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So, we’re looking at beginning of Chapter 12 of Genesis.
In Genesis 12:1-3 NIV we find the Abrahamic Covenant which is the basis of all other covenants from this point on. Abram’s part is pretty basic, he believes God and goes forward in faith. God fulfills everything else in this covenant by declaring “I will”.
Genesis 12:1-3 NIV “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessings. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
You’ll note that this Covenant covers three specific areas: (1) national, (2) personal and (3) universal.
This is a quote from my Amplified Study Bible in the notes, but it is an especially noteworthy quote, so I’m going to include it. “The Abrahamic Covenant is an important link in all that God began to do, has done throughout history, and will continue to do until the consummation of history. God blesses Abram and all his descendants through the Messiah, who is Abram’s progeny and provides salvation for the entire world.”
You’ll note that verse 12:1 says that “the Lord has said to Abram”…. to my way of thinking this is Abram hearing God speak directly to him. And that’s what Abram moves forward on. Considering all the dangers and uncertainties that were involved with Abram trusting and obeying God, leaving the security of his home and family and going into a strange land, this was a pretty huge step of faith.
Verses 12:4-6 are relatively self explanatory. Note that Abram departs in faithful obedience and takes Lot, his nephew with him and all of their possessions. Verse 7 catches my attention. “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.”
The scriptures don’t say in what form God showed Himself to Abram but whatever the form was, it was in a form that Abram could literally see. I also noted that Abram builds an alter which always has a sacrificial connotation to it. Remember, this is prior to the Law being given and the various sacrifices being spelled out for Israel.
Verse 8 also catches my attention “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.“. Once again we see an altar built to the Lord and also calling on the name of the Lord. When one is “calling on the name of the Lord”, that has the connotation of worship through prayer, praise and thanksgiving. If we jump ahead to Chapter 13, verse 4, you’ll note that the scriptures indicate that it is here, between Bethel and Ai, that Abram first built an alter AND called on the name of the Lord. Interesting how that one word “AND” clarifies that point. Point being that Abram had already built an alter to the Lord at the great tree of Moreh in verse 12:6-7 “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. 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.” Verse 8 then states “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.” Just wanted to clarify that so one doesn’t get confused by Genesis 13:4.
Verses 12:9-20 are relatively straight forward but verse 13 did catch my eye. “Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Here we have Abram stepping out in faith to God’s declared covenant to him and yet when entering Egypt we see Abram showing fear that his life might be taken because of the desirability of Sarai, due to her beauty. One can imagine the visual display of power and authority that Pharaoh’s presence might bring to one’s mind from a humanistic perspective. I just find it gratifying that even Abram showed these humanistic qualities. Also note verse 17 wherein the scriptures state “But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.” I also find it gratifying that the scriptures do not give any evidence that Abram is corrected by the Lord for this. If I was guessing, it almost looks like God allows for a learning curve but don’t quote me on that.
Genesis 13:1-12 again is relatively straight forward. Verses 13 to 16 are noteworthy.
“Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.”
I find it noteworthy that God waited until Lot had departed from Abram before the Lord spoke to Abram again. Abram is the one the Lord’s covenant is with, not Lot and the relationship is special. Also note that the visual confirmation of the land is encouraged by the Lord to Abram. And we hear of the first mention of the people of Sodom, more of which, is to come.
More to follow in Observations in Genesis – Part 9
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!