January 27, 2014 by Chris French
Today we’re going back into Genesis. This time when we enter the narrative we meet Abraham in Genesis 12. Read thru this chapter and use the S.O.A.P. approach to Bible study.
Study (Read the passage several times)
Observation (Ask all the questions)
Application (What does it mean to you)
Prayer (Ask God’s help in changing your life to make the changes you need to make)
I think there’s some great stuff we can learn from this story, but I wanted to answer some of the questions and set the scene for you first.
Abraham’s dad’s name was Terah. Apparently God told Terah, more likely Abraham though, early on when they were in Ur of the Chaldeans (modern day Iraq) that He wanted Abraham to move to Canaan so Terah picks up Abraham’s family and Lot’s family and starts the journey (Gen. 11.31). Haran, Terah’s other son has already died by this point, but his son Lot will fill the pages of the Bible for the next several chapters. The other son, Nahor, apparently stays in Haran. We’ll meet his grandson, Laban, when Isaac’s son, Jacob, comes looking for a wife (Gen. 29.5).
Together Terah, Abraham and Lot’s families make it about halfway to Canaan following the rivers and stop at a place Terah dubs Haran, after his deceased son. They stay there until Terah dies. Perhaps he was too old to continue traveling? The Bible doesn’t say, but after he dies Abraham picks up his family and Lot’s and they journey on toward Canaan. Abraham is 75 years old himself at this point which makes Sarah 65, and they’re still without children. They’re about middle aged at this point, still within child bearing years, but more on the pessimistic side than they have been.
Apparently Abraham and crew just keep on walking until God appears to Abraham at Shechem and actually makes the promise of delivering the land to Abraham’s descendants. Abraham builds an alter there, but moves a little ways away so he can live in a hilly area between Bethel and Ai. Maybe he missed the mountains near Ur? Maybe it would have been easier to defend? He is surrounded by enemies. We aren’t told how long he stayed there, but eventually he moves on heading toward Egypt. A pretty serious famine takes over the land and he has to move into Egypt to find food. This is probably during November or December when the rains failed or were scanty. Before they go into Egypt he makes the deal with Sarah. If asked she should say that Abraham was her brother instead of her husband. He was afraid the Egyptians would kill him and take her, apparently she’s a hottie! Most likely she has a more fair complexion than the Egyptians. She’s still dark skinned like most Arabians today, but not as dark as the Egyptians thus making her unique and alluring. Anyhow Abraham was right. They do find her attractive. Pharaoh even takes her as his wife, but God sends so many plagues against him that he figures out what’s happened and sends the couple on their way with all the prizes he had given Abraham earlier. Don’t forget this isn’t a couple of families traveling together. A couple of chapters from here Abraham will have 318 WARRIORS in his house. He’s traveling around with a small city at his back!
So what can we take away from this story?
God blesses SO THAT we can be a blessing to others. (Gen. 12.2)
This “blessing” God is talking about ultimately points to Jesus, that’s how Abraham was going to be a blessing, but it’s a principle that stands true for us too. Take note of your blessings and the things that you’re grateful for and realize that He gave you those things so you can be a blessing to everyone around you. How can you use your house to bless others? How can you use the extra in your checking account this month as a blessing to others? How can you use your free time this week as a blessing to others?