Promises! Promises! - Genesis 12

Promises! Promises!

Genesis 12:1-20

In Genesis 12 his name is Abram.  Later God said to him, "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be called Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations."  Genesis 17:5.  Earlier God had spoken to him, and made some wonderful promises: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."  Genesis 12:2, 3.

The Lord had made these promises to Abraham, when he lived in Ur of the Chaldeans.  We learn in Acts 7:2 that "the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran."  About 80 years ago Sir Leonard Wooley made an archeological discovery of Ur, where he found bath houses, theatres, sport stadiums, and temples.  The people of Ur were moon worshippers.  It was in such a place that God called out Abraham, and made these promises.

But there was a condition.  It's expressed in both Acts 7:3 and Genesis 12:1.  "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." 

The writer of Hebrews is kind when he says, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.  And he went out not knowing where he was going."  Hebrews 11:8.  The truth is that Abraham's obedience was partial.  He did leave his hometown of Ur, but his father, Terah, and nephew, Lot, went with him.  Genesis 11:31.  They traveled about 900 miles northwest from Ur to Haran.  No doubt it was a hard, tedious journey.  Their ultimate destination was unknown.  However, they set up house in Haran, and lived there until Abraham's father died.  Sometimes it takes a funeral for some people to move on by faith.  And Abraham did travel on trusting the Lord at the age of seventy-five.

The God who appeared to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldeans appeared to him again in the land of Canaan.  He said, "To your descendants I will give this land."  The patriarch had reached his destination.  He arrived in the land that God had promised to show him.  Abraham responded by building an altar to the Lord.  Then we read, "And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he 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."  Genesis 12:7, 8.

But his journey still was not complete.  This patriarch, who was now a pilgrim, continued his journey, "going on still toward the South."  Genesis 12:9.  "By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country...for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God."  Hebrews 11:9, 10.

 

Lord, we ourselves have no continuing city here.  We seek the one to come.  This world is not our home.  We also are pilgrims just passing through.  Our hope is in You, and You alone.  Thank You for Your faithfulness to all generations, including our own.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Hagar - Genesis 16

 
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