God continues to reveal His glorious plan of salvation for the ages and uses an ordinary man to do so.

The end of Genesis 11 records the descendants of Shem and focuses in on a man named Terah. We see that godly people were still alive at the time of the Tower of Babel as a small remnant. God provides salvation to His people and grace to persevere regardless of how dark a culture is.

Genesis 12 begins the “Regeneration” section of Genesis and the Patriarchal period of Bible history. God had doled out judgment on those who didn’t steward His Word, and is about to give more revelation.

The Patience of Abram’s Obedience (verses 1-9)

The personal God, Yahweh who gives and keeps His promises, calls Abram to a journey of obedience farther than his father had gone. Abram immediately obeys, bringing an entourage of his wife, nephew, employees, and possessions. God’s calling affects not just our own person – it affects everyone and everything we have influence over.

Abram and his company travelled through Canaan as the only Jehovah-worshippers in the area. They were small in number compared to the inhabitants but remained uninfluenced by the world and its messengers. Abram built two altars to Jehovah, and his worship was unrecognizable to the idolaters that surrounded him.

God blesses Abram and promises to use him to bless all the nations. Abram may well have wondered how one ordinary person’s obedience could affect the whole globe! We may wonder the same thing regarding our own local service and God’s promise to use us to reach every nation with the Gospel. We might not understand how the plan will work, but we can obey and serve confidently because Yahweh has promised it.

Application Points

  • The Bible is our only source of information for Abram; we would not know of him from secular historical records. Know that your intentional service for the Lord will go unrecognized by the world. Are you content to serve Him in relative obscurity, rejected by the world, and only bringing a smile to His face?
  • At the age of 75, Abram heard God’s call and was ready to go wherever He said. There is no retirement from God’s purposes for our lives! We must take ownership of the life and breath that God gives us. Whatever God’s specific calling on a Christian’s life may be, it always includes serving in the local church where He’s placed you.
  • God seeks to bless the world through simple service in the local church. Every generation needs people of spiritual integrity and courage to advance God’s purposes.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Romans 5:12 – Sin’s effect on the human lifespan.
  • Romans 11:29 – God’s call must not be rejected.
  • Psalm 8:3-4 – The apparent insignificance of humans in the universe.
  • John 17:15-18 – Jesus’ prayer for his followers to be witnesses in the world.
A Hymn to Encourage: “I Will Follow Thee”

I will follow Thee, my Savior,
Wheresoe'er my lot may be.
Where thou goest I will follow;
Yes, my Lord, I'll follow Thee.

I will follow Thee, my Saviour,
Thou didst shed Thy blood for me;
And though all men should forsake Thee;
By Thy grace I'll follow Thee.

Though the road be rough and thorny,
Trackless as the foaming sea,
Thou hast trod this way before me,
And I'll gladly follow Thee.

Though I meet with tribulations,
Sorely tempted though I be;
I remember Thou wast tempted,
And rejoice to follow Thee.

Though Thou leadest me through affliction,
Poor, forsaken though I be;
Thou wast destitute, afflicted,
And I only follow Thee.

Though to Jordan's rolling billows,
Cold and deep, Thou leadest me,
Thou hast crossed the waves before me,
And I still will follow Thee.

Quotes to Ponder:

Everything begins with the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but nothing concludes with them. They’re the catalysts of faith but see nothing to its final conclusion. They were pleased to be means unto an end.
–G. Campbell Morgan.