Genesis 12: v1-9 The Call of Abraham

 Genesis 12

Promises to Abram

 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram:

      “Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.


When we speak of Abraham one thing must stand out. Faith! This man had faith in God. A faith that stood the test of time. Oh yes he stumbled and he fell but all the while he trusted in God and it was counted to him for righteousness. He was also called a friend of God, the only man ever to be called that which is also a testament to the relationship that he had with the Lord

Abraham is 75 years old when God calls him. This must have been something strange to him because of his pagan upbringing and I would imagine that none of the various gods that they worshipped had ever spoken to him.

God speaks to Abraham and tells him to get out of his country, his father’s house and his family.

What is God saying?

1. Get out of that Pagan country

      “Get out of your country,

Abraham you have stayed there long enough. You have something better on the horizon than the dead idols in your own house. You have the real God speaking with you. You have the only God speaking with you, not those dead idols that lie there in your own country, in your own house, and in your own family.

2. Get out of that Comfortable Place

      From your family

Abraham had been reared in a very sophisticated, large country. A place the size of Los Angeles or New York and God was leading him away from there one step at a time                          

God had called Abraham out to leave the place where he was comfortable and go somewhere he had never been. He had to step out in faith. He had to cut the strings that kept him where he was because God was calling him out of that comfort zone. A place where we often find ourselves reluctant or afraid to leave where we have grown comfortable

3. Get out of that Compromising situation

And from your father’s house,

Abraham and his family had worshipped idols in their hometown and he needed to get away from all of this.

Stephen tells us that God not only spoke to Abraham but that He came to Abraham.

Acts 7

 1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

 It would also appear that Abraham’s calling came in Haran but it actually came while he was in Ur.

At first one would figure that it was because he was afraid or that he was subject to his father because in chapter 11 it states in verses 31- that Haran took his family and not Abraham. Yet here in Acts 7 Stephen also gives us a nugget of truth by stating that He (God) v4 moved him(Abraham) after his father died. Terah’s name means “Delay” and it is possible that his father might have been a delay, or stumbling block for Abraham. We know from Joshua that Terah was not a God fearing man.


Joshua 24

 1And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

 2And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

Abraham had been reared in a very sophisticated, large country. A place the size of Los Angeles or New York and God was leading him away from there one step at a time


What does stand out though is the calling of Abraham. God tells him to leave his father, his family, and his fortune. This call did not come to a spring chicken either, he was 75 years old, probably not as old as we get now but he still had a lot of miles on him. He has been living in a pretty fancy, technological, and futuristic place where anyone could find fame or fortune.

Now God is telling him to come out of all this and move to a place where at this point, he has no place in, not even a place to put his foot and pretty much tells him that he will be a tent dweller.

Acts 7

5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on.


We must honor our parents and we will be blessed in doing so but there comes a time when parents must let their children become their own people and as children we must become accountable for ourselves, especially in terms of a relationship with the Lord. We can’t be Christians by proxy and when we stand before the Lord we won’t be able to blame anyone but ourselves when it comes to our faith and our walk with Him.

Each of these calls would take a lot of faith to embark upon

Why does God test faith?
We have trials everyday
We are living in a fallen world where anger and violence constantly surround us

God tests our faith for two reasons:
1) To Increase our Faith
God wants to build our faith, not to break it

2) To instruct our faith
God allows things to happen for our own good or to teach us through our applying His word to the situation

4 ways God tests faith

1) The unknown  – The calling of God
By calling us out into the unknown

Hebrews 11

 8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place  which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

God builds our faith by leading us in a direction we don’t always understand.
This will often cause us to heavily rely and believe in the will of God in each situation
Abraham did not know where he was going but because of the situation he still had to place his trust completely in God

Acts 7

 1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

Abraham had nothing but faith


Romans 4

 1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.


Hebrews 11

 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Faith means obediently stepping into the unknown. Abraham did this and God considered him righteous for it

Our response to God should also be obedience to God in whatever call He has placed on our lives.





2) The Unpossessed – The Covenant with God

God promised Abraham all the land that he could see, but he did not receive it then and there
He only received the promise

Genesis 12

 2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

 3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Hebrews 11

 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


Genesis 13

14And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

 16And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

 17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

 18Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.

There was a change in Abraham’s lifestyle

His walk was altered, because he built an altar to God and worshipped the One and Only God

He went from being a city slicker, living in the city to a wandering pilgrim, living in tents. He had come from a people who must have been dependant on the city lifestyle (Lot -Genesis 19:15-20)

Genesis 19

15And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

 16And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

 17And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

 18And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD:

 19Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:

 20Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

Abraham did not receive the promise but that did not keep him from losing faith in God
Instead he dwelled in this lend waiting for the future, yet unseen New Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2, 10)

Things don’t and won’t always go my way or the way I think they should go
That does not mean that God does not care. He is in control and He has a better plan for our lives

1 Corinthians 2

9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


Isaiah 64

4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Our response should be diligence for God





3) The Unprobable  – The Coming of the Promised Seed

God was going to do the impossible through Abraham and Sarah

In Genesis 16 Abraham is 85 years old and Sarah is 75

In Genesis 17 He is 99 years old and Sarah is 89


Genesis 21

 1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

 2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

 3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

God had emphasized His perfect set time for things
The exact fulfillment of God’s promise had come
To Abraham
Genesis 17:21

And Sarah
Genesis 18:14
Isaac means “He (God) is laughing (now)!”

At one time Abraham had laughed at the idea of having a son in his old age (Gen 17:17)
He was exactly the age that had made him laugh at such a thing

Sarah had laughed at this thought as well (Gen 16:12)

But now their laughter took on a happier meaning
They now understood the joke (Genesis 21:5-6)

Hebrews 11

11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

 12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Genesis 15

 1After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

 2And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

 3And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

 4And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

 5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

 6And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Where does faith end and foolishness or presumption begin?

God had given Abraham the promise of a son

What do we do when faced with an absolutely impossible thing?

Do we presume to know what God wants based on surrounding circumstances or do we act out in faith.

Presumption acts on the mindset of the actor


Faith reaches out and grabs onto the promise from God

Abraham and Sarah gave up (Genesis 16) when she gave her handmaid to Abraham

They were to respond to God with patience
They were to allow God to be God and let Him work in their lives

Our response should be patience to God

4) The unexpected – The Crucifixion of the Son

Hebrews 11:17

17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,


Genesis 22

 1And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

 4Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

 5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

 6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

 11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

 14And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

 15And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

 19So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

This looks like a contradiction in the will of God
God had given lsaac to Abraham and now He was telling him to sacrifice his son
Abraham and Sarah had looked on their son as the miracle baby from God

This command from God must have been hard to understand
lsaac was the will of God for Abraham

‘Only begotten son’ means the same as in John 3:16 in Greek ‘The only one of his kind’

Sometimes we look more on the blessing then the God who gives us the blessing
God is touching Abraham at his most precious and touchy point
This could be what Paul is referring to in 1 Corinthians 9:27 when he speaks of obtain the prize

Corinthians 9

27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead if necessary  and so he was able to keep his focus on God and His promise
This incident is figurative of what God has done for us
Isaac was as good as dead
We were dead in our sins

but notice God provided a ram to sacrifice in his place

God has provided His Lamb Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice in our place
Through this incident we get a close to home look at what God has done for us
lsaac was not a child
He would have been a tween or a teenager
He could have fought with his father, yet he allowed him to bind his hands and feet
He knew what his father was going to do

Jesus knew what He was doing for His Father and for us
This shows the relationship between Father and Son

John 17

22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

God knew that Abraham had given everything to Him, even the son of His promise
God gave us His Son as a promise of eternal life

Our response should be confidence in God


4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.

Abraham’s walk had been altered. This came from the worship of the Lord. We get our walk altered and changed when we truly worship God, when we follow Him in faith, and when we completely and totally rely on His will for our walk and our life. Abraham was pitching his tent and moving steadily towards the goal God had given him. He was human though and he was just like us. We all stumble and Abraham is about to do just that in the next few verses


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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