So far, in Genesis, we have been on a roll. We have moved quickly from creation, the fall, Cain and Able, genealogy, the flood, Noah and the tower of Babel in the first eleven chapters. Today we land at the beginning of Abram’s story and we are going to slow down and sit on his story for the next 14 weeks (chapters 12-24).
I think the perfect foundation to begin this 14 weeks is to look at Genesis 12:1-3. This is where we see the promises that God has for Abram (who will become Abraham).
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.” Genesis 12:1-3
I think God is trying to bless Abram. Did you notice he used the word “bless” five times in these three verses? There is a lot of blessing going on, but let’s break it down because within this blessing is three promises that God has for Abram. I think it will be interesting to see how God follows through with each one as we progress through the chapters.
First, God promises that He will show Abram the land that will be his. Second, God promises He will make Abram a great nation and blessed nation. Thirdly, He promises to make Abram a blessing so all the families of the earth will be blessed. Let’s just pause here for a minute and consider the magnitude of these promises. If God had come to me and promised these things, my heart would believe and trust him because I know God is bigger than anything else and can do it all. However, my brain can only fathom so much.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
I believe that somewhere along the way I would have doubted and wondered how and why. I probably would have grown impatient and taken things into my own prideful hands instead of waiting patiently for God to open the doors for me and show me the way. I know I would have done some of this because I have done this in my own life. And just as I have, so did Abram.
When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 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. Genesis 12:11-13
How could the man who had heard from God and received one of the greatest trinity of promises and blessings a man could ask for think God couldn’t handle his safety with the Egyptians? This seems like small potatoes when you consider the three promises God poured over Abram. But, Abram did forget and caused a big mess. Nothing like sending your wife to be the wife of another. Yikes! I wonder how Sarai (who will become Sarah) thought of all this?
My discovery in all of this is that even Abram was only human. Yes, God spoke to him directly and chose him to pour out an amazing blessing over, but he was still a flawed human being. Just as we are! We try, but we fail sometimes. We trust, but we doubt too. We have faith, but our pride rears its ugly head. I hope you need to hear this as much as I do this week.
We are not perfect, but God still loves us! We can’t be perfect, but God is and is on our side. We will fail sometimes, but God never stops fighting for us. We will fall, but God is always there to take our hand and pick us back up. This life and world are far from perfect too, but God is bigger than all of the mess we see and nothing happens He doesn’t have a handle on. Things don’t make sense sometimes and the sadness can cut deep into our hearts, but God’s plan is perfect and one day we will understand. God has already won the battle! That part of history has been written. May we all find peace in that truth and promise today.