1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great ; And so you shall be a blessing ; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” 4 So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew , and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan ; thus they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. 8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east ; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 11:1-8 NASB)
1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty ; Walk before Me, and be blameless. 2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham ; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession ; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:1-8 NASB)
A lot happens on earth between when Adam and Eve leave the garden and God starts talking to this guy named Abram. He’s had a lot of time to see how people do on their own. It hasn’t turned out very well. They get into all sorts of trouble.
So God tells this guy Abram, somehow, to leave home, take all his stuff with him, and God will give him a new land and make him into a great nation. Now it doesn’t tell us exactly how God tells all this stuff to Abram, but it must have been convincing. Abram packs up his wife and his nephew, and all his stuff, including servants, and leaves behind everything he has ever known in order to follow this God he doesn’t know into the wild blue yonder.
Some people talk about Abram having great faith at this point. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe, the promise of a new land, being a great nation and being able to bless and curse whomever he liked sounded like a pretty sweet deal. Maybe that’s why he went. It probably didn’t matter to God why. Because God doesn’t need perfect people, he just needs willing people. He pretty good at filling in the blanks. Even when, like Abram, you are a total coward and put your wife in danger a lot because you are afraid and you lose faith and try to do things your own way. God can still work with that. God even appears to Him many times. It’s so amazing that he falls on his face. God hasn’t really appeared to many people since Adam and Eve left the garden. Though it has happened. He’s still there, with people talking to those who will listen.
But why does God call Abram? What’s his plan?
He says that through his descendants all the earth will be blessed. What does that mean?
He also says that he will make a covenant with Abraham’s descendants. He changes his name there, and that he will be their God and he will be there for them and keep his promises to them.
It’s obvious that God has a plan. Something big is going to happen. If you don’t know what it is yet, I guess you’ll just have to keep reading in order to find out. What are your guesses?