The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go 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.” Genesis 12:1-3
I broke Genesis 12 into two posts since this was getting long. This first part tells of Abram’s journey to Shechem in Canaan. Next week’s post will be about Abram’s detour to Egypt due to famine in the land, Genesis 12:10-20.
You may read Genesis 12:1-9 here: Bible Gateway.
Genesis 12:1-3 unveils God’s covenant with Abram. God promises a great blessing to Abram. He would create a special nation through Abram’s offspring, but there is one condition: Abram would have to obey and leave the comfort and security of his home.
In Genesis 12:1 the word “had” suggests that God’s message to Abram happened in Ur, even though 11:31 ends with Abram in Haran. Abram respected his father’s leadership, but after Terah died Abram obeys and sets out for the land of Canaan. Lot probably also believed God’s promises since he voluntarily went with Abram.
The original Hebrew wording “you will be a blessing” in verse 2 means, “Be a blessing.” Not only would God bless Israel—the nation God would craft from Abram’s family—but they would also bless the other nations. Israel was to be set apart, follow God, and influence those around her.
Through Abram’s family tree, Jesus Christ was born to save all people. Jesus also made a personal relationship with God possible.
Abram Worships God
Abram stops at Shechem (12:6-7), near the middle of Canaan (Joshua 20:7), where the LORD appears to him a second time. Again, God promises to give this land to Abram’s offspring. Abram responds with worship and builds an altar.
Layman’s Commentary Bible notes: “The word translated worship carries the idea of not only acknowledging, but also proclaiming the name of the Lord.”
Abram Camps Between Ai and Bethel
Abram heads out again. This time he and his group camp in the hills east of Bethel (12:8) as Abram continues worshiping God.
- Is God leading you to a place of greater service and usefulness to Him? Like Abram, don’t let your present comfort and security keep you from God’s plan.
- Regular worship reminds us of what God desires and motivates us to obey.
- Although geographically small, the land of Canaan was the main area for most of Israel’s history. Not only are Christianity’s roots from here, but Christianity has spread and positively impacted the world.
- America has been richly blessed as our forefathers and people honored God and sought to live by His principles, including the support of Israel. But when we as a nation turn our backs on God and His teaching we are inviting His judgment.