Genesis 12:1, Part 3
Greetings, everybody! God’s grace, mercy, and peace to each of you today in our Lord Jesus Christ, and welcome to Monday’s edition of EDiBS. It’s great to be with you for another session of Bible study, where today we’ll be returning to the opening of Genesis 12 to begin following the life of Abram and Sarai. While we’ve started a bit on the slow side as we’ve come back to Genesis following our long hiatus, we’ll be upping the pace pretty rapidly in the coming days, so be sure to click in each Monday through Friday as we ramp things up!
Having said that, I do want to say something on a related note that may be timely for some of you. I often receive emails from people here in the EDiBS family apologizing because they find themselves behind where we happen to be in our daily studies. Those emails are often tinged with a sense of guilt as folks share with me that circumstances or plain old busyness have prevented them from keeping up. If you’re in that camp, hear me well: first, there is no need to apologize, and second, one of the designs of EDiBS from the very outset of the ministry was to provide a platform where you could study at your own pace. That means there’s no expectation or requirement that you “keep up” with where we happen to be. Yes, we’re here each weekday, and we do have people who are able to, and do, follow along each day, but we have many more who might click in once or twice a week for several study sessions at a time, and an even greater number still who are a book or two back and are working though the sessions in their own way. My greatest hope with EDiBS has always been that our time together would open up God’s Word for you and make it an accessible, regular part of your life in a way that would help you to grow in Christ. Beyond that, however you choose to fit it into your day is up to you, so please know that I’m definitely on your team, whatever that may look like!
As always, I’m glad you’re here; let’s open our Bibles today and take a moment to pray.
Gracious God, you are great and mighty – alone in your splendor and your glory. There is none beside you, and we proclaim you as you are: the only and all-wise God of the universe. Thank you for your love and mercy, and thank you for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. Please bless us now through the hearing and study of your Word, and give us understanding as we learn. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, the call of God on Abram’s life is sudden in nature…and we might call it startling as well. Our focus this session: Leave…everything.
The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
When we were scouting out a permanent spot to anchor our EDiBS operations, we really had no idea where we would end up. There were a few parameters in place, mostly having to do with the affordability of property and access to quality high-speed internet, but beyond those qualifiers, the slate we were working with was a blank one. While we obviously did some formal research, I personally spent time wandering through Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida, visiting places I had never been and talking with people I had never met to try and get a feel for how EDiBS might fit into the fabric of various communities. When we made our initial offer on a small building in Florida, I thought we had found our place, but when that transaction fell through, it seemed we were back to square one. It was surprising, then, that on the long drive from the panhandle of Florida back to Peachtree City, Georgia, I happened upon the town of Brunswick — and though it wasn’t on the original list of places to visit, it’s the place where everything unexpectedly came together. Today, our ministry headquarters has its home in this gritty-but-pretty little port city, and it has turned out to be the ideal location for all that we do. To find it, however, we had to leave all that we knew…and we had to be open to all that was new.
Now — for EDiBS, that wasn’t such a tall order. We knew what we were searching for, and we were trusting God to show us the way. But just for a moment, put yourself in a different pair of shoes. What if you were a person, very established in life, very planted in your place and very invested in your people…in short, very comfortable with the status quo…when suddenly, a completely unknown Entity called you out of the blue and told you to pull up roots, leave everything and everyone important to you behind, and go to a place not that you knew or had ever been shown, but to an unfamiliar place that at some point in the future you would be shown? Crazy, right? And yet, that’s precisely what happened to Abram, son of Terah, while he was living an extremely comfortable and prosperous life in Haran.
Keep in mind that until the moment of his calling, Abram has no knowledge of the One true God. Quite to the contrary, he’s living in a land steeped in idolatry, and he and his entire clan — indeed, the whole of the culture in which he lives — worships false gods. Thus, when the Lord reveals Himself to Abram, it’s not just divine revelation, but divine reorganization…which is why this soon-to-be patriarch, rich and powerful and connected though he might be, is told to leave behind everything that to this point has defined him in life. Did you notice the threefold call to renunciation here in the text? Country, culture, and kin: the land that he loves, the people and the way of life that he loves, and even the very household of the father that he loves. In other words, Abram is to let go of every source of personal identity and security that he has. He’s to leave it all behind and — as we alluded to in our time together last week — begin all over again. His new identity will be found not in anything he does, but in everything that God will do in and through him. God, of course, is also the One who will be shepherding all of this, and as we consider the momentousness of that fact, it’s critical that we understand something: with this call comes a complete reordering, a complete reset, of the entire agenda of Abram’s life. He will never be the same again, and in truth, the world will never be the same again either. Through him and his descendants — and One Descendant in particular — the reality of hope and the promise of a future will break through the darkness of a sin-sick creation and bring light, life, and life eternal to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. When we come back next time, we’ll see the Lord begin to explain that to Abram — and we’ll have quite a bit to talk about as a result!
As we wrap things up for the day, at this present moment Abram has no knowledge whatsoever of God’s plans to choose a special people for Himself, no knowledge whatsoever that he is going to be God’s instrument of blessing to that end…and certainly no knowledge whatsoever that the very Savior of the world will be among his offspring. What does Abram know? In truth, Abram knows precious little. Still, by faith he will obey this call from God. By faith he will indeed pick up and go to — literally — God-knows-where. And by faith he will put his trust in all that God has told him, which will have far-reaching implications not just for millennia to come, but for eternity itself. I’m excited to get into it all with you, everyone — so many good things to come as we study together!
Thanks for your time today, be sure to come back next time with a friend or two, and until we meet again, the joy of our risen Lord Jesus be your strength. Have a great day, and God’s peace!