The Call of Abram
12 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. 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. 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.”
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. 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, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 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. 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. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 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 may be spared for your sake.” When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.
Genesis 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It was a call to travel.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you…”Genesis 12:1
Abram or Abraham as his name would eventually become was called to leave everything familiar, his family and normalcy toward a divine plan of God. This plan was not only for him but for generations to come who would be affected by such radical obedience. In such ancient times, this was something completely unusual. Most would stay where their families and heritage had always been but God called Abraham to the great unknown of a new land and new adventures. When God called, he moved out in faith. As we know, in time the descendants of Abraham would become Israel and through that eventually, Jesus Christ would be born to save all of humanity.
There were pitfalls and struggles no doubt as his story unfolds, but he continued to stay committed to God who called him by name, had a plan for not only the current of his life but far-reaching future.
God has a calling for each of us much the same. It resonates with the same words to travel. It’s a traveling to things unknown. It’s a journeying beyond what we even may perceive as normal and way beyond the familiar. It’s an adventure where God leads us toward things to bring unreal glory to His name, reaching those we would never imagine and becoming who we were destined to become. As with Abraham, the familiarity of his life could have kept him there. His fears could have stunted his placing one foot in front of the other, but it would be his obedience that would take him toward this great unknown. With each step of faith, his relationship developed and strengthened in His God.
We each have a call to travel. It’s a call to follow God where He leads and watch and experience His absolute empowerment and provision. I hope your bags are packed. He’s asking you to step out and go.
Genesis 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Faith is not a mushroom that grows overnight in damp soil; it is an oak tree that grows for a thousand years under the blast of the wind and rain.”Donald Grey Barnhouse
None of us begin our journey with Christ possessing perfect faith. Often, we must struggle through the convoluted process of detrimental consequences to experience a refined faith. Just when we think we have arrived, God takes us through another blast of wind and rain to purify us.
Abram was no different. He was given astounding promises from God and asked to cooperate in faith. We read here in Genesis 11 that he failed along the way.
Abram took his nephew Lot with him. This would prove to be a mistake, however, some commentators write that this was not Abram’s fault because Lot chose to go. The more obvious blunder for Abram was asking his wife Sarai to pose as his sister when crossing over to Egpyt.
“Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.”Genesis 12:13 NASB
Abram attempted to assist God with the promises He had spoken to him. It is interesting to me that Abram is willing to take his chances endagering his wife but is unwilling to take his chances with finding food in Canaan. It seems that both issues (the famine and the threat of losing his wife) are severe enough to warrant action, but we do not read that Abram consults God about either one. He makes his own plan.
The truth is, the famine would not have destroyed Abram and neither would the Egyptians. Why? Because God had promised that a great nation would come through him. This promise simply could not happen if Abram died.
What we find, however, is the providence of God’s grace. God intervenes because this is His nature. It is fascinating to consider that even in our struggles, God’s grace shows up in a powerful way. There is no doubt that this entire process worked in Abram’s life to increase his faith and trust God despite impossible odds.