James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:Genesis 12:1-9
ABRAM’S CALL AND HIS RESPONSE
How does the King James Version indicate an earlier date for the call of Abram than that which chapter 12 narrates? How is this corroborated by Acts 7:2? Stephen, speaking of this call, indicates that God “was seen to Abraham,” as if some visible manifestation was vouchsafed to him at the beginning. In what form this may have been we do not know, but sufficiently clear to have shown the patriarch the distinction between gods of wood and stone and the only true God.
What seven promises are given Abram to encourage his faith (Genesis 12:2-3)? God’s authority could find fit expression only in a nation bound together under institutions of His own appointment, since many scattered family altars could not bear an adequate witness for His unity. Notice again that for Abram to become great and his offspring to develop into a great nation cooperation would be required on the part of his and their neighbors. To secure this, God lays this curse and blessing upon their enemies and friends.
Have you located Shechem? How is Abram comforted at this place (Genesis 12:7)? What additional promise is now given him? This gift to his seed of the land should be strongly emphasized. It was, and is, Jehovah’s land. Ezekiel speaks of it as “the middle, or navel, of the earth” (Genesis 38:12 RV), and it is peculiarly situated geographically, commercially and politically, but especially historically and prophetically. It has been given to Israel as her possession forever, but not her ownership, as we shall learn by and by (Leviticus 25:23). Moreover, so closely is Jehovah’s purpose of redemption associated with the land as well as the people of Israel that when they are separated from it, as we shall see, they are separated from Him, and the lapse of time in their history is not considered until they are returned to their land again. In a word, they can never dwell elsewhere and be His people or fulfill their calling.
1. How would you identify the three previous experiments with the race?
2. How would you distinguish between the sin of men before and following the flood?
3. What was the threefold purpose in the call of Abram and the nation of Israel?
4. How should the knowledge of this influence us?
5. How far has this purpose yet been realized?
6. Will it be entirely realized, and if so, when and how?
7. How might Abram’s conduct in Genesis 12:19 be explained?
8. What outside proof have we of the historicity of these chapters?
9. What is God’s peculiar relation to the land as well as the people of Israel?
10. Draw an outline map of Abram’s journey from [Jr to Haran and Shechem.
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.Genesis 12:10-13:18
THE PROMISE RENEWED TO ABRAM
ABRAM IN EGYPT (Genesis 12:10-20)
It is felt that Abram acted unadvisedly in taking this journey to Egypt, for which three reasons are assigned:
1. God could have provided for him in Canaan, notwithstanding the famine; there was no command for him to leave Canaan, to which place God had definitely called him; and
2. he fell into difficulty by going, and was obliged to employ subterfuge to escape it. Still these arguments are not convincing, and in the absence of direct rebuke from God we should withhold judgment.
Concerning the trial which Abram encountered, how did the last lesson justify in part, his subterfuge? What shows the unwisdom of it even on the natural plane of things (Genesis 12:18-19)? How does his character suffer in comparison with that of Pharaoh? Who interposed on his behalf, and how (Genesis 12:17)? How does this circumstance demonstrate that the true God has ways of making Himself known even to heathen peoples? How does it further demonstrate that the record itself is true?
SEPARATION FROM LOT (Genesis 13:1-13)
If Abram has been out of fellowship with God during his Egyptian sojourn, how is that fellowship now restored (Genesis 13:3-4)? Have we any lesson here concerning our own backsliding? (Compare 1 John 1:9.) What shows the unselfishness and breadth of Abram’s character in dealing with Lot (Genesis 13:8-9)? How does this show that Canaan at this time must have been largely depopulated? What principle governed Lot in his choice (Genesis 13:10-11)? How does the Revised Version render Genesis 13:12? Have you identified these localities on the map? What shows the unwisdom of Lot’s choice (Genesis 13:13)? Read on this point 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1.
THE PROMISE RENEWED TO ABRAM (Genesis 13:14-18)
Does Abram suffer for his unselfishness? What advance does this renewal of the promise record so far as the land is concerned (Genesis 13:15)? So far as Abram’s posterity is concerned? What two references to Abram’s seed do Genesis 13:15-16 record? In what way may he be said to have taken possession of the land in advance (Genesis 13:17)? Have you identified Hebron? Abram by the Egyptian episode may have well felt he had forfeited the promise, if it had rested on his faithfulness, but instead it rested upon the faithfulness of God. How kind, therefore, for God to have reassured His unworthy servant, and even to have given him a larger vision of what the promise meant!
Because of the number and nature of the questions in the lesson itself, a special section of questions is unnecessary here. Group leaders may want to review the lesson looking for potential discussion topics.