15 September 2015

Genesis 12:1-9

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’” (v. 1)

Psalm: Psalm 89:1-18


When we read the story of Abram we cannot help but reflect on what it must have been like for him, on hearing the call of God, to pack up the whole of his life, including not only his family but all those who had been dependent on him whilst they were living in Haran, and start out on a journey to an unknown destination. They arrive first at the land of Canaan and it seems from the text that it is not a hospitable place to stop (verses 5-6). They move on until God speaks again, telling him that it will become his land (verse 7), but not yet it would seem, so having built an altar he moved on in stages until they reached the Negeb where the text tells us they stop to wait further instructions so to speak.

Abram's confidence in God in these circumstances is remarkable, he is confident that the whole journey is planned out for him, and although the land of Canaan is to be the ultimate goal, he is prepared to travel on with all his entourage to the edge of the desert to wait further instructions. It is a remarkable journey if we think about it, not only is Abram 75 years old (verse 4), but he uproots his wife, his nephew and "the persons whom they had acquired" (v. 5) and presumably their flocks as well, to find a new home and a new challenge in days when there were no motorways, no railway lines, and no proper highways between towns. Yet throughout the voice of God is so clear to him that he is able to sacrifice all that he has known and put all their futures into God's hands.

To Ponder

  • Would you have had the courage to totally uproot yourself and your family because you felt God was calling you to the other end of the world? What would you do?
  • Would you set out on such a journey without a firm knowledge of where the journey would end?
  • How strong is your faith? How can you recognise the voice of God amongst the clamour of the voices of the world around you? 

Bible notes author

The Revd Pat Billsborrow

Pat Billsborrow is a supernumerary minister in the Northwich and Winsford Circuit, and is at present part of a district ministry team working within that circuit with pastoral care of four churches. She is ecumenical officer in the Cheshire part of the Chester and Stoke on Trent Methodist District.