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: . .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. — Genesis 12:1, 4
Elmer and Helen Luka were a young couple with two little boys when God called them to move from their home and familiar surroundings. The church they were attending taught salvation only, and although the two were saved, they had begun to feel the need for something more in their spiritual lives. Elmer related, “One day, the Lord laid it on our hearts to find a people who preached the whole Word of God. My wife and I sold our home and furniture and piled everything else in a panel truck and a trailer that we pulled along behind. We strung two little hammocks in the back of the truck for our boys to sleep in. A friend had sent us literature from an Apostolic Faith Church in Los Angeles, California, so we headed west across the country, looking for the people of God.
“I will never forget the Sunday morning we opened the doors of the Apostolic Faith Church in Los Angeles, California. It was as though a Voice spoke from Heaven saying, ‘This is it! This is what you have been looking for!’ God gave us that witness. Brother Loyce Carver was preaching that morning on the subject of sanctification — the very experience our hearts had been hungering for, though we did not know it at the time. Some of the people said the sermon was so strong that they thought we would never come back. Well, we came back!”
They certainly did. Elmer and Helen both received their sanctification at the first camp meeting they attended in Portland, Oregon, and a short time later, both were filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Over the following years, they raised their children in the Gospel with the Lord as their Friend and Healer. Elmer became a minister, and in time he pastored at three Apostolic Faith churches, enjoying the blessing of God upon their lives for the rest of their days.
Like Abram in today’s text, Elmer and Helen proved that when we walk in obedience to the Lord, we can confidently rely on Him to direct our steps and reward our obedience. God called Abram to leave his homeland in Ur of the Chaldees and journey to an unknown land. He followed God’s instructions, even though he had no knowledge about where he was headed. It was Abram’s absolute and unquestioning obedience that endeared him to God, and his long journey from Ur to Canaan was fueled by faith. Let us always obey and step out in confidence at God’s direction, though it may seem as though there is nothing but swirling mist ahead of us. We will find solid ground under the tread of faith.
God’s instructions to Abram were accompanied by great promises: that his descendants would become a great nation, and that through these descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Did Abram even dream what this promise meant? Someday, through his lineage, Jesus Christ would be born as the Savior for all mankind. Through Christ, the people of all nations would be able to enjoy a personal relationship with God and be forgiven of their sins.
God may be trying to lead you into a place of greater blessing and usefulness for Him, just as He did for Abram of old, and for Elmer and Helen Luka. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s plan for you. As you step forward in obedience to God, you can be assured of God’s blessing on your life.
Today’s text marks a pivotal division in the Book of Genesis. Prior to this point in Scripture, God had dealt with the entire human race, but at this juncture, He centered His attention upon the man Abram and his family. The name Abram means “exalted father,” and the meaning of his name is reflected in fact: Abraham is honored by three major religious faiths — Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Beginning with verse 10 of chapter 11, the descendants of Shem are traced for ten generations, concluding with Abram (verse 26). This genealogy establishes the background of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, and later, David and Solomon, as well as the ancestry of the Messiah.
Chapter 12 begins with an account of Abram’s call, his obedience to that call, and the blessings promised to him by God (verses 1-3). God called Abram from the godless city of Ur to the region of Canaan, where He would establish a God-centered, moral nation through Abram’s offspring. The exact location of Ur is not known, but Bible scholars and archeologists generally suppose it to be the renowned Sumerian city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, which was under the rule of the Chaldeans. On today’s map, that would place the location in southern Iraq, about one hundred miles northwest of the Kuwaiti border.
Verses 4-9 relate Abram’s obedience in journeying to Canaan, the renewal and strengthening of God’s promise, and Abram’s building of altars to worship the Lord in each place where he went.
While in southern Canaan, a famine struck the land. Verses 10-20 record that as a result of the famine, Abram traveled down into Egypt. Fearing that the Egyptians would kill him for his wife, Sarai, he instructed her not to admit to being his wife, but only his sister. The danger that Abram anticipated was real, for Sarai was taken into Pharaoh’s house. God responded by plaguing Pharaoh and his household on Sarai’s account. Eventually Pharoah discovered the truth, reprimanded Abram, and expelled him from the country.
As a result of the events recorded in this text, the region of Canaan, though small in terms of its geographical boundaries, became the epicenter for the rise of Christianity. This parcel of land, granted by God Himself to the man Abram, has had an incredible impact on world history.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The early history of the chosen race
1. Introduction (11:10-32)
a. Lineage from Shem through Terah (11:10-26)
b. Lineage of Terah (11:27-32)
2. The call of Abraham (12:1-3)
3. The journey of Abraham (12:4-9)
a. From Ur and Haran (12:4)
b. To Canaan (12:5-9)
4. The sojourn in Egypt (12:10-20)
Wherever God calls us to go, He will go before us and will meet us at the point of obedience with His divine blessing.