Genesis 12:1 – Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…”
In human history, some people loom larger than others. One of the most significant men in world history is Abraham, who we meet in Genesis 11. His name appears over 300 times in the Bible, including 11 books of the New Testament and all four gospels. In the great chapter on faith, Hebrews 11, each of the “heroes” of our faith is given one verse as a general rule, but six are reserved for Moses and 12 for Abraham. To this day, three major world religions all look to him as the founder and father of their faith (Jews, Christians, Muslims).
God’s answer to the efforts of Babylon seeking to make their name great was the calling of Abram to be the father of a new nation with a name that God would make great. Genesis 11 closes with a continuation of the genealogy from Genesis 5 and 10 in an effort to connect Abram as a descendant of both Adam and Noah through Noah’s son Shem. With the arrival of Abram in Genesis, the book shifts from the theme of God calling creation into existence in Genesis 1-11, to God calling people into covenant in 12-50.
God had not spoken since His covenant with Noah until He spoke to Abram to likewise again initiate a covenant relationship. At the time Abram was called by God to become the father of a new nation, prototype of a life of faith, and one of the most important men in the Bible, he was simply yet another sinner living among the scattered nations. In this way, Abram was not unlike Noah had been before God likewise called him into covenant. We know very little about Abram before God called him other than his genealogy, barren wife, and temporary home in Haran after having been born in Ur of the Chaldeans (11:27-32). Since Nehemiah 9:7 and Acts 7:2-3 seem to indicate God in called Abram in Ur of the Chaldeans, he may have even been called out of Babylon as a Babylonian that perhaps even sought to help build that great city which God judged, as the key city of the Chaldeans was Babylon (e.g. Isaiah 13:19, 48:14; Jeremiah 24:5, 25:12, 50:1; Ezekiel 1:3, 12:13, 23:15).
Amazingly, Abram was apparently just a regular godless Babylonian when, much like Noah, he too found gracious favor in the eyes of the Lord. Amidst God’s judging of the Babylonians by scattering them into various nations, God raises up one of their own to conversely be the man through who God’s blessing will be sent forth to the nations. We will continue to learn more about Abraham’s conversion and calling by God in tomorrow’s devo.
According to Galatians 3:16, who is the blessing that is the offering/seed of Abraham that was promised to the nations?
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