The Call of Abraham

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 11:26-32; Genesis 12:1-20; Genesis 13:1-18

INTRODUCTION:  The early history of Abraham (here, Abram) is a striking picture of what it means to leave the world and follow after God.  He has delays and setbacks.  He sometimes partially obeys and sometimes falls back from where he was.  But he always finds a way with God’s help to get back on track.  There is much we can learn from him.

  1. ABRAM’S FAMILY LINE (Genesis 11:26-32)
    1. Family Members (Genesis 11:26-30)
      1. Father – Terah (Genesis 11:26)
        1. Takes family from Ur to Haran (Genesis 11:31)
        2. Dies in Haran (Genesis 11:32; Acts 7:2-4)
      2. Brothers
        1. Haran
          1. Dies in Ur (Genesis 11:28)
          2. City of Haran named after him (Genesis 11:31)
          3. Father of Lot (Genesis 11:31)
        2. Nahor
          1. Marries Milchah (Genesis 11:29)
          2. Dwells in Haran (Genesis 11:31)
          3. Father of Bethuel
          4. Grandfather of Laban and Rebekah
          5. Great grandfather of Leah and Rachel
      3. Nephew – Lot (Genesis 11:27)
      4. Wife – Sarai (Genesis 11:29-30)
        1. His half-sister (Genesis 20:12)
        2. She had no child (Genesis 11:30).
    2. The Trip to Haran (Genesis 11:31-32)
      1. They came from Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:31).
        1. An ancient city-state in Mesopotamia on the Euphrates River
        2. Not too far from Babylon, the location of the confusing of the tongues and the scattering of the people (Genesis 11:8-9)
        3. A place of idolatry (Joshua 24:2)
      2. The group that made the trip (Genesis 11:31)
        1. Terah
        2. Abram
        3. Lot
        4. Sarai
      3. They left after Abram’s call (cp. Genesis 12:1 with Acts 7:2-4).
      4. They stopped at Haran (Genesis 11:31).
        1. Located in upper Mesopotamia
        2. About halfway between Ur and the land later known as Israel
        3. NOTE: Not only did Abram stop when he was only halfway to where God wanted him, he also brought his family with him (see Genesis 12:1).
  2. ABRAM’S DIVINE CALL (Genesis 12:1-9)
    1. The Fourfold Call (Genesis 12:1)
      1. Out of thy country
      2. From thy kindred
      3. From thy father’s house
      4. Unto a land that I will shew thee
      5. NOTE:  It was not until Abram completed the first three commands (by separating from Lot) that God actually showed him the land that He had promised him (see Genesis 13:14-15).  When we refuse to complete what God has clearly shown us, we miss out on blessings He has for us.
    2. The Sevenfold Promise (Genesis 12:2-3)
      1. I will make of thee a great nation.
      2. I will bless thee.
      3. I will make thy name great.
      4. Thou shalt be a blessing.
      5. I will bless them that bless thee.
      6. I will curse him that curseth thee.
      7. In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
      8. NOTE:  This promise has never been done away with or disannulled (see Galatians 3:15-18).
    3. Abram’s Sojourning in the Land of Canaan (Genesis 12:4-9)
      1. He comes to Canaan (Genesis 12:4-5).
        1. At age 75 (Genesis 12:4)
        2. With Sarai and Lot
        3. With the substance and souls they got in Haran
      2. In the place called Sichem (Genesis 12:6-7)
        1. Sichem is also known as Shechem.
        2. God appears to him again.
        3. He builds an altar to the Lord.
      3. Between Bethel and Hai (Genesis 12:8)
        1. He builds an altar.
        2. He calls on the name of the Lord.
      4. He journeys on to the south (Genesis 12:9).
  3. ABRAM’S JOURNEY INTO EGYPT (Genesis 12:10-20)
    1. Abram Journeys to Egypt (Genesis 12:10-13).
      1. He goes because of a famine in Canaan (Genesis 12:10).
      2. He worries about his wife (Genesis 12:11-12).
        1. She is very beautiful (Genesis 12:11).
        2. He is afraid the Egyptians will kill him in order to get her (Genesis 12:12).
      3. He instructs her to tell the Egyptians that she is only his sister (Genesis 12:13).
      4. The spiritual conditions
        1. Abram knew the Lord wanted him in Canaan, yet he allowed the trial of famine to remove him from God’s will.
        2. Abram is at once gripped by the fear of man.  This is not associated with being in the will of God (Proverbs 29:25).
      5. The significance of Egypt
        1. In this, the first mention of Egypt in the Bible (Genesis 12:10), Abram goes “down into Egypt.”
        2. Throughout the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world.
        3. The Israelites are in captivity in Egypt and must be redeemed from the land in Exodus.
        4. Isaiah 31:1 says, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help.”  This theme is continued throughout the Bible.
        5. Even in this story, Abram builds an altar at Bethel (Genesis 12:8).  However, there is not another altar until Abram comes back to Bethel after he leaves Egypt (Genesis 13:3-4).
    2. Abram in Egypt (Genesis 12:14-17)
      1. Sarai taken into Pharaoh’s house (Genesis 12:14-15)
      2. Abram treated well for Sarai’s sake (Genesis 12:16)
      3. Pharoah’s house plagued because of Sarai (Genesis 12:17)
      4. Notice how Abram’s plan backfired.  If Abram had only obeyed God, things surely would have worked out differently.
    3. Abram Sent from Egypt (Genesis 12:18-20)
      1. Pharaoh reprimands Abram (Genesis 12:18-19).
      2. Pharaoh sends Abram away (Genesis 12:20).
  4. ABRAM’S SEPARATION FROM LOT (Genesis 13:1-18)
    1. Abram Returns to Bethel (Genesis 13:1-4).
      1. Abram comes out of Egypt as a rich man (Genesis 13:1-2).
      2. Abram returns to Bethel and builds an altar (Genesis 13:3-4).
      3. Bethel means “house of God.”
      4. For centuries, preachers have used Bethel as a picture of those who come back to God after leaving Him and getting in the world.  Perhaps you have a student who needs to come back to Bethel.
    2. Abram and Lot Separate (Genesis 13:5-13).
      1. There is strife between Lot’s herdmen and Abram’s herdmen (Genesis 13:5-7).
      2. Abram offers Lot the first choice in the part of the land he wants (Genesis 13:8-9; compare Romans 12:18).
      3. Lot chooses the plain of Jordan (Genesis 13:10-11).
        1. It was well watered every where.
        2. It was even as the garden of the Lord.
      4. Lot pitches his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12-13).
        1. In the beginning Lot’s tent is only pitched toward Sodom, yet in the end he is sitting in the gate in the midst of the wicked city.
        2. Sin never ends up where it starts.
        3. Genesis 13:13 has 13 words and the combination of the name Sodom and the name Gomorrah is 13 letters.
      5. NOTE: Lot made his choice on worldly terms and he paid the price later.  He was drawn to the wicked men of Sodom (Genesis 13:13) and ended up losing his family and his wealth (chapter 19).  Many people today love the things of the world and are drawn to them, but do they realize the price that must be paid for this love?  It is never a good idea to make a choice based on one’s possessions.
    3. God Shows the Promised Land to Abram (Genesis 13:14-18).
      1. God renews His promise of the land (Genesis 13:14-15).
      2. God renews His promise of a seed (Genesis 13:16).
      3. God tells Abram to survey the land (Genesis 13:17).
      4. Abram makes his base in Hebron (Genesis 13:18).

CONCLUSION:  Abraham never took possession of the promised land while he lived on this earth (see Hebrews 11:8-16).  Yet, he never stopped surveying it and seeking for it.  He will yet get his land.  In like manner, much of what we seek for will not be received in this life.  But it is still worth the seeking.  Let us rise and go after that for which God called us. Let us apprehend that for which also we were apprehended (Philippians 3:12-14).

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:17

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.