New Beginnings Series – Genesis 12:1-9
Intro: I grew up in Jackson Michigan, in the early 80’s I was living in a 12 x 65 foot long mobile home. Because of the financial hardship that hit this State, I packed up and left my one year old child and my wife who I had just married a year earlier behind to end up living out of a tent for several weeks in Umstead State Park outside of Raleigh NC. All of this in hopes of finding a new job and a future place to call home. I have always felt it was a major adjustment to leave my home the place where I grew up, left all my brothers and sisters and parents and move 850 miles south to Clayton NC. I had a call waiting for me and didn’t even know it! I didn’t know where I was going and didn’t even know where I would end up. I believe I had a few things in common with Abram who one day would be called Abraham the father of a great nation. This second week in my series on “New Beginnings’ takes a look at Genesis 12 and introduces one of the most historical Covenants God would ever establish with mankind. This text introduces The Call, The Commitment, and The Covenant God makes with Abraham. Abram answers his call and receives a promise blessing from God! “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.’ Hebrews 11:8
Text: Genesis 12:1-9
“Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Application: A call to a life of separation?
Are phones are able to keep a record of who last left a message; God has left a message. When the message technology first came out, there would be a blinking light on the phone notifying you have a message. Christian “You have a Call waiting for you!” have you answered it? Did you respond to the message God left you? Did you respond like the prophet from the Old Testament who said “Here am I, send me.” Or are you the one who questioned God and said I can’t. Maybe you’re the one who fled and sat on the hill top and pouted! Which one are you. Abram received the call and went!
1. The Call: Vs. 1-3
“Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
The Hebrew actually reads: "Go for yourself" or "Leave for yourself." God was calling Abram to leave and get away from his old life. Abram would reap enormous results if he separated himself from the ungodly of this world. God was demanding a life of separation from the ungodly of the world. So it is with every one of us.
Abram had to believe God enough to make the supreme sacrifice to God, Abram had to sacrifice his life, his world, and all that he was and had. Abram had to surrender, submit, and deny himself: he had to totally commit his life to God. He had to die to self and seek after God with his whole heart. If Abram believed and obeyed God that much, God would do these three very special things for him. God promised to give Abram; the promised land, the promised seed, meaning a great nation of people & a special blessing to all the people on the earth.
Abram's assurance of God's presence symbolizes the believer's experience. The believer can be assured of God's presence: of God's love, care, provision, and protection. The promise given to Abram is also given to the believer, BUT! will the believer by faith respond as Abram did? You might not have to do everything Abram did, but you will have to separate yourself. This could be the New Beginning you have been waiting for!
2. The Commitment: Vs. 4-6
‘So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.’
Abram was obedient: “So Abraham departed…”
Abram lives in a well-established city called Ur. God calls him to leave this comfortable home and venture out on a life of faith which takes commitment. Abram is to receive a new land and found a great nation. Abram becomes a nomadic shepherd, seeking to discover God through his experiences. With his wife Sarai and nephew Lot, he travels from Mesopotamia down through Canaan to the Negev desert. At Shechem, the heart of the future ‘Promised Land’, Abram builds an altar to the Lord, much as astronauts might plant their national flag on the moon. “And he said, "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.” Acts 7:2-4
The Journey and all the changes Abram made allowed him to experience “A New Beginning.” A beginning and a commitment that all of the believers today can be a part of. Our commitment might be different but there must still be a denying of self and an application of Faith!
3. The Covenant: Vs. 7-9
“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.”
This call was completely of grace and the blessings of the covenant wholly from the Lord’s goodness. God promised to give Abraham a land; a great name; a great nation; and a blessing that would spread to the whole world. It took a good deal of faith for Abraham to respond to these promises for he had no children, and he and his wife were getting old. From the lips of God He says: “I Will!” God would do it all if only Abraham would believe. Certainly God has fulfilled His promises; for Israel has her land (and will get more); the Jews have blessed all nations by giving us the Bible and Christ; and Abraham’s name is revered by Jews, Moslems, Christians, and even unbelievers. The men of Babel wanted to make a name for themselves and failed; but Abraham trusted God and God gave him a great name!
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.’ John 15:16
The conclusion for this story; “The Lord appeared…” God blessed Abram. For several hundred years God had not spoken to man like He does with Abram: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." Galatians 3:8
Blessings is the key word in His promise. There is somethings that puts this all into the proper perspective; it adds a picture to the puzzle of life this comes from what is applied in verse 8. Abram built an Altar! “he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.”
“You have a call waiting for you!” Time to answer it, push line 3 ask for F.A.I.T.H: Forsaking All I Trust Him…
There is a doctrine call Justification that is applied here: Abram is the first to trust God’s promises against all the odds. From now on, faith means believing what God says. This simple trust in God’s Word counts as ‘righteousness’—being right with God. The apostle Paul looks back to Abram as the father of all who have faith. Abram wasn’t at peace with God because he was circumcised or had kept God’s law. These developments came later. Abram was right with God because he believed God’s promises. He was old (75 years to be exact) and his wife was past childbearing, but he believed God would give him an heir. He was homeless and a nomad, but he believed God would give him a land: “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:20-21
One might say God’s instructions lead Sarah and Abraham from barrenness toward fertility. The faith they rallied around was not a faith that was for them only. We can have that faith and move from a spiritual barrenness toward a spiritual fertility. When you answer the call there is a blessing to receive on the other end of the line. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
For the Christian, the person who has a relationship with Christ, the problem is usually one of faith. We struggle to obey because we struggle to believe that God’s way will really work out for the best. So, like Abram, we need to listen to and trust God’s promises! “Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken” because he believed that God would do as he said: that he would bless him; that he would care for him; that he wouldn’t leave him wandering in the wilderness, but would truly bring him to “the land which I will show you.” Abram’s simple faith that God really was on his side allowed him to do what was right again and again! Learn from Abram. God is not stingy! He will not leave you in the desert when once you have obeyed. No! He brought Abram to the Promised Land, and he will fulfill all his promises to us if we will but trust and obey! ANSWER THE CALL!
In : Sermon
Tags: "new beginnings series" "book of genesis"
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