Well, today has been quite full so I’m only now sitting down to write my thoughts on Genesis 12-15 (I was ambitious this morning and found myself in all 3 chapters!). But even now I have to be honest I’m still mulling over these chapters. The story of Abram and the call of God on his life has had a profound impact on my life for many years as I have thought often of how God called him away from his family and homeland to a land that He would show him. Note: He didn’t even tell him the land right away! That part has always struck me. Because Abram up and followed God. Hebrews 11:8-10 says “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in a tent with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (emphasis mine) How many times in this season of my life have I felt just like Abram… called to go out to a place where I don’t know where I’m going. And yet, just as God continues to lead and show up for Abram, so He continues to lead and show up for me. Even in the loneliest and darkest moments (I had some of those moments today). Here’s the thing, Abram didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t know how “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” through him when his wife was barren and there were times he didn’t know if he would make it (see famine in the land, chapter 12: 10-20). Sometimes he took matters into his own hands, yet all along the way it seems as though God was gently guiding him and guiding him not just to the land… but to HIMSELF. And each time God reveals himself to Abram, Abram builds an altar and begins to “call on the name of the Lord”. And this is what I’ve been mulling over today, what it means to call on the name of the Lord and to keep building “altars” before the Lord of reminders of his promises to me. I was struck in Chapter 15 when the first time we hear Abram utter a word about God we find him speaking to the King of Sodom who wants Abram to give him the people from a recent battle and he (the King of Sodom) would give him the goods. Abram’s response is “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap of anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.'” (Genesis 14: 22-23) Somehow, in all Abram’s wanderings so far, in all the ways he has begun to experience God, he has come to declare God’s holiness and His total control over the heaven and earth. And while, I’m quite confident that that is not the first thing Abram has said to others about God, it is the first that we are privileged to hear and I believe there is significance in that. And that is what I’m still thinking about tonight. So that’s what I’ll leave you with today… a couple of questions that are still floating around in my head as I think of how God has showed up to Abram in these few chapters and Abrams response.
Questions for reflection:
- What do you think God is revealing to Abram about Himself as Abram builds altars before the Lord?
- What “altars” or significant moments in your life have occurred where God has rooted aspects of His character deeper in your own life that He wants you to continue to remember in what you are walking through today?
- Why do you think the first time we hear Abram speak about God it’s the words found in Genesis 14:22,23 and what does that tell us about Abram’s view of God?
Hagar in Genesis 16