12 February 2019

Genesis 12

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 blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.’

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. 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.

Abram travelled 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.

From there he went on towards 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.

Then Abram set out and continued towards 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.

Genesis 12 is in many respects the turning point in the Bible where God intervenes in a world that walks the road of self-destruction. God initiates His plan of salvation by making a covenant with Abram that all nations will be blessed through Him. At this point the covenant from a human perspective seems doomed to failure as Abram and Sarai are already past child bearing age.

God does fulfil His promises and I have always looked at these first few verses from a generational and global perspective. What struck me reading this now is that I am part of the fulfilment of the promise made to Abram. The fact that God had you and me in mind when He made this promise is a really encouraging thought. While God had already chosen us in eternity past; the knowledge that God’s promise to Abram included you and me reinforces His love for us.

Our response should one of immense gratitude; lead to the strengthening of our faith; and living lives of thankfulness and praise.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, it is with wonder and praise that we come before You in prayer. We are so grateful that You planned our redemption and elected us to be Your children before time began. We thank You that had a plan to get sinful mankind back to a restored relationship with You. Thank You that You used Abram a sinner like us to initiate your salvation plan. Help us Lord, to fulfil the plans You have for us to be a blessing to the nations and be part of the extension of Your kingdom. Help us to obediently proclaim the amazing gospel message to those near and far. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.