January 17, 2019

Blessing, Faith, and Doubt

Genesis 12

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The Call of Abram

Now the LORD said1 to Abram, “Go from your country2 and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”3

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak4 of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

Abram and Sarai in Egypt

10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

17 But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” 20 And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

Footnotes

[1] 12:1 Or had said
[2] 12:1 Or land
[3] 12:3 Or by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves
[4] 12:6 Or terebinth

Blessing, Faith, and Doubt



Key Verse | Genesis 12:1-3

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Bio | Chad Ethridge

Hi! I am a Cajun at heart, but have lived in Texas long enough to blend in. My Cajun roots come out in the food choices I make every day: I add Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning to just about anything! As an architect, I spend a lot of time thinking about the built environment. Secretly, though, I enjoy nature more than architecture because I often find that I connect with God through nature (Psalm 19:1-2). That is why I currently live as close as possible to White Rock Lake and enjoy hiking and biking around the lake.

Central Truth

God blesses, and we choose to walk in faith or doubt.

Devotional | Genesis 12

God speaks to Abram and affirms His plan in Genesis 12:1-3. The scope of God's plan is beyond Abram—"in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." It is not a man-sized plan. It...

God speaks to Abram and affirms His plan in Genesis 12:1-3. The scope of God's plan is beyond Abram—"in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." It is not a man-sized plan. It is something that only God would accomplish in His time.

The first instruction that Abram receives from the Lord is simple: "Go from your country." Abram was in Haran (Genesis 11:31), but the Lord was calling him to leave what was familiar. It was an act of faith for Abram to follow the instruction of the Lord. Notice that God doesn't give Abram specific details. He just tells him to go, and Abram displays faith by obeying.

In 2011, I responded to God's call to move into the inner city of South Dallas to be the hands and feet of Christ to those living in impoverished conditions. I did not know all the specific details or ramifications of that decision, but I exercised faith by going. God did indeed bless that act of faith and for the next five years provided me with many beautiful friendships and opportunities to mentor young men without fathers or Christian influences. When we respond to God in faith, we will experience His blessing. All the things that I left behind to move to South Dallas were given back to me in greater measure. He filled me with peace, inner joy, and a deeper sense of purpose. That doesn't mean that there were no difficulties, but I had confidence that God led me, and I responded in faith.

I wish that I displayed that kind of faith in every decision, but I often respond to God with doubt. It is comforting to know that even Abram had shortcomings and failed to live up to his calling at times (see Genesis 12:11-13). Despite God's promise to make him a great nation, Abram took matters into his own hands, asking his bride, Sarai, to deceive Pharaoh in Egypt. Abram displayed doubt that time. May we more and more choose to live by faith.

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Discussion Questions

1. God did not bless Abram for himself alone, but for all nations. How are you being a blessing to those who are not Christ followers? Are you intentional in building relationships with non-believers?

2. Abram was a man of faith because of his obedience to the call of God. How are you exercising faith in God?

3. Abram demonstrated a lack of faith by placing Sarai and the promised seed in peril (Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-18). Have there been times when you doubted the blessing of God and tried to manipulate others for your benefit? What did God teach you from that experience?

4. How do you daily trust that God is working all things together for your good in spite of difficult circumstances? See Romans 8:28.

2 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson about 2 hours ago

I am taught Genesis is about God’s faithfulness and my/our obedience/disobedience.

God promises Abram “land, seed and blessing”. (Shout out Blake and the equipping team!!) Like the promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and the covenant with Noah, I am taught to look for these promises in each book of the Bible.

The LORD said “GO…”

“So Abram went…”

He settled in Bethel (House of God). Of course he did. Where else would he settle? https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethel/

I deeply desire the peace and serenity to know that I am answering His call and living in God’s will.

Recently, I was seeking to more fully understand His call. After some extended time (#patience), this prayer came:

“Father I pray for:

The patience to wait for your call The knowledge of You to recognize your call. The courage to respond to your call. The endurance to live out your call.”

Michael Scaman about 16 hours ago

God paints some great pictures with Abraham. He is 75 at ‘his call’ and 175 at his death and when he died he could tell Isaac ‘when I was your age God promised me a son’

Abraham would become father of 8 sons, Isaac, Ishrael, 6 more under Keturah and an unknown number of daughters and many children by faith. A father of Nations.

As the prelude to Isaid 53 says (around ch 52) How was abraham saved? you who long for righteousness should look to Abraham and Sarah (by faith of course)

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