Abraham, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #48)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/25444/230471-abraham-part-2-the-covenant-the-cross-48.mp3]

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 12:6-7 which reads: “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.”

A painting of Abraham's departure by József Molnár.

A painting of Abraham’s departure by József Molnár.

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul:

On the plains of Moreh grew a tree whose greater height made it a preferred place of worship. Although pagans worshiped fertility deities under such trees, Abraham, who looked for a heavenly city, worshiped only the true God. The name “Moreh” means “teacher.” This was probably a pagan site for oracles; the Lord sanctified it by appearing to Abraham. By his act of worship, the father of the new nation consecrated the Promised Land to God.

Two obstacles stood in the way of God’s promise: Sarah’s barrenness and the Canaanites who prevented him from settling in the land.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Henry Ward Beecher. He said: “Sink the Bible to the bottom of the ocean, and still man’s obligations to God would be unchanged. He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and guide would be gone; the same voyage to make, but his chart and compass would be overboard!”

Our topic for today is titled “Abraham” (Part 2) from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Abram must have wondered why Canaan was chosen as the land of promise. We now realize that the nation of Israel was to represent the living God to the other nations of the world. For this purpose God chose a very central location. If you look at a map of the area, you will see that the land of Canaan straddles the land bridge between Africa (Egypt) and Asia (Mesopotamia), the regions with the most significant civilizations of the day. Because of its location, Canaan also controlled sea travel between the East and the West. But Abram had no way of knowing these details. He was simply given a command and some promises. The command was to leave Haran and move to Canaan. If he did that, God would fulfill three promises. These promises are the heart of what we call the Abrahamic covenant.

1. Abram will have a special territory. The land is significant, and Abram was given claim to it. We will see, however, that he personally was not to possess the land. The actual possession was deferred four hundred years, after the sin of the current inhabitants had reached a point that required judgment.

2. Abram is going to become a nation. Earlier the narrative had noted that his wife Sarai was barren. This may have been the case so that God could show His power in producing the offspring.

3. Abram will be a blessing. There are two aspects to this promise. One is the positive concept of a blessing for Abram and his offspring: those who bless him and his descendants (the Israelites or Jews) will be blessed. But second, anyone who treats them contemptibly will be put under a curse by God. The reason for this promise is suggested in the last line, which hints at the coming Messiah: “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

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