Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
Genesis 11:27-32. Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor, & Haran. Haran dies in Ur of the Chaldeans (v.28). Joshua 24:2 tells us that Abram and Terah lived “beyond the Euphrates” and that Terah worshipped other gods. Acts 7:2-3 tells us that YHWH told Abram to leave his family and his country while he was still in Mesopotamia. Terah dies in Haran (Gen 11:32). There may be a good reason why.
Genesis 12:1-3. YHWH speaks to Abram. There is no indication that Abram had any previous history with YHWH, especially with his surroundings in Ur full of pagan idolatry. The call of Abram also begins a new dispensation, with YHWH “pulling back” from dealing with the whole world, and choosing one man through whom He would fulfill His plan. This is also the first glimpse into what would become the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15.
The promises unconditionally made to Abram are:
1. LAND- YHWH has real estate allotted for Abram and his offspring.
2. SEED- YHWH will multiply Abram’s offspring into mass proportions.
3. BLESSING- Abram’s line would be a blessing to the whole world.
All of history rests upon the fulfillment of these three promises. Their role in prophecy cannot be ignored. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that Abram went because he believed what God had told him. The problem was that he was to go with just Sarah and no one else. Both Terah (Abram’s father) and Lot (v.4) tagged along. Terah dies in Haran before they ever reach the LAND, and Lot’s presence causes disruption and conflict (Gen 13:1-13; 19:30-38, which gave way to the Ammonites and the Moabites, both being people that would cause Israel great trouble in the future).
Notice that those who bless Abram (later Israel) will be blessed, but those that curse Abram will be cursed. The word “curse” occurs twice in v.3, with the first time being kalal meaning “belittle, to treat lightly, to hold in contempt.” The second use is aor meaning “to bind under a curse, to ban.”
There is a stern warning against treating Abram and his descendants lightly.
Genesis 12:4-9. Abram, Sarai, & Lot take all of their belongings into the land of Canaan. We are told that the Canaanites inhabited the land (v.6b) and that the promise of the LAND is reiterated to Abram, to which he erects two altars: 1 at the “oak of Moreh,” and one in Bethel. Abram worships YHWH in response to His great promises.
Genesis 12:10-13:4. There are two interesting points within these verses. First, due to a famine, Abram leaves the land that YHWH promised to him, and to which Abram responded in worship. Second, Abram lies about Sarai being his wife, which unleashes the hand of God upon Pharaoh. We have no record of Abram worshipping YHWH until Genesis 13:4, when he returns to the land.
When God fulfills His Word, we must respond in worship!
The Dispensation of Promise
1. Responsibility- Israel is to be a blessing to the world (Gen 12:2b). Also, mankind is to bless Israel (Gen 12:3). Each command is separate having no contingency upon the other to be obeyed.
2. Failure- Israel leaves the Land for Egypt with YHWH’s blessing (Gen 46:3-4). Egypt enslaves Israel, bringing about the curse that YHWH promised (Gen 12:3). This was foreknown by YHWH (Gen 15:13-14).
3. Judgment- Egypt is judged so that their gods are made a laughing stock among the nations. Their record of history “disappears” for a time due to YHWH bringing their destruction (Ex 1-14).
4. Grace- YHWH does not annihilate the nation of Egypt. In fact, the Lord will “make Himself known to Egypt” and they will sacrifice unto Him after He sends them a Savior (Isa 19:21-22). Egypt will one day be called “God’s people” (Isa 19:25). How profound is His mercy!