Abraham: Dangerous Detour – Lessons

Genesis 12:10-20; 20
The stories in Genesis 12 & 20 strike me as stories that belonged in our last sermon series, Seriously! I struggle to see why these stories would have persisted in the oral tradition from Abraham down to Moses. Sitting around the camp fire Abraham’s descendants tell this story and then say…What do they say? Abraham was a real idiot sometimes? Why did God want these two stories in the Bible?

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Abraham: Dangerous Detour – Testing

Genesis 12:10-20; 20
God often allows our faith to be tested. God even leads us into circumstances which cause us to decide whether to continue to place our trust firmly in Him or lean on our own understanding. God wants to show us something about ourselves. Abram is made no exception as we find him reaching the “promised land”. He encounters famine (v.10) and a perceived need to rely on the good will of the Egyptians for his very survival (vv.11-13).

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Abraham: Dangerous Detour – The Unseen

Genesis 12:10-20; 20
Abram has taken the big leap and packed up, left home and family and has been found by God in Canaan at Shechem, where the Lord appears to Abram to confirm that He will give this land to Abram’s descendants (Genesis 12:6). Abram, for whatever reason, is not content to stay at Shechem. Maybe he is a ‘wanderer’ by nature, or maybe he wanted to see the land, or maybe local circumstances forced him to move along or maybe he is scoping out the area with whatever business he is running in mind. Abram heads south to Bethel, just north of Jerusalem, builds an altar and then keeps heading south into the Negev. What we do know is that famine strikes the land of Canaan, not the most reassuring introduction to either the land or the Promise and Abram just keeps heading south towards the one place that does have food; Egypt.

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Abraham: An Unknown Place – Father of Faith

Genesis 12:1-9
We are told that Abraham is the father of our faith. God promises Abraham his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and we are told that we are his descendants. But why Abraham? Why isn’t Noah our father? Why isn’t Adam our father? They are great men of Biblical proportion. What’s so great about Abraham? There is something very special about Abraham. God designated him as our father.

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Abraham: An Unknown Place – Abide

Genesis 12:1-9
What does the faith of Abram look like? Here in Genesis, God personally calls Abram to take a walk with him, saying “I want to show you something”. We can all relate to such a conversation, as we share this same experience with our loved ones. I say to my wife on her birthday, for example “close your eyes and let me lead you into the next room”. She comes with me in “blind” faith, knowing I would not let her trip and with reasonable assurance that the surprise will be pleasant. I should mention at this point that our relationship is well established and very strong and the “walk” she takes with me can be very much in the moment.

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Abraham: An Unknown Place – Faith & Blessing

Genesis 12:1-9
‘The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”’ (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV).

God’s call in these verses is the genesis of Abraham’s journey of faith. We don’t know when God called Abraham but a swag is someplace around 1800 BC, nearly 4000 years ago. His name isn’t Abraham at the time but Abram. He is married to a woman named Sarah, who name is Sarai at the time of Abram’s call. He is living in the city of Ur, Ur of the Chaldeans, somewhere in southern Mesopotamia, in the southwest of what we know as modern Iraq. He is the son of Terah, one of three brothers with Nahor and Haran. By the time we get to our verses here in Genesis 12, Haran, Abram’s brother, is dead, having died in his father’s presence while in Ur (11:28). The family, or at least a portion of it, has moved from Ur to Haran, some 600 miles north in the southwest of modern Turkey and this is the place where Terah dies at the ripe old age of 205 (11:32).

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