READ: Genesis 12
BACKGROUND: Genesis 12 is God’s calling upon Abram – who was later called Abraham – the great patriarch of the nation of Israel. Abraham is one of the most important characters in the entire Bible, and he serves as an incredible example of a life of great faith in God.
1 – If we flash back to the context provided in chapter 11, we see that Abram was called by God while he was living in Ur. To get from Ur to Canaan meant either traveling across the Arabian Desert (impossible with all of his flocks) or taking a 1500 mile journey along the Euphrates.
2 – The irony of God saying “I will make you a great nation” (again from the context of Chapter 11) is that Abram is already 75 years-old & his wife Sarai is 65 and they don’t have any kids.
3 – God says that through Abraham the whole earth will be blessed. He is blessed in order to be a blessing!
12 – The Egyptians had a high respect for marriage so they wouldn’t have just taken Abram’s wife. Knowing this, he suspected that they’d kill him before trying to add Sarai to Pharaoh’s harem.
13 – He seeks to deceive the Egyptians and – in what I must say is a pretty poor display of husbanding – gives up his wife in order to save his own skin. At this point Abraham is being a liar and a jerk.
17 – The plagues aren’t described specifically. Likely they were something that prevented Pharaoh from defiling Sarah. God was gracious to Abraham even though Abraham had sinned and not trusted him in the first place.
THINK: Unlike the great Kip Dynamite, I do not love technology always and forever. In fact, I have a genuine dislike for it, and I understand it less and operate it more poorly than most people my age. And I really hate when I finally get used to something – to the point where I’m mildly functional at it – and then it changes. That’s why I was horrified a few years ago when the church forced me to switch to a Mac. I’d been using PCs for years, and that was all I knew. And I kind of had an anti-Mac bias because it seemed to me that Mac users were largely a bunch of skinny-jean-wearing, fancy-coffee-sipping, hipster tech-geeks who loved nothing more than to talk about how wonderful Macs are and how they’re better than PCs. I resisted this talk because PCs were familiar to me, but eventually it became impossible to avoid being regularly macvangelized (a combo of Macintosh & evangelized) by loyal users who had tried Mac and become convinced that it was not only better, but so much better that everyone should be using it.
Then I got a Mac. And it took me about a week to decide that it was awesome and that it was better than any PC I’d ever used and I became a macvangelist myself. You should really get one. 🙂 The macvangelisim model is a really effective one though, and it has only a few simple steps that result in big impact: 1. Mac users are so in love with the product that they tell everybody how great it is and invite their friends to try it; 2. Their friends try it, fall in love, and begin telling everyone they meet about it; 3. The movement snowballs.
This is also God’s model for revealing himself to the world and drawing people to himself. I think that Genesis 12:3 is one of the key verses in the entire Bible! It gives us a framework through which to understand what God is doing and what he calls his people to. He tells Abram, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God is saying, “I am calling you out and setting you apart for myself so that everyone around you will be drawn to me through you!” God’s plan for the nation he created through Abraham, Israel, to be a light to all the other nations. His design for Israel was that they love him so much and live for him so fully that everyone else around them couldn’t help but be compelled and try it out for themselves. That’s still his design for the church today.
What would it look like if we were as excited to tell everybody around us about how awesome our God is as we are to tell them how great our computer or phone or iPod or car is? Or if we were so compelled by our love for God – and by the amazing love he has shown to us – that we couldn’t help but tell everybody around us all about him? God’s wants to use us to bless our world and point it towards him. Passionately telling people about what he has done in our lives is incredibly powerful to the point of being nearly irresistible. And we can be fully confident in this: if they try him out they’ll find joy and peace and love and grace and forgiveness and hope that they can’t find anywhere else.
ASK: What is stopping me from telling people about what God has done in my life and why I love him? What could the world look like if Christians decided God’s plan to be a blessing to everyone around them by boldly telling everyone about him?