Read Genesis 12
The Call of Abram
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household 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.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
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.
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.
Abram in Egypt
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are.12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
With the first words spoken in verse one of chapter 12, God asserts His decision to create the world anew. God’s plan was to make for Himself a great nation, a people that were His own, and He chose to begin with Abram. The encounter between Abram and the One True God is one of the most vital, pivotal moments in human history because through this nation of some people, the Savior for all people would be born.
The Bible remains completely silent about Abram’s character before the call. We have no biblical reason to believe that Abram and Sarai were looking for another god in their polytheistic culture they lived in, but we know for certain God was looking for them.
God gives Abram two verbal commands: Leave and Go. Then, without explanation or condition, He gives Abram a flood of promises—to make Abram’s name great, to make him into a great nation, a blessed nation, a protected nation, a people with a purpose. Blessed to be a blessing.
But the problem was that Abram was a no-name nobody with no children, no army or means to conquer a land, no people purposed to bless others.
Yet, verse 4 tells us, “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.” Why did God choose Abram? Perhaps the simplest answer is because he’d go. Abram believed God would do what He said He would do.
We read on to learn that Abram, like the rest of us, is deeply flawed, but his faith and obedience goes a long way. Abram didn’t know where God was leading him. The instruction God gives him is, “I will show you the way.” The only way Abram would find his destination was to walk with God faithfully and obediently, not perfectly.
The only way we will find our destination is to walk with God, faithfully and obediently. God’s promises never fail. He is faithful. Let’s go the distance.
What do you learn from the obedience of Abram (vs. 1-9)? What do you learn from his disobedience (vs. 10-20)?
Why do you think Abram lied to Pharaoh?
Has God called you to leave and go someplace? Something? Someone? What’s keeping you from faithful obedience?
Did You Know?
Many theologians and Bible scholars believe that the account of Abraham’s journey in Egypt was intentionally written in order to parallel the later account of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Genesis 41, Exodus 12). These passages share similar story lines, both ending with the Lord showing His faithfulness despite man’s sinfulness.