God intrudes (reflections on Gen 12)

So where’s the turning point of the Bible?
There’s several I think. 

Though one of the first major turning points is in Genesis 12, up till this point God’s perfect creation was going bad, and God had to put them out of the garden, curse the world, then destroy all living things except for Noah and co, then scatter them all over the world after the tower of Babel when man wanted to make his name great (remember that phrase) by his own means.
Things aren’t going overly well from Genesis 1 – 11, but in Gen 12 here comes a wonderful change, turning point for the Bible.  

God intrudes! 

Sweeps down into history (or if you like His-story), not to correct misguided creation but to whisper in 1 man’s ear His rescue plan.and commands with a command that is only repeated 1 other time in the Bible, God says to Abram ‘you, yourself go’ (direct hebrew translation curtesy of James McKeown).  This was a personal command to Abram.
God was saying I’ve chosen you, called you, it’s you I want!

The only other time God uses this phrase in the whole Bible is also to Abram (then called Abraham), when he commands him to sacrifice his son Isaac.  He says ‘you yourself go’ and sacrifice your son Isaac, because though it was Isaac, the son that would be killed it was Abraham, the founder of our faith that would die, it was his only son, his dreams, his promise from God!  How hard it must of been to climb that mountain, to arrange that wood, how hard it must if been to explain to his young son why it had to be done!  

And of course we all know (well if we’ve read any of the new testament) what the story of Abraham called to sacrifice his son would represent:  That one day man’s sin would call for the blood of one from Abraham line but it would be God the father who would send Him, and though it would be Jesus the man who would be killed it was Jesus the God that would died! How hard it must of been to make that plan, how hard it must of been to watch them make the cross, how hard it must of been to answer His son’s prayer “if this cup can be lifted from me”.
Because just as God asked Abraham, ‘you yourself go’, so ‘He Himself came’ in the person of Jesus to fulfill what He promised Abraham!

Now the other thing I think sticks out in this turning point in scripture, is Abram’s response.  Up until this, mankind, except for a few, was trying to make their name great, thinking the world was all about them, but here God talks to 1 man, says ‘you yourself go’ and God promises to bless all people through him and make his name great.  Now remember the chapter before, mankind wanted to make their own name great (ch11 1-9 the story of the tower of Babel), so what did they do, they built for themselves…
v4 “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves”.
But God says calls Abram into a completely new form of life, a movement was started, the promise now has an action plan.  God calls Abram to first obey Him and then God will work things out, God will bring the blessing to the world, God will make Abrams name great, God will fulfill His promises, God will!
Abram’s response to God’s call was one that would in a way define the kingdom that God would set up through Jesus, because after Abram made his journey, he pitched his tent but he built an altar to the LORD.  How significant that is, after we’ve just read in the previous chapter about man wanting to built for himself so that he could reach heaven, be like God, have a great name, etc.

You see the kingdom that God planned to set up through Abram would be one of faith.  It’s important to pitch our tent, to have a home, to make money, to look after our families, to run our businesses, however, all those things,we need to understand, are only temporary as it’s only what we do to bring glory to God that will last into eternity. 

Jesus confirmed that Abram’s response to God’s grace was to be admired and reiterated in our lives several times, in passages like Mat 6 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I’m sure you can think of other passages.
How relevant that is for our lives today, how challenging, not to live in ‘thingdom’ but to live in the ‘kingdom’.

  • So just as God had a plan for Abram’s life so He’s got one for us and asks ‘us ourselves to follow’
  • and may we who have had God intrude into our lives, may we allow this kingdom into our actions, thoughts, plans and dreams.  May we understand our lives our not about making our names great, but about dying to ourselves and seeking God’s kingdom. 

May we pitch our tents but build for the LORD!


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