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Genesis 12




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12

If you were to look at Acts 7:2, you would find where God called Abram to go to Canaan before the family left the Ur of the Chaldeans and went to Haran.  As we saw last time, there was a bit of a delay in the journey to Canaan.  They settled in Haran until Abram’s dad passed away.

At some point after that God appeared Abram again and again told him to leave where he was.  The call was for Abram to go to a place he had never seen and live there.  If he were obedient to that call, God promised Abram incredible blessing.

Because many of us are at least somewhat familiar with this story and how it ends up, it is easy for us to sort of bypass this episode as no big deal.  But I have to think it must have been a difficult thing for Abram to obey the one, true God and head off to a place that he had never been and undoubtedly knew little about.  To make this even more difficult, Joshua 24:2 says that Abram was an idolater when he was in Ur of the Chaldeans.  That city was focused on worshipping the moon god Nannar.  So, now Abram is being called by a God that he had little knowledge of to go to a place that he had little knowledge of.  And what did Abram do?  He loaded up his stuff and took off.

When Abram and his group arrived in Canaan they encountered a land that was already inhabited.  Interestingly enough, God promised to give that very land to Abram’s descendents. As you read on you will find that a horrible famine drove Abram out of Canaan into Egypt.  In the next chapter, we will see where Abram and his clan would leave Egypt and move back into Canaan.

Those two events prefigure some other significant events that will have a huge impact on the nation of Israel in the years to come.  For example, later in the Biblical narrative, Joseph is the prime minister of Egypt during an unparalleled world wide famine.  His family which would become the progenitors of the nation of Israel would come to Egypt to escape the famine.  Hundreds of year later, Moses would arrive on the scene to lead the people out of Egypt toward the Promised Land which is Canaan. 

There is another interesting thing about chapter 12.  When Abram and his clan arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians found that Sarai (Abram’s wife) was a most beautiful woman.  She was so beautiful that they wanted Pharaoh to have her.  Somehow Abram had anticipated this and he had told Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she was Abram’s sister instead of his wife. 

Of course when we read that, we think why in the world would Abram come up with such a story.  Our answer is he did that to protect his own hide.  Genesis 20:12, however, tells us that Sarai was Abram’s half sister.  So, on one hand he didn’t actually force her to tell a lie about their relationship.  But he certainly didn’t man up and protect his wife.  Besides that we now have a man married to his sister.  In our culture, that would be a big ewwwww…. unless you are from Arkansas.

Nevertheless, God intervened again.  He protected Sarai.  And through that process he protected Abram.  At the end of the day, He was probably protecting the line of people through which the nation of Israel, His chosen people, would come.  The purpose and plan of a sovereign God will never be thwarted by the efforts of man.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

Genesis 11




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 11

The chapter opens with a most unusual description of unity in the human race.  They lived in one place, spoke one language, had one purpose, and worked to fulfill one plan.  God actually said that this incredible unity would allow the people to do anything that they wanted to do.

The problem is they left God out of all of it.  When Noah and his family came out of the ark, God told them to multiply and fill the earth.  The people gathering in the plain of Shinar was an act of disobedience.  Their desire to reach God on their own terms was an act of arrogance.  God judges and responds to all disobedience.

Before we go any further with the narrative in this chapter, I want to call your attention again to the fact that Babel would become Babylon.  Babylon will play a critical role in the end times during the Great Tribulation.  In fact, much of the Great Tribulation will be characterized by an uncommon unity in the human race.  There will be a one world government, a one world currency, a one world religion.  But that unity, in the same way as the unity at the Tower of Babel, will not honor God.

On the other hand, it is important to see that we are able to accomplish much when we work together.  Indeed we are able to accomplish more together than we can even accomplish even cumulatively when we are working alone.  The power of synergy is an amazing thing when the people of God are doing the work of God according to the will and Word of God.

Based upon the people’s disobedience and arrogance at the Tower of Babel, it would be understandable if God came down and destroyed them all.  What we see, however, is the grace of God overwhelming the sin of man.  His solution was to give different people groups different languages.  Since they were no longer able to communicate with everybody, they congregated with people they could communicate with and drifted away to repopulate the earth.  That by the way was the command of God anyway.

From there we encounter another look at Shem’s genealogy.  I don’t want to belabor this but I would call your attention to the decrease in the life spans of each subsequent generation as you work through verse 26.  You might remember that early on in the human experience, people lived for hundreds of years.  Before the flood God limited the life span to 120 years.  Now after the flood that 120 year limit is lifted but life spans start decreasing.  This decrease may very well be the result of the post-flood generations being impacted by the compounding physical consequences of sin on the human body.

This genealogy leads us to a man name Terah.  And as Terah comes on the scene, the Bible is about to make a major shift.  As the main characters of the Bible shifted from Adam and Eve to Cain and Seth to Noah, now we are about to be introduced to a man named Abram.  (His name will later be changed to Abraham.)  

Abram is the son of Terah.  But the important thing to remember is that Abram is not only going to be the “father” of the faithful, he will also be the “father” of Israel.  The next several chapters of Genesis will be dedicated to Abram’s story.  We will have much to learn.

Terah moved part of his family including Abram and Abram’s wife, Sarai from a place called the Ur of the Chaldeans.  His planned destination was the land of Canaan.  However, on their way they passed through Haran and Terah decided to stay there.  It was there that Terah died and the story points to Abram.  We will pick that up next time.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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