Genesis 12: Father Abraham

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Devotionals

Through one man…hope would come for all men. Hope for all humanity. Genesis 12 takes us down out of the clouds of dealing with massive groups of people and different family lines….to focusing on one man. From this point in the narrative, Genesis focuses a man named Abram. With no explanation, the chapter begins with the LORD speaking to Abram. In the first 2 verses, the LORD gives him a command and four promises.

First the command: The LORD tells Abram to pack up all his things and leave his homeland. Now…put yourself in Abram’ s sandals. What if the LORD came to you and said, “Pack up your stuff….you’re moving” And with a puzzled look on your face you reply, “Okay….but…..where am I going?” To which the LORD replies, “ Don’t worry, I’m gonna show you.” That’s essentially what happens with Abe. Imagine what was going on in his head. A

That’s the command…now for the promises….the LORD gives 4 promises in verse 2.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”

Abram is asked to leave the comfort and security of all that is familiar to him and depend on the LORD for everything….trust Him for everything. He doesn’t even know exactly where he’s going! And in exchange…the LORD promises to make him into a great nation, make his name great, bless him and make him a blessing to others. Not only is the LORD going to bless him, but he’s going to be the vehicle through which the LORD’s blessings come to others as well. The LORD shows favor (special kindness) to Abram.

Abe was an unknown man. A man who wasn’t out to make a name for himself…in contrast to what we saw in the previous chapter, where people were motivated by making a name for themselves. And the LORD singles him out and promises to make his name great. And he’s told that “ in [him] all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Now this is a bit strange. What exactly does that mean? “IN YOU…..all the families of the earth shall be blessed” . Well…very basically it means that Abram is going to be a blessing to those who are associated with him. Those whom he represents. Anytime the Bible speaks of being “in” a person, it means to be represented by that person. (I.e- “in Adam”, “in Christ” -prime example 1 Corinthians 15:22) That’s way too simple of an explanation, but it’s a start. So….Abram and those whom he represents will be blessed by God.

I know this is a lot to take in…but let’s continue. Notice, how at the word of the LORD, Abram just packs up and leaves. He took his wife and his nephew and all their things and left.

Then as Abe is traveling guess who shows up? The LORD.

“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said….” (verse 7)

This is what’s called a theophany (a visible manifestation of God) This is tough to understand. God is invisible. He’s spirit. So, how can it be said that he “appeared to Abram”? (more on this later)

But for now…God, singles out Abe…calls him away from his homeland, and Abe obeys. In response….the LORD shows up to him and reminds him of his promise. It’s almost as if the LORD is saying, “ Just keep trusting me. Keep following me and see if I don’t keep my word”. The LORD is incredibly gracious and kind….and he’s faithful.

And lest we think Abe was perfect or some model citizen, notice verses 10-17. Yes, Abe follows God’s word and leaves his homeland, but when he gets to Egypt, he turns selfish and cowardly.

“When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life my be spared for your sake.” (verse 11-13)

Abe was afraid that he would get killed, so he had his wife lie to protect his own neck. Cowardly and dishonest…not to mention a pretty lame thing to do to your wife. Ladies, if a guy ever wants you to lie for him for any reason, but especially to save his own hide….drop that joker!

This is crazy, the same guy, who responds with faith and obedience to God’s command, seems to have his doubts after all. He certainly feels like he has to look out for his own physical well being (at the expense of his wife of course). No perfect people here. But there is a perfect God who extends grace and patience and forgiveness to people with messy lives. Abe is just one example.

Hassan (read chapter 13 for next time)


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