Read Genesis 12:1-9. Why did God call Abram to leave his country and family? How did Abram respond?
The last time that God had spoken to a person, at least as recorded in Scripture, it was with Noah, to reassure him after the Flood that He will establish a covenant with all flesh (Genesis 9:15-17) and that another worldwide flood will never come. God’s new word, now to Abram, reconnects with that promise: all the nations of the earth will be blessed through Abram.
The fulfillment of that prophecy begins with leaving the past. Abram leaves all that was familiar to him, his family, and his country, even a part of himself. The intensity of this going is reflected in the repetition of the keyword “go,” which occurs seven times in this context. Abram has first to leave his country, “Ur of the Chaldeans,” which is also Babylonia (Genesis 11:31, NKJV; Isaiah 13:19). This call to “go out of Babylon” has a long history among the biblical prophets (Isaiah 48:20, Revelation 18:4).
Abram’s departure also concerns his family. Abram must leave his heritage and much of what he learned and acquired through heredity, education, and influence.
Yet, God’s call to go involves even more. The Hebrew phrase lekh lekha, “go,” translated literally, means “go yourself” or “go for yourself.” Abram’s departure from Babylon concerns more than his environment, or even his family. The Hebrew phrase suggests an emphasis on himself. Abram has to leave himself, to get rid of the part of himself that contains his Babylonian past.
The goal of this abandonment is “a land” that God will show him. The same language will be used again in the context of the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:2), to refer to the mount of Moriah, where Isaac will be offered and where the Jerusalem temple will be built (2 Chronicles 3:1). God’s promise is not just about a physical homeland but about the salvation of the world. This idea is reaffirmed in God’s promise of the blessing for all nations (Genesis 12:2-3). The verb barakh, “bless,” appears five times in this passage. The process of this universal blessing operates through the “seed” of Abram (Genesis 22:18, Genesis 26:4, Genesis 28:14). The text refers here to the “seed,” which will ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Acts 3:25).
|What might God be calling you to leave behind? That is, what part of your life might you have to abandon in order to heed the call of God?|