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Genesis 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Call of Abram
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
The focus in Genesis now shifts from the race as a whole to a single man, Abram. The rest of the Old Testament is about Abram and his descendants.
God calls Abram into relationship and a new life with God begins. The promise that follows assures Abram that when God makes such a radical command, his journey is not alone, but with God, who is leading him. The text reminds us that these blessings are not acquired by our own effort, but are gifts from God – grace and blessing.
Abram had demonstrated his faith by obeying God’s command to leave his homeland (v1). As a result, we see the beginning of God’s great commitments to Abram. From the Bible, we learn that just as God is faithful to Abram, He is also faithful to all who exhibit Abram’s trust in the Lord.
What happens is that faith establishes a relationship with God. Faith maintains that relationship. It is an active trust in God and His promises that causes us to obey. It’s clear in Abram’s life. He believed God’s promises that he abandoned Ur and its wealth to live a nomadic life in a new land. It was the promise, and faith in the promise, that freed Abram not only to obey God, but started him on a journey to become the unselfish, loyal, courageous, humble, and straightforward kind of person we can admire.
It must be this way with us that we must keep our eyes fixed on God and His promises to us. Some of taught that God is like a vending machine; that when we push the right buttons, the power will flow. This is wrong.
Lord, as I keep my heart fixed on you and your promises to me, help me trust in your mercy and faithfulness. Let your overflowing grace enable me to obey and help me gladly obey your guidance all the way.