Day 2 Read: Genesis 12:4-8
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country 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.
Reflect: What do these verses tell us about Abram’s relationship with God?
Consider: The narrative reports simply that Abram obeyed. His obedience is recounted in two ways, corresponding to the two imperatives in verse 2. He left (v. 4), and he was a blessing (vv. 5–9). In Haran many people (lit., “souls”) were acquired by Abram and his family (v. 5). This “getting of souls” may refer to proselytizing, that is, to Abram’s influence on some Haranites to follow Yahweh. Then in the land of Canaan he built altars at Shechem (v. 6) and east of Bethel (v. 8). At this second location he called on the name of the Lord, that is, he made proclamation of Yahweh by name (cf. 21:33; 26:25).1
Respond: What qualities do you think allowed Abram to follow God’s calling? What qualities did Abram have that you would need in order to demonstrate the same obedience?
What blessings would Abram have missed if he had refused to follow God? What blessings would you have missed if you had refused to respond to God’s call in the past?
Why was it important for Abram to build altars along his route and not wait until his final destination? How might we build “altars” like this in our own lives?
1 Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 47.