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Genesis Twelve: The Call of Abram (Part 1)

SATURDAY, January 31
Lesson: The Call of Abram

I. Read Genesis 12.

SUNDAY, February 1
Lesson: God Chose Abram

I. Read Genesis 12:1-3: “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; 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; 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.’”
 A. Let us remember once again that Abram was in the midst of idolatry, worshipping other gods, when God singled him out to bring forth a Saviour. It was not due to any favor that Abram had wrought upon himself for any merited goodness in him, but because God saw fit for His will and good pleasure to stretch out His hand to Abram and offer him mercy in his depraved state, that he could not boast in his own goodness but in the unmerited grace of God’s rich mercy towards himself. Like Abram and Paul, and all the other saints before us, we are ever so grateful that God has called us out from our own ungodly families and surroundings that we, too, may become a part of God’s family and be a chosen instrument of His.
  1. Genesis 18:19: “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
  2. Romans 4:1-5: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
  3. Acts 9:13-16: “But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’”
  4. Galatians 1:13,15,16: “For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it … But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles …”
  5. Romans 9:10-33: “And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’ On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, ‘I will call those who were not My people, “My people,” and her who was not beloved, “beloved.” And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, “You are not My people,” there they shall be called sons of the living God.’ Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.’ And just as Isaiah foretold, ‘Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.’ What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’”
  6. 1 Samuel 2:6-8: “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He set the world on them.”
 B. God called Abram to come out and separate himself from the ungodly. Whereas Babylon has always represented the world’s alternative to building a nation on obedience and faith to God, God called Abram to come out and separate himself from the ungodly to be the father of His chosen nation where Christ Himself would come and be the Lord of His people.
  1. Jeremiah 18:15-17: “For My people have forgotten Me, they burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, not on a highway, to make their land a desolation, an object of perpetual hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and shake his head. Like an east wind I will scatter them before the enemy; I will show them My back and not My face in the day of their calamity.”

MONDAY, February 2
Lesson: Come Out and Separate Yourselves

I. Genesis 12:1: “… Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house.”
 A. Like Abram, God calls us to separate ourselves from evil company and evil surroundings lest we, too, be corrupted by their influence on us. It takes a very strong Christian to withstand the temptations of such worldliness and idolatry, for it is much easier to pull a man off a table than for a man to pull those around him up on the table. Therefore, we must be wise and keep ourselves from tempting situations. God commands us to flee evil. Flee means to “escape or run away.” Let us also realize that we do not want to be caught up in the worldliness of our surroundings lest Christ come with destruction and we, too, be destroyed.
  1. Genesis 19:17: “When they had brought them outside, one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.’”
  2. Psalm 37:27: “Depart from evil and do good, so you will abide forever.”
  3. Psalm 97:10: “Hate evil, you who love the Lord, who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”
  4. 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from every form of evil.”
  5. 1 Corinthians 10:14: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”
  6. 2 Timothy 2:22: “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
  7. Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
  8. Psalm 119:115: “Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the commandments of my God.”
  9. Acts 2:40: “And with many other words he [Peter] solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’”
 B. Again, God commands Abram to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house to become the Lord’s. Is it not the same message God gives to all men through Christ when He says that we must hate father, mother, brother, and sister, so as to follow Him (meaning to love Him more than anyone else)? One’s home, one’s family and one’s country are the dearest and most precious possessions on earth. Do we truly realize what a tremendous sacrifice it was for Abram to leave all that he held dear, all that was most familiar and comfortable? God understood the pull that these things have upon the flesh and therefore, once again, commanded Abram to leave his country, his relatives, and his father’s house so as to firmly etch His word upon Abram’s mind.
 Most of us have witnessed those who become “zealous” for God but for a moment in time, and then due to suffering and persecution for His namesake, separate themselves from God. In order to enable our children to be well rooted in their commitment to the Lord, so as not to be swayed by their own emotional whims and false expectations of success and gain that would soon be dashed against the reality of taking up Christ’s cross and following Him daily, we must teach our children the truth and reality of persecution that awaits every Christian. This can be accomplished by studying these truths from God’s Word, which our own Father gave to us to prepare us for persecution, but also by studying Church history. People in our generation rarely read their Bibles, much less Church history, which is apparent in the fruitless walk of most people today who call themselves Christians. But when we truly study the history of the church and realize that most Christians throughout history have suffered and died for their faith, “being a Christian” takes on a whole new meaning and creates a greater depth in our own walk. And it is often the testimonies of the vast multitude of these brave and spiritually fortified martyrs that give strength to us to stay the course regardless of the personal cost to our own reputation, property, and physical body.
  1. 2 Timothy 3:12-15: “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Luke 14:26-35: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:5: “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”
  4. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
  5. 1 Peter 4:14: “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
  6. Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  7. Ephesians 3:13-19: “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
 C. Christians are to be a separate and peculiar people. To be a Christian means “a real disciple of Christ; one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, and studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety.” Piety means “in principle is a compound of veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being and love of his character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety in practice, is the exercise of these affections in obedience to his will and devotion to his service.”
II. Genesis 12:1: “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.’”
 A. Psalm 37:29: “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.”

TUESDAY, February 3
Lesson: “I Will Make of You A Great Nation”

I. Read Genesis 12:1-3: “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; 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; 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.”
 A. This is the beginning of the Abrahamic Covenant, which we will cover more fully in Genesis 15.
II. Read Genesis 12:2: “And I will make you a great nation …”
 A. Remember that it is God who makes great nations and God who destroys nations. Abram had no children, and his wife was barren. Only God can raise up children from these stones of barrenness.
  1. Matthew 3:9: “And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”
  2. Isaiah 41:2-4: “Who has aroused one from the east whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him and subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, as the wind-driven chaff with his bow. He pursues them, passing on in safety, by a way he had not been traversing with his feet. Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.”
  3. Jeremiah 18:1-10: “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.’ Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declared the Lord. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.’”
 B. God did indeed make the descendants of Abram a great nation.
  1. Genesis 17:4: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.”
  2. Genesis 22:17: “Indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.”
  3. Genesis 35:11: “God also said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you.’”
  4. Genesis 28:10-17: “Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place…. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ … He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’”
  5. Exodus 1:7-9,20: “But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them. Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we.’ … So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.”
  6. Isaiah 2:2-4: “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.”

WEDNESDAY, February 4
Lesson: God Protects and Blesses His Children

I. Genesis 12:2: “And I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.”
 A. Galatians 3:8,9: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
II. Genesis 12:3: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.”
 A. What a sign of love towards Abram and his descendants, even extending this act of love towards us who were grafted into Abram’s family. As a loyal friend makes their friend’s friends their own friends and their friend’s enemies their enemies, indeed God sheds His unfailing love and protection upon us.
  1. Psalm 105:12-15 (also the same in 1 Chronicles 16:19-22): “When they were only a few men in number, very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’”
  2. Zechariah 2:8-12: “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.’”
  3. Luke 10:16: “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
  4. Mark 6:11: “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”
 B. Indeed we will always have enemies, no matter how much we endeavor to walk in peace among men, for if God’s Spirit truly dwells within us, we will be hated and reviled by men. From the beginning God placed enmity between His seed and that of Satan’s. Let us not become discouraged when others hate us, apparently for no reason at all, yet we know that the very presence of God’s Spirit within us provokes others to hatred, but indeed let us also remember that the battle is not ours but the Lord’s and that He Himself will never leave us nor forsake us. God will take up and fight for His cause and His chosen that we may never grow weary in standing for righteousness.
  1. Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.”
  2. Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
  3. Romans 8:16-18: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
  4. 2 Thessalonians 3:3: “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
  5. Romans 8:29-39: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

THURSDAY, February 5
Lesson: Fellow Heirs

I. Genesis 12:3: “…And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
 A. This is speaking of the Messiah that would come through Abram’s seed.
  1. Genesis 22:18: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
  2. Galatians 3:16: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.”
  3. Zechariah 8:23: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
  4. Acts 2:38,39: “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’”
  5. Even the chief tax collector whom the Jews hated was converted in Luke 19:9: “And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.’”
  6. Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
  7. Matthew 12:50: “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”