 2014, I was asked by the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Munster, Indiana to deliver the sermon at the Friday evening service. I thought to myself, “No problem. Everyone knows the biblical narrative, so how difficult can it be?” However, there was a catch with the honor. My task? To highlight the entire life of Abraham within ten to fifteen minutes while keeping the congregation interested and adding a new twist on an old story! Easy! After all, Abraham lived until he died!
All of us know the general story of the life of Abraham. He is a familiar character to the world’s three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
You may be familiar with the non-profit organization called “The Sons of Abraham.” This organization is made up of medical professionals from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, with the mission of offering free health care to needy communities.
But instead of going through the narrative in way we might be used to, I thought tonight we would look at his story if this was a modern-day news story. Journalism has changed in recent years. Too often our news is delivered through the filter of a negative bias. If this story were told today . . .
The headliner might not be the sons of Abraham but the Sins of Abraham!
Tonight, I promise I will not give you the biased and sanitized version of Abe’s story. We will stop the spin here by turning to a good ole Jewish boy from BNN (Bible News Network)!
Modern Day News Drama
Good evening. This is Wolfgang Harman, and we welcome you and our viewers from around the world to a Special Edition of the Synagogue Room!
Breaking news from the Middle East!
At this moment there was a funeral arrangements are being made for a powerful patriarch in Israel. The funeral procession has gathered at the cave of Machpelah near Mamre.
Two half-brothers named Yitzhak and Yishmael will be paying their last respects their father Abe who suddenly expired at the age of 175.
BNN was the first to capture the story years ago the last time these brothers came together for their mother’s funeral.
Although Abram had many qualities of being Jewish, such as offering hospitality to strangers, he remained unaffiliated his entire life!
In an exclusive interview, a source close to the monotheistic religion said Abraham claimed to have heard the voice of God on several occasions. BNN’s legal consultants have reported that many of the incidents were criminal in nature while others violated the civil rights of his servants.
Did this man literally hear the voice of God or was Abe just another prophet out for profit?
In this developing story we have uncovered a few facts about the life of this man who claimed to hear the voice of God on a regular basis. Tracking down this story was complicated because records indicate he and his wife also changed their names at the direction of God.
Please be advised!
Some of the content of this story
may not be suitable for young children!
Here is what BNN has uncovered about the
“Man, who talked directly to God.”
Strange Land Deals
Supposedly, the Lord . . . commanded him to leave Haran and travel to Canaan. He was to everything and move. As a reward for his faithfulness God would give him a spectacular land grant as far as his eye could see. Residents were in a rage to learn their land suddenly, without notice, had been deeded to an outsider without a town hall meeting! When asked on “what authority he had to take the land? “ Local residents claimed Abe informed landowners that “God was my real estate agent!”
Incestual & Family Problems
Around the same time his father Terah arranged for Abram to marry his half-sister Sari. Later they both changed their names to Abraham and Sarah. Our crew uncovered details that at age 75 Abraham decided not to follow in the footsteps of his father’s idol making business because he believed the “family way” of making money preyed upon the superstitions of the primitive thinking people of the region. Abe wanted to spread his wings and set out on his own journey.
So, Abraham and his sister-wife left the comfort zone of the inner city by Ur of the Chaldea for a road trip to Canaan. Plans quickly changed when a famine swept the land. Abe took a detour through the Egyptian controlled territories!
Now Sarah was drop dead gorgeous and she knew it! She was so beautiful that, Abe, while passing through Egypt, became afraid the pharaoh would see his wife, steal her, and kill him because he was her husband.
So, Abraham convinced his wife to lie for him to save his own neck from the Egyptians. One of the servants, who spoke to BNN on the condition of anonymity, recalled Abe’s words that day: “You’re so pretty Pharaoh will kill me and let you live so he can have you for himself! Honey, if he asks, just tell him I am your brother. It’s not like you’d be lying.” Sister-wife agrees.
Pharaoh is instantly smitten by Sarah! So, he offers Abe gifts of livestock and servants to have Sarah as his own . . . only later to be busted out by the officials, loses his resident alien card, and gets kicked out of the country.
Troubled Employee Relations
A class action suit was uncovered by BNN. In the suit, several servants of Abe report that once again, Abe heard the voice of God tell him: “to circumcise himself and the flesh of his son and all the men of his household regardless of whether they were born into his household or bought with money from a foreigner.” Servant depositions reveal that one of the servants took a stand and confronted Abe saying: “I want to know exactly what God said to you, word for word. Are you sure he did not say ‘YOUR SKIN and not OUR SKIN?”
BNN has obtained the marriage records and birth certificates of his two sons. It appears that Sarah was infertile and could not give Abraham an heir to carry the family name. He was convinced by his wife to father a child with the young, olive skinned, family concubine named “Hagar” became Abe’s wife. It was a “laughing matter,” when old Sarah took a home pregnancy test that revealed “they were now pregnant!”
This “blended family” arrangement of two sons by two different women all living in the same happy household did not quite work out as planned. Finally, in a jealous fit, wife #1 insisted that wife #2 and her brat leave the house and never return.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Hagar and her young son Ishmael were banished from the household to make it on the streets any way they could. Neighborhood rumors suggest Hagar was neglectful of her son’s basic needs. A BNN confidential source tells us that Abe would sneak off and have mid-day rendezvous with Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah was told he had to leave for short business trips.
Child Abuse Charges
Details are not clear, but we have learned from local authorities that charges surrounding a previous incident of child abuse were suddenly dropped. Allegedly, God told Abe to take one his sons up on the mountain to sacrifice him. Abe later told the neighbors that God provided a ram in the thicket, so he did not have to kill the son.
There is disagreement as to which son was taken to the mountain. Arabian sources say it was Ishmael while Israeli sources say it was Yitzhak. A source close to the family said it was more than Sarah could take and she died before learning that her son, Yitzhak was spared. Abe was never charged in the matter.
Binding of Issac - unknown artist
Marriage records verify that Abe soon got over the passing of Sarah when he found Keturah, who bore him six more sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Dedan. We are not sure whether these sons will attend the funeral. Some women of the region say they were not fooled by Abe . . . Keturah was just a new name given to his old flame Hagar!
Wait . . . This just in from Mamre! Both brothers have reached the entrance of the tomb. We have learned tensions remain high between the two half-brothers. This tension has spilled over onto their respective nations.
Political sources familiar with the region report the brothers tried to work their differences but relatives always got in the way. Their mothers remained bitter enemies until the end.
A scholar familiar monotheistic religions said, and I quote:
“I fear the tension between these two half-brothers
will bring devastating consequences to both nations
for generations to come!”
And now these are the days of the years of the life of Abraham, which he lived:
one hundred years
and seventy years
and five years.
Abraham expired and died
in a good old age,
mature and satiated,
and was gathered to his people.
· Some say after all the above Abraham was plain exhausted and died gently in the night!
· There is a play on words in these verses. The text would suggest that Abraham lived to the age of 175. Anyone would say that was a good old age!
· But in his years, he also became “mature” and was “satiated” with life.
· We might say today he lived life to the fullest and while living life to the max he learned a few things and grew in wisdom. He was satisfied when he drew his last breath. Abraham accomplished all his goals in life and left a legacy for all of us to read about.
Abraham lived . . . until he died!
· And then he was “gathered unto his people.” One of the verses used regarding the afterlife in Jewish thought.
Sociologists have studied people who are 95 years old and asked them this one question. “If you could do life over what would you do differently?” There were many answers, but they all fell into these three categories:
1.) Reflect More
Stop, think, and reconsider the things they took for granted the first time around such as family, friendships, health, and the small blessings of life.
A friend of mine who was an extraordinarily successful multi-millionaire who owned over a dozen fast food franchises asked me to his bedside one week before his passing. He was dying from cancer. He called to his bedside to request that I offer a eulogy at his funeral. Naturally, I was honored and humbled at the same time. I asked him what he would do if he had the chance to do everything over again. I was thinking he would offer some brilliant business wisdom or strategy or an idea for a new type of franchise. His response will influence me the rest of my life.
“I would take time to get to know people better.”
2.) Risk More
The 95-year old participants report they wished they had taken more risks in life! They would advise
young people to move out beyond their comfort zones and try something big! Do not wait until you’re too old and have to say; “I wish I’d tried to . . . . If only I’d . . .”
Taking risks with people can also be messy whether it is family or friends. Welcome to life. But the rewards are wonderful. Too many people throw in the towel of relationships when it gets tough when the solution is just around the corner. If you have one or two lifelong friendships, you are truly a blessed person!
What if we made our houses of prayer places where it was safe to take risks with each other? What if we took the time to learn each other’s stories? It might change our perspective. It might also enrich our lives.
3.) Do things that will live on after you are dead – leave a legacy.
Abraham lived until he died!
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