To: en & others
From: Su Min
Subject: The Promised Land
To my dearest darling daughter,
Today's reading is centred on Genesis Chapter 12. We last left Abram, his barren wife Sarai, his nephew Lot and his dying father Terah setting out on their way to Canaan, but in Gen 11:31 we read that they did not quite carry on with their original objective, but got side tracked, procrastinated, dilly dallied, waiting to get "a round tuit" (sounds like some people I know) and they settled in Haran.
Today's reading starts with a specific instruction at Gen 12:1 A triple LEAVE and a GO:
LEAVE your country(When was the last time that there was an instruction to leave father? Back in Gen 2:24, was it not? Looks like bible urges men to grow up and lead independent lives as head of their own household) and follows with a clear promise as outlined in Gen 12:2-3. Very often God does issue us with clear instructions, but alas we have ears but do not hear. Too busy to listen. Too busy doing other things. But Abram heard. And what a promise God made: A multiple promise indeed
LEAVE your people
LEAVE your father's household and
GO to the land I will show you.
Why did God chose Abram to be the father of a great nation? Abram seventy five years in age and whose wife Sarai was barren and had no children. What a foolish choice! But God's foolishness is wiser than man's wisdom.
- I will make you a great nation.
- I will bless you
- I will make your name great
- I will make you a blessing
- I will bless those who bless you (to which I say, Bless you father Abraham!)
- I will curse those who curse you
- ALL PEOPLE on earth will be blessed by you.
Abram heard and obeyed. In the great "By Faith" chapter of Hebrews, Abraham's faith in God was recognised Hebrews 11:8 &11. Abram leaved leaved leaved and goed: took his wife, his nephew, his possessions and his people, and setting out for Canaan more resolutely than Terah, they reach there by Gen 12:5. They first pass through Sechem. Although the Canaanites were there (vs. 6) God appears to Abram here and promises this land to the descendants of Abram vs. 7, and as a mark of respect and worship, Abram builds an altar at Sechem. Abram continues south and reaches between Bethel and Ai and builds an altar there. Abram takes his retinue southwards towards the Negev ( which is Egypt).
A famine appears. (Gen 12:10) The famine was oppressive, intense and grievous (Amplified). Abram is drawn to the food in Egypt. Abram is scared that the Egyptians will take a liking for his beautiful wife and is worried that the Egyptians will kill him in order to possess Sarai. Instead of standing up like a man to protect her, he takes the chicken way out, offering her to be used in order to protect his skin. Not very loving. He lies and cheats the Egyptians, he lies and cheats Sarai. He falls short of God's standards. "She is my sister, not my wife," he says (a quarter truth, since Sarai is his half sister (Gen 20:12). Sarai is taken into the Pharaoh's harem.(Gen 12:15). Abram gets lots of jollies (Gen 12:16). But not all is well with the Pharaoh. Serious plagues plague him and his household. I think the soothsayers must have identified the root cause of the problem. Pharaoh confronts Abram, and returns Sarai to Abram.
Although Abram gets out of this escapade alive, and with additional material benefits, there is no doubt in my mind that he cheated Sarai. In spite of this God continues to bless Abram. That is the great lesson. That in spite of our murderous intents, our adulterous behaviour, God still loves us, trusts us, calls us to Him, and uses us to His purpose. If only we let him. What a mighty God we serve!
Let us pause to pray before we end:
Heavenly Father,love, dad.
Thank you for providing us with clear instructions. Lord open our eyes and ears and hearts and minds that we may receive your instructions to us clearly.
Thank you for opening our eyes to our own sins.
We know that in many ways we have fallen short of your standards.
Forgive us father.
And thank you Lord for loving us, even while we were sinners.
Thank you Lord for loving us enough to send your son Jesus to die for us, so that through his crucifixion, death and resurrection we may have the gift of eternal life: ours for free because our friend Jesus paid the price already, one for all, once for all. Ours for free, all we need do is confess our sins, repent, confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Thank you for your Holy Word, and thank you for the opportunity to study it through this electronic means.
Thank you for the lessons of Abram. Through these lessons may we learn more about you, God, and more about your purpose in our lives.
We ask this in Jesus most precious name. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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