(Promises To Abram)
A.In the Introduction we said the THEME of Genesis is God's choice of an individual and a nation through whom a Savior would come to all nations, and to every believing individual.
B.So the Book of Genesis is not a complete or universal history of the world or of mankind.
C.Rather, it is the first chapter in the history of the saving of mankind from sin and from eternal loss.
1.PRIMITIVE HISTORY: BEGINNING OF THE HUMAN RACE - CREATIVE ACTS OF GOD - FOUR GREAT EVENTS -- CHAPTERS 1-11.
A.These Events (after those in Eden) took place in the East (From Eden to Ur of The Chaldees).
B.The Four major events of Chapters 1-11 lay the foundation for the rest of Genesis, and for the rest of the Bible:
2.PATRIARCHAL HISTORY: BEGINNING OF THE HEBREW RACE - REDEMPTIVE ACTS OF GOD - FOUR GREAT PEOPLE -- CHAPTERS 12-50.
A.The first section (20% of the Book) covered 2,000 years; this section (80% of the Book) covers only 286 years.
B.So GENESIS is not a complete history of the ancient world; But it is thematic; Its theme: THE REDEMPTION OF MANKIND.
C.Now the attention of the Book turns to four great people through whom redemption was to come. The following events took place in the West (From Canaan to Egypt).
D.THE STORY OF ABRAHAM - 12:1-25:18; A life of great faith.
12:1 NOW THE LORD HAD SAID UNTO ABRAM, GET THEE OUT OF THY COUNTRY, AND FROM THY KINDRED, AND FROM THY FATHER'S HOUSE, UNTO A LAND THAT I WILL SHEW THEE:
A.THE LORD HAD SAID: This is past tense, so it apparently transpired in Ur, and perhaps was repeated in Haran. Either the record in Gen 11-12 is not in chronological order, or there were two calls - cf Ac 7:1-4. NOTE: God spoke directly to Abram, for there was no Bible then; Today He speaks to us through His completed written Word.
B.GET THEE OUT OF THY COUNTRY...UNTO A LAND THAT I WILL SHOW THEE: Abram needed to be separated from the idolatry of his homeland. Excavations in Ur have revealed that it was a large and wealthy city. Think of the faith necessary to move from the comforts of your home and everything familiar, and start out not knowing where you are going - see Heb 11:8-10.
C.Ancient traffic would normally travel in the "Fertile Cres-cent." Haran was about 280 miles northeast of Damascus.
D.FROM THY KINDRED...FROM THY FATHER'S HOUSE: Joshua 24:2 re-veals that Terah was a worshipper of other gods. But Abram was a follower of Jehovah. He was to be separated from idol-atry, and be faithful to the one true God.
E.ABRAM is the central figure in the Book of Genesis; His call-ing in 12:1-3 is the pivotal point in the Book; the covenant promises here made to him are the foundation of God's plan for our salvation, and ALL these promises have now been com-pletely fulfilled.
F.Here begins a new way of dealing with humanity (not all of mankind now, as was the case through Chap. 11).
G.Why did God choose Abram?
12:2 AND 1I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION, AND 2I WILL BLESS THEE, AND MAKE THY NAME GREAT; AND THOU SHALT BE A BLESSING:
12:3 AND I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE, AND CURSE HIM THAT CURSETH THEE: AND 3IN THEE SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.
A.These important words are known through the Bible as THE PROMISE; Note that THE PROMISE consists of four parts:
a.This is the outline of the Bible -- God's unfolding plan.
b.All nations (not just Israel) were to be blessed through Abraham's seed.
c.JESUS CHRIST IS THAT SEED (He can save any Jew or Gentile who obeys Him) - Gen 22:18; Gal 3:8,16; Tit 2:11; Ac 10:34-35; Heb 5:9; Ac 3:22-26.
4.The fourth part of the PROMISE is to come later (Verse 7).
12:4 SO ABRAM DEPARTED, AS THE LORD HAD SPOKEN UNTO HIM; AND LOT WENT WITH HIM: AND ABRAM [WAS] SEVENTY AND FIVE YEARS OLD WHEN HE DEPARTED OUT OF HARAN.
12:5 AND ABRAM TOOK SARAI HIS WIFE, AND LOT HIS BROTHER'S SON, AND ALL THEIR SUBSTANCE THAT THEY HAD GATHERED, AND THE SOULS THAT THEY HAD GOTTEN IN HARAN; AND THEY WENT FORTH TO GO INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN; AND INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN THEY CAME.
12:6 AND ABRAM PASSED THROUGH THE LAND UNTO THE PLACE OF SICHEM, UNTO THE PLAIN OF MOREH. AND THE CANAANITE [WAS] THEN IN THE LAND.
A.Some say they do not or cannot serve God because of their environment and circumstances. Consider Abram's environment and circumstances: He was living in a sinful world, sur-rounded by idolatrous people, and came from a family that did not know God, Abram and Sarai were advancing in years, and they were childless. In spite of his environment and circum-stances, Abram believed God's Word, and obeyed it.
B.Abram gave up his home, his family, and his country, and committed himself to an unknown future, as a nomad living in tents, trusting all he was and had to God's care; In doing this he was obeying by faith - Heb 11:8.
C.Note that LOT was with Abram through all this, and that he also believed God and trusted His promises.
D.And Notice that Nahor continued to live in Haran, while Abram and his portion of the family moved about 400 mi. to Canaan.
E.Sichem (Shechem) was Abraham's first stopping place. It is a very beautiful site located between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim.
12:7 AND THE LORD APPEARED UNTO ABRAM, AND SAID, 4UNTO THY SEED WILL I GIVE THIS LAND: AND THERE BUILDED HE AN ALTAR UNTO THE LORD, WHO APPEARED UNTO HIM.
A.Verse 7, 4THE LAND PROMISE: The Land of Canaan was to be possessed by Abraham's descendants -- And Canaan was pos-sessed, by them, under Joshua - Jos 21:43-45; cf 23:14-16.
B.All promises to Israel were either fulfilled, or else they failed because of Israel's apostasy - cf Deu 8:19-20; 28:1-2ff, 15ff (cf vv25,36-37, etc.); Jos 24:19-20.
C.The Lord gave the land promise through Abram to the promised nation, and Abram built an altar there at Shechem.
D.Abraham never owned an inch of the land except a cave he bought in which to bury his wife, but he never wavered in his trust in the ability of God to keep His promises.
E.Be impressed that the entire remaining portion of the Bible is the story of the fulfillment of these promises, and in particular how God moved to the fulfillment of the Spiritual Promise to bless all nations through Abraham's Descendent.
12:8 AND HE REMOVED FROM THENCE UNTO A MOUNTAIN ON THE EAST OF BETH-EL, AND PITCHED HIS TENT, [HAVING] BETH-EL ON THE WEST, AND HAI ON THE EAST: AND THERE HE BUILDED AN ALTAR UNTO THE LORD, AND CALLED UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.
A.Bethel is 20 miles south of Shechem and 10 miles north of Jerusalem.
B.Here, too, Abram built an altar.
12:9 AND ABRAM JOURNEYED, GOING ON STILL TOWARD THE SOUTH.
12:10 AND THERE WAS A FAMINE IN THE LAND: AND ABRAM WENT DOWN INTO EGYPT TO SOJOURN THERE; FOR THE FAMINE [WAS] GRIEVOUS IN THE LAND.
12:11 AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN HE WAS COME NEAR TO ENTER INTO EGYPT, THAT HE SAID UNTO SARAI HIS WIFE, BEHOLD NOW, I KNOW THAT THOU [ART] A FAIR WOMAN TO LOOK UPON:
A.Abram was 10 years older than Sarai - Gen 17:17; And he was now 75 - 12:4; So she was a good-looking 65 year old woman.
B.See how good-looking she was - Verses 12,14.
12:12 THEREFORE IT SHALL COME TO PASS, WHEN THE EGYPTIANS SHALL SEE THEE, THAT THEY SHALL SAY, THIS [IS] HIS WIFE: AND THEY WILL KILL ME, BUT THEY WILL SAVE THEE ALIVE.
12:13 SAY, I PRAY THEE, THOU [ART] MY SISTER: THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH ME FOR THY SAKE; AND MY SOUL SHALL LIVE BECAUSE OF THEE.
A.She was his half-sister - Gen 20:12; Marriage between near relatives was common in those early ages.
B.We don't like to say that Abram lied, but anything told (or not told) with intent to deceive is a lie.
12:14 AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT, WHEN ABRAM WAS COME INTO EGYPT, THE EGYPTIANS BEHELD THE WOMAN THAT SHE [WAS] VERY FAIR.
12:15 THE PRINCES ALSO OF PHARAOH SAW HER, AND COMMENDED HER BEFORE PHARAOH: AND THE WOMAN WAS TAKEN INTO PHARAOH'S HOUSE.
12:16 AND HE ENTREATED ABRAM WELL FOR HER SAKE: AND HE HAD SHEEP, AND OXEN, AND HE ASSES, AND MENSERVANTS, AND MAIDSERVANTS, AND SHE ASSES, AND CAMELS.
12:17 AND THE LORD PLAGUED PHARAOH AND HIS HOUSE WITH GREAT PLAGUES BECAUSE OF SARAI ABRAM'S WIFE.
12:18 AND PHARAOH CALLED ABRAM, AND SAID, WHAT [IS] THIS [THAT] THOU HAST DONE UNTO ME? WHY DIDST THOU NOT TELL ME THAT SHE [WAS] THY WIFE?
12:19 WHY SAIDST THOU, SHE [IS] MY SISTER? SO I MIGHT HAVE TAKEN HER TO ME TO WIFE: NOW THEREFORE BEHOLD THY WIFE, TAKE [HER], AND GO THY WAY.
12:20 AND PHARAOH COMMANDED [HIS] MEN CONCERNING HIM: AND THEY SENT HIM AWAY, AND HIS WIFE, AND ALL THAT HE HAD.
A.Abram prospered in spite of his mistakes.
B.No doubt he knew it was wrong to lie; Pharaoh also recognized it to be wrong, although it seems his concern was of a prac-tical nature, not a spiritual concern.
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