This passage is also rather lengthy. However, it offers us an opportunity to see Abraham (he is still “Abram” in this narrative) in the context of his life. He is called by God in Genesis 12 and given some great promises by God. He then is tested in life. He is challenged in Egypt to trust God. He has to deal with his nephew Lot in Genesis 13-14. And – his covenantal relationship with God is solidified in Genesis 15. This study will focus on Abraham’s discovery of his purpose and his struggle to be faithful to it. Also, we will see how God reinforces His calling along the way.
This promise of 12:1-3 dominates our periscope. It stands between the immobilized family of 11:30 and the responsive family of Genesis 12:4ff. Things are changed from the one to the other by this promise. . . God’s call to Abraham is accepted and embraced. Abraham went (v.4)! He believed the promise. He obeyed. He asked no questions. Believing the promise without any visible evidence is what is meant by faith (even though the term is not yet used). The Bible is shaped to show that God here forms a family to embrace the call and believe the promise. And he went! Abraham stands as the prototype for all disciples who forsake everything and follow (Mark 10:28). The remainder of the drama of Abraham and Sarah is to probe that embrace, to find out if it can be honored, and to assess the cost of such a decision.
-Walter Brueggemann, INTERPRETATION: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, Genesis, John Knox Press, 1982, p. 121
Focal Passage: Genesis 12-15
This week we will read about the death of both Abraham and Sarah. As their lives come to a close, notice how the purposes of God will be now carried on through the lives of Isaac and his children. The purposes of God transcend the lives of even people as great as Abraham! However, each of us is invited to play a significant role in the accomplishment of God’s plan. Our decisions impact how the purpose of God intersects the lives of others. For example, look at Ishmael and reflect on how Abraham and Sarah affected his life. Also this week – watch this all play out in the lives of Jacob and Esau.
ISSUES/QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS