A Whimsical Dictionary: U is for Ur of the Chaldeans

A Whimsical Dictionary: U is for Ur of the Chaldeans

A Whimsical Dictionary of Surprising Influences.

U is for Ur of the Chaldeans –

The ancient city in southern Babylonia, and patriarch Abraham’s birthplace and homeland growing up. Ur was a bustling urban center of advanced culture. Numerous excavations, mostly between mid-19th century to mid-20th century, have uncovered quite a sophisticated city. There was an impressive pagan temple tower, a ziggurat, that was 7 stories high. Ur wasn’t a huge city, roughly 4 square miles during Abraham’s time, but it was sophisticated. There were fancy homes with courtyards, fountains, fireplaces, and even sanitary systems. Ur contained elaborate school buildings, pagan chapels, commercial buildings, and various Halls of Justice. Ur was quite wealthy, with huge hordes of gold, silver and precious materials unearthed during the archeological digs.

When Abram was called around 1900 BC to rough it to parts unknown, it wasn’t necessarily an easy choice to leave a civilized home full of urban comforts and sophistication. According to Stephen in Acts 7, Abram received his famous long-distance call while enjoying the comforts of home in Ur. But in Genesis 12, it appears Abram talked on an extension phone nearby in Haran. No matter. The conversation was apparently short and sweet. “Leave home, Abram, and make sure you keep in touch, because I have special plans for you.” Abram didn’t know the destination, just that he should move out on a wing and a prayer. So he went. And “his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6). Abram believed in the Lord, was willing to live in tents as a stranger in a foreign country, because “he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10).

We all have our Ur, don’t we. Our emotional and psychological homeland, the familiar territory of our lives in which we are comfortable and secure. Abraham didn’t seem to offer such excuses, although he certainly could have, when the Lord asked him to go a promised land. We must pray that, as God continues to call us daily from our Ur to His Kingdom, from the familiar to the foreign, we don’t resort to setting up camp prematurely and settling for second best. Nor do we want to simply stay put, risk-free, outside of His destiny for us.