Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house…
I. IT WAS MANIFESTLY DIVINE. This call could not have been an illusion, for —
1. To obey it, he gave up all that was dear and precious to him in the world. He could not have made such a sacrifice without a sufficient reason.
2. The course of conduct he followed could not have been of human suggestion. Abraham was not driven from his country by adverse circumstances, or attracted by the premise of plenty elsewhere. But he left a condition which would then be considered as prosperous, and cheerfully accepted whatever trials might await him.
3. The history of the Church confirms the fact that the call was Divine. The Christian Church was but a continuation of the Jewish, with added light, and fresh blessings. That Church must have had an origin in the dim past, sufficient to account for the fact of its existence.
II. IT DEMANDED GREAT SACRIFICES. Upon the Divine call, Abraham was not immediately rewarded with temporal blessings. Appearances were altogether against his deriving any advantages from obedience.
III. IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH. The promise was made in general terms, and the good things to come, as far as Abraham was personally concerned, placed at an inaccessible distance.
1. Faith is required to brave the terrors of the unknown.
2. Faith trusts in God.
3. In religious faith there is an element of reason. Faith is not contrary to, only beyond, reason. To follow the promptings of faith is the noblest act of human reason.
IV. IT WAS ACCOMPANIED BY PROMISE. The promises made to Abraham may be considered in a two-fold light.
1. As they concerned himself, personally, He would have compensation for all the worldly loss he would have to endure.
(1) For the loss of country, God promised that He would make him a great nation.
(2) For the loss of his place of birth, God promised to bless him with a higher prosperity.
(3) For the loss of family distinction God promised to make his name great. Abraham had to leave his "father's house," but he was destined in the Providence of God to build up a more famous and lasting house. These promises may be considered —
2. In his relation to humanity. God said, "Thou shalt be a blessing." This promise implied something grander and nobler than any personal benefits which Abraham could inherit. It was the higher blessing-the larger benefit. Religion means something more than the selfish enjoyment of spiritual good, and he who only considers the interests of his own soul has failed to catch the true spirit of it. Man approaches the nature of God when he becomes a source of blessing to others. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Abraham was to be a blessing to mankind in the highest sense. As a further expansion of this blessing promised to Abraham —
(1) His cause was henceforth to be identified with the cause of God. "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (ver. 3). "God promised further, so to take sides with Abraham in the world, as to make common cause with him — share his friendships, and treat his enemies as His own. This is the highest possible pledge. This threatening against hostile people was signally fulfilled in the case of the Egyptians, Edomites, Amalekites, Moabites, Ammonites, and the greater nations — Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian, Greek, and Roman, which have fallen under the curse of God as here denounced against the enemies of the Church and kingdom of Christ. The Church is God's. Her enemies are His. Her friends are His also, and no weapon that is formed against her shall prosper, for He who has all power given unto Him shall be with her faithful servants, even to the end of the world."
3. He was to be the source of the highest blessing to mankind. "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
(T. H. Leale.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: