The Call of Abraham – Genesis 12

12 Now the Lord said to Abram (Abraham), “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 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. 3 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.”  4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot (his nephew) went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.  Genesis 12:1-4 ESV

Abram, later renamed Abraham, was God’s first step in restoring His relationship with man that was broken by sin in the Garden of Eden.  As evidenced by Cain rising up and murdering his brother, Abel, man’s nature has always had a bent towards sin. We are independent thinkers, and prefer to walk in our own ways rather than God’s. 

One man, Noah, did live his life choosing to make God a priority, but most of his peers rejected that lifestyle, and God was grieved by their choice.

Many of us today have lived our lives away from God. Some of us were once close to God and walked away, and others never gave God much of a thought at all. 

Like Abraham, God has called each one of us to come out from where we are and to begin following Him.  A loving, holy God wants to touch us and bless our lives.

God called Abram out of his comfort zone in the city Ur (now in Iraq), through Harran (now in Turkey), and into a new land that is now Israel.  He did this to begin a new relationship with mankind that is based upon faith. He is reaching out to us, those who are willing to believe in Him. He was us to walk with Him, and to experience Him daily. 

Some believe that God is distant and aloof, and not interested in our daily life.  But God’s interactions with Abraham, his son Isaac and with all his descendants throughout the genealogy of Jesus Christ show that this is not the case at all.  God loves us and wants to be an intimate part of our daily experience.  He also wants to use us for the good of others, to be the “hands and feet” of Christ reaching out to help them experience the blessings of God firsthand.

Consider what the Lord said to Moses:

7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  Exodus 3:7-8 ESV

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”  Exodus 4:12 ESV

God was with Moses, He was with Abraham, and now He is with us. He cares deeply about each one of us, and all of those around us.

Abraham was seventy-five years old when God called him to new life.  At that age, he might not have been thrilled about picking up and moving to a foreign, unknown territory.  People did live longer in that day, but even so, being in late middle age, he might have been fairly settled in a comfortable lifestyle.  

But when God reaches out to touch us, it is thrilling. Abram was also thrilled to hear that he would, at long last, have descendants. His deeply held desire for this had long looked like it would go unfulfilled.  But though God’s promise to Abram came at age 75, he and Sarai would not receive their child for another 25 years. By that time, she was 90 and well beyond normal child-bearing age.  But God is not limited by anything.

It is interesting that God would choose this way to miraculously fulfill his promise.  A similar pattern was used for the birth of John the Baptist in the New Testament, when his mother, Elizabeth, was also well beyond normal child-bearing age.  This establishes and confirms that the hand of God alone was behind these miracles.

God warned Abram that he was going to be a sojourner in a new land, a land currently occupied by others. But God also promised Abram some incredible things: 1) he would become a great nation, and 2) through his descendants, all the families on the earth would be blessed.  This would ultimately be accomplished through his biological and spiritual lineage, which culminated in the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. 

The Kingdom of God started with the calling of Abraham. It culminated in the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who will return one day to reign on David’s throne in the New Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit is now moving throughout the earth, bringing a blessing to all who would respond to His call. As God had promised Abraham – through him, all the nations on the earth would be blessed.

Reflection

I have a friend who refers to “divine inconveniences,” times when God nudges us to do something when we are busy or focused on doing something else.  Can you recall a time this occurred to you?   What was the occasion?  What was the result?

God had divine reasons to lead Abram and his descendants over a bumpy, inconvenient road. He led him down to Egypt and eventually towards Mount Moriah, which would one day become the city of Jerusalem.  Can you recall a time that you asked the Lord for a different path than the one He had chosen for you? Did you get your way?  Can you look back now and see God’s plan in a different light than you did then?  If not, do you have faith to believe that, one day, God’s comfort will come, and His purpose will be revealed?

God’s call to Abram led to a major life change.  How are you with change?  What changes have you made in your life as God has led you?  What change is God calling you to make today?

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