Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 14 2019 - Genesis 12:1-20 – The call of Abram

The call of Abram is God's response to Babel. From all the scattered people of the earth, God calls one man into special relationship with him.

Abram is called to leave his country and his family to follow the call of God into an inheritance that he cannot yet see. Those who try to secure a future for themselves – like those at Babel – will lose it. Those who leave their own security to follow the call of God will receive an inheritance that can never be lost.

In addition to the promise of a land, God promises to make from Abram a great nation – a people who will be God's own possession. Secondly, he promises to make Abram's name great – Abram does not need to strive to make a name for himself. Thirdly, God promises not only to bless Abram but also to make him a blessing; in him all nations on earth shall be blessed. The history of scattering and of disunity will be reversed as God's promises and his saving power reach out to people of all nations and make of them one new people of God.

God's promises to Abraham are not only his response to Babel, they are his response to the sin that entered the world through Adam. Rebellion caused separation from God, but God's call of Abram anticipates a people who will at last live in fellowship with him. Rebellion brings exclusion from the Garden of God, but God promises Abram a land (the cosmos! Romans 4:13), in which he will enjoy all the blessings of God. The rebellion of one man (one couple), brings misery upon the whole human race, but the blessing of this one man will bring blessing to all nations.

So these promises of God shape the rest of the drama of Scripture.

Famine in the land of Canaan drove Abram and Sarai into Egypt. Afraid of the Egyptians, Abram passed off Sarai as his sister and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, took her into his palace, intending to make her one of his harem. But the Lord sent plagues on Pharaoh's household. Pharaoh learnt the hard way that Sarai was Abram's wife and was quick to expel this couple from his land.

Abram had been called to follow God and to trust that God would fulfil all the promises he had made him. Through him God planned to bring blessing to all peoples of the earth. But Abram's faithlessness brought God's judgment upon others rather than his blessing.

This picture is repeated time and time again through the pages of Scripture. God's purpose for Israel, the descendants of Abram, is that they should be a light to the nations – a people through whom all nations on earth shall be blessed. But Israel's unfaithfulness leads to God's name being blasphemed among the nations (Romans 2:24).

God will need to raise up another from within Israel who will be a light to the nations and who will bring God's salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). Only than shall it be said,

Where He displays his healing power
Death and the curse are known no more;
In him the tribes of Adam boast
more blessings than their father lost.

Lord God, in Christ you have made me an heir to the promises made to Abram. Help me always to trust in you and faithfully follow the Lord Jesus Christ, so that I may know your blessing and be a blessing to those whose lives I touch. Help me to keep your name holy; may it never be blasphemed because of the things I say and do.

Peter Misselbrook