The Strategies of the Evil Inclination
No one could believe his or her eyes. They had witnessed a great miracle. Everyone was silent, standing in awe; mouths open in wonder over what they had seen. They knew that Nimrod would be angry and things would be tense in the royal palace. How would their mighty king deal with this new situation?
Nimrod realized that he had lost this battle with Abraham. He watched as the man walked out of the furnace to be immediately smothered by the hugs and kisses of his family. They were too relieved to consider what Nimrod would try next. Nimrod’s soldiers kept their distance from the new super hero. The silence was deafening. Nimrod’s rage and humiliation were burning on his face, probably as hot as the furnace.
This king was no fool. He understood that he couldn’t kill Abraham and that everyone in the city would be speaking of the miracle all night. Word would spread along all the trade routes, and Nimrod, already weakened by his failed Tower of Babel project, would be the laughingstock of nations close and far.
He turned to Abraham’s brother, Haran: “So, Haran. Which will it be? Will you follow me or your very fortunate brother?”
Haran did not share Abraham’s strength of conviction, nor did he even share Abraham’s ideas. But he did know what he witnessed just a few short moments earlier. He certainly appreciated Abraham’s newfound prestige and status. “Well,” he thought, “if Abraham’s God is that powerful, I will also be saved. I’ll be invited to all the news shows. I’ll be famous and wealthy.”
“I’m with my brother. You don’t scare me!” Nimrod smiled and calmly ordered Haran to be thrown into the same fire. Everyone heard a few short but piercing screams and Haran was no more.
It was Abraham who survived. Abraham’s idea of a One God, died in the furnace with Haran. People did not speak of God. They spoke of Abraham. Nimrod had successfully stolen Abraham’s thunder.
We are all familiar with Nimrod’s strategy: How often do we feel that we have accomplished great things, only to have our thunder stolen as soon as we slip up with something minor?
We are all flying at the end of Yom Kippur. We are inspired and excited. All the Evil Inclination needs is a dose of Nimrod’s strategy, and steal some of our thunder my tripping us with something minor.
Abraham clearly understood Nimrod’s strategy. He grasped that Nimrod was certain that Haran would choose Abraham’s side only to die, because Haran did not act from conviction.
The king may have won the day, but Abraham left the palace, ignoring the accolades of his friends and family, as well as the accusations that he caused Haran’s death. He kept his experience of God inside of him and looked forward to the future.
There were a few people who were perceptive enough to understand the difference between Abraham and Haran and they began to gather around this new spiritual force in order to learn his ways. Nimrod may have won the day, but Abraham won the future.
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