Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV) 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
On verses 1-3: Everything that Abram might otherwise use to anchor his identity before – his country, his people and his family – God asks Abram to leave in order to go to the land that He will show him (v1). The only assurance God gives Abram is a promise that God will bless Abram and make Abram into a great nation, and that through him all peoples on earth will be blessed (v2-3).
How would all peoples on earth be blessed through Abram (v3)? In a number of ways:
– Abram (later known as Abraham) would be regarded as the father of the Jewish people (Mark 12:26; John 8:39; Acts 3:13).
– From Abram’s blood line Jesus Christ would be born (Matthew 1).
– Abraham’s example shows that we are justified (that is, declared righteous and not guilty in God’s sight) simply by having faith in God’s promise, not by the good things we do (Romans 4:1-15). In this way, Abraham is a father in faith to all who have trusted in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:6-7).
– Abraham is also an example to us all of what it means to have persevering faith (Hebrews 6:15). To this day, we can study the life of Abraham and be blessed and inspired by the times when he trusted God no matter what the circumstances around him looked like.
Genesis 12:4-5 (NIV) 4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
On verses 4-5: Abram had significant wealth, a beautiful wife and social status in Haran, but still something was missing in Abram’s life. So Abram follows the Lord’s instruction and sets out for the land of Canaan. What can we learn from this? You can have great wealth, many possessions and everything the world says you need to be happy, but until you do what God calls you to do, until you follow the call of God in your life, you’ll feel like something is missing, no matter how much of the world you have.
As Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Faith is trusting that God knows the way even when we don’t know where we’re going. Do we trust God enough to step out in faith, leaving what is comfortable, in order to experience the blessings of those promises? If you want to experience the greatest blessings God has for your life, it requires that you step out in faith and trust what God says.
Genesis 12:6-7 (NIV) 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
On verses 6-7: When God promises Abram that He will give the land of the Canaanites to Abram’s offspring, Abram doesn’t just go on his merry way and say, “That’s nice.” Rather Abram builds an altar to the Lord in response to God appearing to him with this promise. From time forward whenever he passed that place, he would see the altar and remember what God said to him.
What can we learn from this? When God speaks to you, worship Him and thank Him. Also, when God speaks to you, do something to remember and commemorate that moment. That could mean writing it in your journal, creating a visual aid to remind you of what God said, telling a friend, or something else creative.
Genesis 12:8-9 (NIV) 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
On verses 8-9: What I admire about Abram is that he didn’t just worship God when he got to the end of his journey. Abram would take the time to worship God along the way. I believe Abram’s habit of worshiping God regularly was the secret to his success, strengthening Abram’s faith, clarifying his vision and renewing his hope. Thus we see Abram leaving a trail of altars in his path because he made worship the habit of his life.
May you and I do the same: don’t just wait until you’ve reached your destination or fulfilled your dream to worship God. Rather worship God in every season of your faith journey. In doing so your faith will be strengthened, your vision clarified and your hope renewed. Even more importantly, it’s about developing a daily relationship with God, who is worthy of our praise all the time.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Abram, who shows us that worship is not just an event, but a lifestyle. Like Abram, may I have faith to trust in Your promise and live on the basis of what You say. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!