Read: Genesis 12:1-9, 15:1-20
When Abram comes onto the scene he seems to come out of nowhere. The narrative that happens right before the calling of Abram is the that of the Tower of Babel. Humanity, once again, allowed their desire to be like God and corruption to enter into their hearts. This time God wasn’t going to let it go too far, so he confused the languages of all of humanity so that they would scatter and not fall too far from God. This is where Abram comes from: he and his family would have been a part of the migration from the scattering of the Tower of Babel. Here is where we see God’s strategy shifting: instead of trying to guide all of humanity, he chose to create a people that would uniquely follow him. It would be through this people that, “all the peoples on earth will be blessed.” We can start to see the redemption plan that was foreshadowed in Genesis 3 start to take shape. God is on a mission to redeem the world back to him.
What is important to note is that God did not do this through force or coercion. Abram still had to respond to this call of a God that, as far as we know, Abram had no exposure to or relationship with. God gives Abram this great promise upfront and protection but only asks for one thing: “go where I tell you…” In essence, “just trust me.” Trust was the only thing God asked at first. It wasn’t until Abram had traveled with God and had gone through quite a bit that God then eventually made his covenant with Abram. Was God testing Abram to make sure he would follow as if Abram was on some probationary period? Maybe. Perhaps this was also God taking the time to show Abram who God is: A God that can be trusted, that will follow through, that wants to journey with and will not abandon, and a God that wants to have a relationship with you. Then, even in the covenant with Abram, God leads with all the promises to which he is committing. The only thing that seems to be required of Abram is this: trust God, believe that God will follow through, and walk the path God is guiding him on. That was it. God, at the very beginning of the creation of his new people seems primarily concerned with his people knowing Him, trusting him, and being close to him, and in doing so, God will follow through.
Gracious God, we thank you for not giving up on the creation that you love. Thank you for being a God of promise-keeping and a God who desires to be close to us. Help us to trust in you and see your faithfulness to us and steadfastness that does not change. May we believe in you fully and know that you are near. Amen.
- What is one thing that stood out to you in this passage?
- Why do you think God shifted to choosing one people to guide rather than all of humanity?
- How is the way in which God calls Abram important?
- What kind of trust would it take for Abram to have in order to follow God?
- Why is it important that our first step with God is one of trust and belief? What does that look like today?
- What would our lives look like if we completely trusted God and his promises? How do you think it would be appealing to those who don’t know Jesus?