I love when I go to a college football game and remember to bring binoculars. I can take in the whole spectacle—the crowd, the band, the students, and both teams—but I can also use the binoculars to focus on the specific players who are moving the football toward their goal. In today’s passage, we are given a binocular-like focus on Abram. God called Abram, and with a piling on of promised blessings, God began to work through Abram toward his goal of blessing all the families of the earth and redeeming all of his creation.
- What are the events in your personal history that serve as focal points, events that dramatically altered the direction of your life?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 12:1-9 (ESV)
12:1 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. 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 went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 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, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 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. 8 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. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In verse 1, God spoke to Abram. He told Abram to go and was increasingly specific about the things Abram was to leave. What three things did God say Abram was to leave?
- Where did God tell Abram to go (vs. 1)? What was Abram’s response (vs. 4)? What does Abram’s response show about his heart?
- In verses 2-3, God told Abram he would do seven things (notice the repetition of “I will”). What are those seven things? How many times are the words bless, blessed, or blessing used in verses 2-3? Abram was told that he would both be blessed and would be a blessing. Who did God say would be blessed through Abram? What is the significance of this for you?
- After God appeared to Abram and promised the land to his offspring, what was Abram’s response (vs. 7)? In verse 8, what two things did Abram do after he moved to the east of Bethel? What does this tell you about Abram’s relationship with God?
- We know from Hebrews 11:8 that Abram’s obedience was motivated by faith. What is a specific time in your life when your faith in God motivated you to act in obedience, even when the outcome of your actions was unknown? If God called you to leave everything and almost everyone that you know, how would you respond?
RESPOND TO GOD
Like the history of creation, the history of redemption began with God speaking (Genesis 1:3, 12:1; John 1:1). It is God who initiates and reaches out to us. He is the one who says, “I will bless,” and who promises to pour out his blessings. It was a promise given to Abram, and God was faithful to that promise from generation to generation all the way to Jesus and to us. He is relentless in his pursuit of us, in his pouring out of blessings upon us, and in his moving toward us to give us the ultimate blessing of restoration through his son. God’s plan of reconciliation began with Abram and continues to us. Perhaps we should respond in the same way Abram did, with grateful obedience and worship of God.
- Consider the circumstances which have caused you to call upon the name of the Lord. Thank him that he hears and is worthy of worship.
- Ponder the blessings God has given to you, and thank him for each one. Thank God that through Abram, he blessed you with Jesus, the ultimate blessing.