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Genesis 12

God Appears to Abram
1Now Yahweh said to Abram, # 12:1 The God of glory appeared to Abram and spoke with him (see Acts 7:2–5). God’s appearance to Abram was sudden and without warning. The same voice of creation now proclaims a message of hope and blessing to all the world. Abram had no burning bush to inspire him, no tablets of stone to guide him, and no ark of the covenant as a centerpiece of worship. Neither did Abram have a temple to worship in, a Bible to read, or a priest to counsel him. Nor did Abram have a pastor to pray for him, or a prophet to prophesy to him. But Abram had a divine encounter.
“Leave it all behind # 12:1 Or “Go yourself,” from lech-lecha, which is a Hebrew play on words. The implication is that although Abram must undergo a traumatic departure from his native land, he was actually traveling to find his more authentic self. Perhaps “Go and find yourself” conveys the meaning.
your native land, # 12:1 The Hebrew word ’eretz is etymologically linked to the Canaanite word ratzon, which means “firmness of will” or “stubbornness.” God was saying to Abram, with double meaning, leave your country but also leave your own will behind in order to enter God’s plan. We need to leave it all behind, including our ideas of how God will work.
your people,
your father’s household, # 12:1 God was calling Abram out from more than just his relatives. He was calling Abram out from specific deity worship connected to nations, clans, and ancestors.
and go to the land that I will show you. # 12:1 Leaving all that is familiar was an incredible act of faith on Abram’s part (see Heb. 11:8–10). He was told to go into an unknown land, but it would result in the seven-fold blessing of vv. 2–3.
2Follow me,
and I will make you into a great nation. # 12:2 This would take a miracle, for Sarai was barren. This would have greatly stretched Abram’s faith, yet he believed. Because he had left his nation, God would make Abram into a great nation. God gave creative ability to Abram, not only to produce offspring, but also to apply creative ability to form lasting enterprises that would shape a nation. God gave the ability to create community to Abram and his seed.
I will exceedingly bless and prosper you,
and I will make you famous, # 12:2 Or “I will make your name great,” which in the ancient Near East also implied being highly esteemed for his character. The building of the Tower of Babel was so that men could “make a name” for themselves. This was intended to be the gift of God and not something to be seized for oneself.
so that you will be a tremendous source of blessing for others.
3I will bless all who bless you
and curse all who curse you. # 12:3 Or “all who cause you harm I will punish.” See Num. 24:9.
And through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” # 12:3 Or “And by you all the families of the earth will bless themselves” or “Every nation will long for me to bless them as I have blessed you.” See Isa. 49:6; Gal. 3:8.
4So Abram obeyed Yahweh and left; and Lot went with him.
Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran after his father died. # 12:4 See Acts 7:4. 5He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and people # 12:5 Or “souls.” Jewish tradition states that Abram preached the revelation of Yahweh, the true God. Also, Abram was wealthy before Pharaoh gave him gifts (see Gen. 12:16). he had acquired in Haran; and they departed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in the land of Canaan, 6Abram passed through the land and stopped at the sacred site of Shechem, # 12:6 The Hebrew word maqom (a generic place) is never used to describe a city. In this context it is likely linked to the Arabic word maqam, which means “sacred site.” The word Shechem means “between the shoulders.” The shoulder represents all power and authority (see Isa. 9:6; 22:22; Luke 15:4–5). The site of Shechem was the physical center of modern Israel and is mentioned as a sacred place (see Gen. 35:4; Josh. 24:25; Judg. 9:6, 37). famous for the great oak tree of Moreh. # 12:6 Or “the oak [cluster of oaks] of Moreh [oracle giver, instruction].” Undoubtedly, this was a place of mystery, and it was so famous that people used the tree as a landmark. See Deut. 11:30. At the great tree of Moreh, Yahweh taught Abram to walk by faith, not by sight. God will lead us to a place of true strength (Shechem) and instruct our hearts (Moreh) to trust in him alone. At that time, the Canaanites were also in the land.
7Then Yahweh appeared # 12:7 Or “made himself visible.” Scripture records at least nine appearances of God (theophanies) to Abraham (see Acts 7:2). The first was while he was still in Ur (see Gen. 12:1–3). See also Gen. 13:14–16; 15; 17; 18; 21:12–13; 22:1–2, 15–18. before Abram and said, “This is the land I will personally deliver to your seed.” # 12:7 Or “to your future descendants.” God’s divine declaration assigned the land of Israel to Abram and his descendants. See Rom. 4:13; Heb. 11:12. So Abram erected an altar there to Yahweh, who had appeared before him. 8From there, he journeyed on toward the hill country east of Bethel # 12:8 Bethel means “House of God.” This is modern Beitin, a city about eleven miles north of Jerusalem. It is clear Abram adored Yahweh and was faithful to his voice. and pitched his tent # 12:8 While Abram lived in a tent without foundations, he was looking and waiting for a city with unshakable foundations (see Heb. 11:10). Likewise, we are living in the “tent” of church life today, waiting for its ultimate consummation—the New Jerusalem, the City of God with foundations. Paul, the Abraham of the New Testament, was a tentmaker. with Bethel on the west and Ai # 12:8 Ai means “the heap of ruins.” It is often identified as et-Tell, which was about a mile from ancient Bethel. See Josh. 7:2–8:28. Bethel is the House of God; Ai (the world) is a heap of ruins. The House of God is drawing us in. We must turn our backs forever on the old creation life, which is nothing more than a heap of ruins! on the east. And there he built another altar to Yahweh where he prayed and worshiped Yahweh. # 12:8 Or “and he called upon the name of Yahweh,” which implies both prayer and offering a sacrifice. 9Then Abram journeyed from there by stages through the southern desert region. # 12:9 That is, the Negev. Abram had traversed the entire length of Israel from north to south.
Abram Detours to Egypt
10At that time, a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, # 12:10 Although the promised land was a land flowing (flourishing) with milk and honey (Ex. 3:17), all three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and Joseph experienced a famine (see Gen. 26:1; 41:54; 42:1; 43:1). Faith will always be tested. This famine tested Abram’s faith. So often when we set out for our promised land, we encounter a famine. You can be right where God wants you to be and still be faced with severe trials. It is better to suffer in God’s path than to be at ease in Satan’s. forcing Abram to travel down to Egypt and live there as a foreigner. 11When he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I’m worried because I know that you are a beautiful, gorgeous woman. 12When the Egyptian men take one look at you, they will say, ‘She is his wife.’ Then they will kill me in order to have you. 13Just tell them you are my sister # 12:13 In fact, Sarai was his half sister (see Gen. 20:12). If the Egyptians were to kill Abram, it would leave Sarai vulnerable to the men of Egypt. This was, in fact, a troubling moral dilemma for Abram. By calling her his “sister,” any interaction with her culturally required a negotiation with her “brother.” so that they will treat me well for your sake and spare my life.”
14When Abram entered Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s stunning beauty. # 12:14 Sarai was at least sixty-five at this time, ten years younger than Abram. 15When Pharaoh’s dignitaries spotted her, they went to Pharaoh and raved about her beauty. Then they took Sarai into the palace and made her part of Pharaoh’s harem. 16Because she pleased Pharaoh, Abram got along very well in Egypt and received royal treatment: he was given sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, camels, and male and female slaves. # 12:16 All of Pharaoh’s gifts were signs of great wealth imparted to Abram by the king. It was the great wealth and many possessions that caused Lot to want to separate from Abram (see Gen. 13:6–7). There were many people who accompanied Abram both into Egypt and back into Canaan. He had the converts he acquired in Haran (see Gen. 12:5), plus 318 trained soldiers who were born under Abram’s care (see Gen. 14:14) who also had wives and children. It is possible that Abram had several thousand people who accompanied him.
17But Yahweh struck Pharaoh and his household with terrible diseases because he had taken Abram’s wife, Sarai. 18So Pharaoh sent for Abram and said, “How could you do this to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? # 12:18 Somehow, perhaps by a dream, God showed Pharaoh his sin. 19And why did you lie to me by saying, ‘She’s my sister,’ so that I took her as my wife? Now, here’s your wife back; take her and begone!” 20Then Pharaoh gave strict orders to his men to escort them out of Egypt along with everything they had. # 12:20 Besides great possessions, Abram also acquired servants in Egypt, and Hagar was one of them (see Gen. 16:3).

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Genesis 12: TPT





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