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GENESIS 11:27-12:9 – CALL OF ABRAHAM                                                                                   

Abraham (Abram) was in the 10th generation from Noah, just as Noah was the 10th generation from Adam. The significant event between Noah and Abraham was the building of the Tower of Babel and God’s confusion of the languages. This, of course, divided the people of the world into various ethnic groups that led to the spread of humanity over all the earth.

Why did God do that? Perhaps it was so that the entire world would not have a single culture, but would be diverse. Diverse cultures develop in different ways at varying speeds. The entire earth would not fall completely into sin at the same time, as had happened before the flood. Accordingly, God would be able to discipline the nations as needed without destroying the entire world, which He had promised Noah He would not do.

Yet, the world became pagan, worshipping many gods. Joshua referred to this when Israel came into Canaan as “the gods that your fathers served beyond the River [i.e., the Euphrates, JS] and in Egypt” and “the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell” (Joshua 24:14-15). This encompassed the entire fertile crescent of the Old Testament world.

The first 11 chapters of Genesis tell us how the world got into the mess it is in. Beginning with the call of Abraham, the STORY of what God is doing to get us out of the mess begins.

The Call of Abraham

Out of the pagan, polytheistic culture that does as it pleases and invents its own gods, God called one man to begin His work of redemption, reconciliation, and rescue. The rest of the Bible tells that STORY.

When God called him, Abraham lived in a pagan society. Yet he responded to God’s call – but he was not yet the great man of faith that he later became. God told him to leave his father’s house and his home city of Ur of the Chaldeans. From Genesis, we could infer that this call came in Haran; Stephen tells us it was while he was still in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2-4). He did not leave his father, but came with Terah and the entire family to Haran where they stayed until Terah died. Then Abraham, perhaps being reminded by God, moved on toward “the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). Yet, he took Lot with him, which later led to trouble.

After he entered Canaan, having passed through it to its Southern parts, God told him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” This was in spite of the fact that it was well populated by the Canaanites (a collective name for several clans or nations who lived there).

At this word, Abraham built an altar and worshipped God. From this point, the journeys of Abraham can be traced by the places he built an altar.

At this time, Abraham had not yet come to the full trust in God that he would have later, a trust we will see in a future reading in the STORY. Abraham’s faith-journey begins the STORY of salvation. As such, it is also part of our STORY as we come to share Abraham’s faith and obedience to God and become children of Abraham by faith (Galatians 3:26-29).

We remind you that this STORY is a true one, and God calls us to live in it by following the faith of those whose stories in the Bible collectively are the STORY that is the subject of this 30-day reading plan.


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