A Blessing for All Nations
Adult 1 Sunday School Class Genesis12:1-9 December 4, 2011
Theme: The Lord instructs Abram to take his family to another country and promises to make him a great name and nation. Abram obeyed the Lord and went toward the Land of Canaan.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scriptures: (answers in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses.
* Genesis 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:" God speaks to Abram in the city of Haran. Ur of the Chaldees (see Genesis 15:7 and Acts 7:2) was a prosperous port city, yet Abram's father Terah, left Ur for Haran upon God's request. God tells him to leave his father's house, and from his many relatives, and go to a foreign land which He would show him. This was a big undertaking then, as it might be for any of us today to move from the comfort and safety of one's home and family and proceed to an unknown destination. It is not known why God chose Abram, except that he obeyed and trusted God. God's promise and Abram's faith was key to his acceptance.
* v. 2 and v.3 "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and will curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." God lays out His comprehensive plan for Abram and his descendants, in which all nations will be blessed through Abram. From his descendants a mighty nation will come and Abram will be famous throughout all of the lands. God will protect him and his family and will reward nations friendly to him, and will do harm to those who plan or will do harm to him and his family. Abram and his descendants will be blessed for years to come. Through Abram, God enters human history whereby He begins to initiate and implement His plan to redeem mankind from the original sin. These blessings were a direct reversal of the curses placed on the Tower of Babal (Genesis 11:1-9) where men built an edifice to themselves. God through Abram establishes His own means to achieve renown. Men tried to do things through their own efforts, but God rewards Abram with this divine gift. These promises of blessings were conditional, in which he and his descendants would have to be obedient, faithful, and trustworthy to God. God would fulfill these promises by defeating Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea many centuries later, as well as victories over the Canaanites, the Amorites, and the Hittites to name a few.
* v.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." Abram obeyed and left Haran with his wife, Sarai and his brother's son Lot. This shows the faith that is demonstrated by Abram, who left at the age of 75, an age where one would be quite settled with his barren wife. He trusted God that He would fulfill His promise to provide him with prosperity, land, and an heir.
* v.5 and v.6 "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 to into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 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." Abram took his wife, nephew, and substance (i.e. servants, animals, and implements) into Canaan. It is assumed that Abram took in his nephew Lot, when his father Haran died, since they were childless. In that day, it was a shame to have a barren wife. Since Abram had ventured far into the land of Canaan, as God had instructed, it was assumed that he had left the comfort and security of home for this unknown land. They landed in Sichem near the plain of Moreh.
* v.7 "And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give the land: and there builded he an alter unto the LORD, who appeared unto him." The Lord appeared to Abram in human form (i.e. theophany) at Moreh, for the purpose of explaining to him that his descendants would be given this land. In actuality, it would be 500 years before his seed (decedents) would be given the land. At the time, Abram was childless. It was a tremendous leap of faith for Abram to uproot his family for this distant land solely on the promise of God, and his building of an alter to God demonstrated it.
* v.8 "And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel 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." Abram left Moreh and moved into the southern part of Canaan. His wisdom showed that if he was to claim the land, he had to stake it out. He settles upon a mountain and erected another altar to honor God who brought him there. His specific location is listed above.
* v.9 "And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south." "Journeyed", let's us know that Abram began to travel the region of southern Canaan after God had visited him and showing him the "promised" land from his mountain site. He became a nomad, moving around from place to place, as he had viewed the "promised" land that God would promise his heirs. Abram would travel the desert awaiting the fulfillment of God's promise, which only served to strengthen his relationship, trust, and faith with his God.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
* Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.