Second Sunday in Lent (Mar 12th)

Pastor's Summary of Genesis 12:1-4a

In a time of migration of peoples about 4,000 years ago, Terah has travelled west with his son Abram. Abram's wife Sarai and his grandson Lot from Ur, near the delta of the Tigris and Eurphrates rivers. Terah and his family settle for a time in "Haran (11:31), where Terah dies. Abram now comes to center-stage.

God makes a pact with Abram: if Abram will leave behind his land and kin (and his pagan past), and live in "the land that I will show you" (12:1, cease to be semi-nomadic), God will honor him in seven ways: (1) make of him "a great nation" (v. 2), (2) confer favor on him ("bless you") (3) make his name renowned ("great") (4) make him a vehicle of good fortune ("be a blessing"), (5) show favor to those who show him favor ("bless, v.3), (6) exclude those who show him disrespect ("the one...") and (7) as other peoples come to trust in God, they will find themselves similarly blessed. In doing "as the Lord had told him" (v. 4), Abram shows his trust (faith) in God. This covenant marks the start of communal relations with God. Being blessed seven ways is being blessed totally: he, his family and his people. In v. 5, "the land" is identified as Canaan. At Shechem, when Abram erects an altar at a pagan shrine ("the oak of Moreh"), God promises the land to his descendants. At "Bethel" (v. 8), Abram builds another altar. God is god of the whole land. Abram and his family continue southward in stages and, due to famine, go on to Egypt-to return later.