Knowing one name among the descendants of Shem (Noah’s son) prepares us crucially for the rest of Genesis and, actually, for much of human history: “Abram”. Abram, his son Isaac, his grandsons Jacob and Esau, and Abram’s twelve great-grandsons will form the focal point of the remainder of Genesis. The rest of the Bible vitally concerns the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob and what God is doing through them. Still, the New Testament will turn and show there are ways of being a descendant of Abram without being born in his line. In fact, Jesus will later make the startling claim that he can make descendants of Abram out of stones (Matthew 3:8-9). Over the coming months you will begin to understand just how provocative and challenging this claim would have been for Jesus’ audience. To understand Jesus’ words and the story of the Bible, we must pay close attention to exactly what God is doing in the lives of Abram and his descendants. Then we will better appreciate how Jesus sustains that purpose yet adds an incredible twist for the fate of and good of our world.