At the end of the story of the Tower of Babel, the genre of Genesis shifts from Hebrew Poetry (concerned with the how) to a historical narrative with the call of Abram (Abraham). While this is more like the history that we are accustomed to, we must not forget that this is not the same as our modern day historical narrative. Our modern historical accounts refuse to verify anything that is not scientifically observable in an attempt to be as objective as possible. However, Hebrew history is written from the perspective that God is real and active in its history. Thus, it will not only explain the observable, but also incorporate the unobservable of faith. It would have been inconceivable for the people of Israel to include a history that did not mention God, as their very nation was founded on being His chosen people. 

That nation of Israel begins with Abram. Genesis genealogy shows us that Abram comes from the line of Shem who was Noah’s son that was blessed by God. Abram is called by God to leave his father and his home Ur (a metropolitan area) for the wild regions of Canaan. God promises to make Abram a great nation, a great name, and give him great blessing. Abram follows God’s will, leaves the land behind with his wife Sarai and all his household, his nephew Lot (presumably his heir since he did not have any children), and arrives in Canaan. When he arrives, God promises the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abram. Yet, there was famine in the land and Abram and Sarai make a sojourn in Egypt. In Egypt, there is a strange wife/sister story with Sarai that results in them amassing more wealth. They return to Canaan and immediately get into a land dispute with Lot. This causes them to split and go their separate ways. Lot, who seems to always get himself into trouble, goes to live in Sodom. Sodom is conquered by four kings, and Lot is captured and carried away. Abram hears, musters up a band of men, chases the kings down and conquers them. He returns with Lot, Lot’s possessions, and all of the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah which he is allowed to keep, but he refuses. Abram is then blessed by the mysterious King of Salem, Melchizedek to whom Abram give’s ten percent of his wealth. 

From this beginning of Abram’s story, we can learn a couple things. First, while Abram had great faith leaving the comfort of his homeland, his faith still needed to be purified. He left the land promised to him during the famine to go to Egypt where he feared for his life and ended up being duplicitous, rather than trusting the God to provide. Even though he will receive great wealth from his time in Egypt, that wealth becomes the reason why Abram and Lot part. 

Another lesson we learn very early on in the Bible is that a love of wealth corrupts. Apart from splitting with his uncle over wealth and land, Lot who is ever drawn toward wealth finds himself in the sinful area of Sodom and is captured because of it. Whereas, Abram who takes the humbler land, ends up with the wealth of Sodom because of his valor, not his desire for it.  

Finally, we meet a mysterious typological figure who is prominent in our Catholic tradition today as a prefiguration of Jesus. Melchizedek, who was a priest of the God Most High and the King of Salem, blesses Abram after his victory, and offers a sacrifice of bread and wine. Salem is translated to ‘peace.’ In addition, Salem is the precursor to the city of Jeru‘salem.’  So Melchizedek the King of Peace of the region where the last supper took place, offers bread and wine as priest of the God Most High and blesses Abram who is the beginning of God’s chosen people. The connection is pretty clear. In addition, Psalm 110 (written hundreds of years later) will prophesy that the Messiah will be a priest forever of the line of Melchizedek, not the line of Levi (the line of the Jewish priesthood). We see these words echoed in the Catholic ordinations today as each priest becomes an alter Christus (another Christ) who is the fulfillment of Melchizedek. 
As we continue with the story of Abram, we must be encouraged that the man who has been praised for great faith, also had moments of weakness, for it is in our weakness that we are made strong. Despite failings he may have had in small moments, Abram saw God’s blessing when he made the large decision to leave his previous life and follow God’s will. It becomes a journey of purification.  That journey continues with more blessings, but also more failures, and ultimately result in the line through which the savior of the world will be born into.