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Genesis - Chapter 12

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 12:1 The Lord called Abram (Abraham) out of the city of Haran from his father’s house. Originally, they left Ur with their father Terah to go to Canaan, but for whatever reason stopped in Haran. According to Steven, [1] the Lord first called Abraham when he was still in Ur. Why did Terah go with them, settling first in Haran, the Lord then telling Abraham to move on without his father? Did his father Terah die? Was Terah trying to thwart Abraham from continuing on to Canaan as the Lord directed? It is not known.

Genesis 12:2-3 The Lord’s promises to Abraham:

1) Make from Abraham a great nation.
2) Bless Abraham.
3) Make his name great. (materially, spiritually, and socially)
4) Make him a blessing to others (Abraham’s spiritual descendants which is us via Jesus)
5) Bless all those that bless Abraham
6) Curse all those that curse Abraham
7) All the families of the earth will be blessed via Abraham (repeat of #4).

What Abraham needed to do in order to receive these promises was to obey, leaving all that was familiar and comfortable, most likely lands and houses that he owned, and leave it all behind for promises of land that were actually for his offspring and not for his own. Abraham saw the bigger picture and did it to fulfill God’s plans, given up his own plans. That is great faith, especially when his wife couldn’t even produce one child to inherit some of these promises.

Genesis 12:7 When Abraham arrived in Canaan, the Lord again repeated His promise to Abraham to give him this land, more specifically to his offspring (the Israelites who came out of slavery from Egypt under Moses and Joshua about 700 years later).

Notes: The Canaanites are now occupying this land, their ancestor being Canaan (cursed by Noah), the son of Ham (who looked at Noah’s nakedness), the son of Noah.

Genesis 12:5 Both Abraham and Lot had many possessions, even servants. The Lord blessed him and Lot with much wealth.

Genesis 12:8 Abraham pitches his tent on the land that was not yet his. He would be a wanderer and a nomad, with no place to call his own. This would continue through his son Isaac, and then Jacob, and then Jacob’s 12 children, to their temporary residence in Egypt, eventually enslaved by the Egyptians, led out by Moses, wandered for 40 years, and eventually under the command of Joshua, took the land promised to Abraham by God.

Genesis 12:10 The Lord caused a famine (no water to grow crops) in the land which forced Abraham to seek another land to pitch his tent until the famine was over which happened to be Egypt. The Nile River gave the Egyptians an advantage to water their crops. While Abraham wasn’t told to go to Egypt, he at least didn’t return to Haran or Ur.

Genesis 12:11 Sarai (Sarah) was still beautiful at 65 years old. She lived to be 127 years old. That would be like someone who is 40 years old today.

Genesis 12:12 Recorded here is either Abraham’s lack of faith that God would fulfill his promises without Abraham’s deceptive intervention. God promised Abraham his offspring would inherit the land of Canaan. Abraham thinks that he has to lie about Sarah being his sister (though technically she is his half-sister, both sharing the same father, but different mother [2]) to save his own life. Remember, at this time his wife Sarah was barren and couldn’t produce a child. Abraham may have figured that he had to assist God in working out his salvation and God’s plan.

Notes: Many Christians try to work to earn God’s grace, but grace is a gift from God. Also, many Christians instead of seeking the Lord for his will on matters for decision take it upon themselves to work things out and most times mess it up.

Genesis 12:17 Even though Abraham’s actions were wrong against his wife and Pharaoh, God was faithful to His promises to Abraham by intervening to give Abraham his wife back in a very dramatic way. Again, without God’s intervention, how would Abraham ever father a child through his wife Sarah? Pharaoh and his household suffered for Abraham’s lack of faith. These plagues prefigure the Exodus plagues with another Pharaoh 700 years later for his mistreatment of Abraham's descendants when they were enslaved in Egypt.

Notes: We must be careful about what we do and say, because it will have an effect on those around us for good or bad.


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