How it All Began

He sat there in the summer heat, and was thankful it was not worse. He had heard stories from passing merchant caravans about the chilling cold farther north. Few people were living up there, north of the headwaters of the Euphrates, not far south of the Ararat Mountains.

Besides, down here it was spring and everything was greener than usual. His wife was inside the tent complex, preparing foodstuffs with other women in her parents family. His own helpers were out with the sheep today, and he had time to get started on what he had been told to do.

As he sat there, he thought over the past.

It surely had been a disappointment. His people were ground down by an oppressive government, and here he was where he could not help them. Oh, it seemed bitter. But he knew it was his fault. They must continue to suffer because he had not clung to Gods hand.

As he sat there and thought, he realized he never could have helped them, not the way he was trying to do it. God needed his help and he had let Him down, by trusting more to his own youthful strength instead of hourly crying to God for help and counsel.

Yes, he was learning the lesson. Only God could do what needed to be done, and He does it through His earthly children, when they are genuinely yielded to His will. Only then can He fully direct their paths.

Reviewing the past and thinking upon his present situation, how very thankful he was for the forgiving mercies of God!

On his knees now, he prayed once again and renewed his vows of consecration; and, once again, he received the assurance of forgiveness and help. Whatever God wanted him to do, he was going to do it.

The man had learned to pray a lot. Oh, why hadn't he done it back then!

How he wanted to return and help his people! But here he was, and he must learn the lesson of following Gods leading, right where he was, while he waited for opening providences to take him further along the path of duty.

God had another work for him just now. Gladly would he do anything to please His heavenly Father, even though it be tedious and slow! His rough, calloused hands were not used to what he had to do now. But he must carry it through to completion, working on it gradually, even though it were to take many years.

Reaching over, he took a piece of sheepskin from the pile he had been preparing. Laboriously he had spent days scrapping off the remaining wool from each piece. He now had just enough to get started. If Father told him to do something, he was going to do it; and he was going to do it with Him, praying his way through it at each step.

With the piece of sheepskin now in his lap, once again he sat there for a long moment and looked out at the horizon beyond. If he could only have known that what he was now beginning to do would affect nations and races for the next four thousand years!

Men would toil and struggle, be opposed and slain. Families would flee and fathers would be burned at the stake. Wars would be fought, kingdoms would rise and fall. Men would journey across oceans and start settlements. Some would be hunted to the death; others would be tricked into yielding the faith. All the powers of hell would be set on their track, determined to destroy or corrupt them and what they had in their possession.

And all because of what they did with what he was just now getting started.

Well, it was time to forget the horizon and return to the present. Dipping the quill into the ink twice in order to make every letter legible on the rough surface of the sheepskin, he began writing in proto-sinaitic Hebrew: 

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth . . .