GOD ALLOWS US TO CHOOSE
Genesis 12:1-14:24 January 13 2008
Abram obeyed God, journeyed to Canaan, explored the land
from north to south, and paused twice to build altars and
worship the Lord (Gen 12:1-9).
The Pharaoh treated Abram well because of Sarai, and
Abram acquired great wealth. When plagues struck his house,
Pharaoh realized he had been deceived and summoned Abram
to explain. Pharaoh ordered Abram to leave with his family
and possession (12:10-20).
Abram graciously allowed Lot to choose where he would
settle , Lot chose the well-watered area near Sodom. After
Abram and Lot separated, God restated His promise of a land
and descendants to Abram (13:1-18).
A coalition of four kings attacked and defeated the area
of Sodom. When Sodom later rebelled , the four kings returned
with their armies, defeated the Sodomite army, and captured
Lot. Abram gathered his men, pursued the four king’s armies
into northern Canaan, and rescued Lot and his possessions
As Abram returned , Melchizedek., King so Salem, fed him
and blessed him . As an act of worship Abram gave a tenth of
the spoils of victory to God through Melchizedek. Claiming
nothing for himself, Abram gave the remaining spoils to the
king of Sodom (14:17-24).
1. Choose to Obey (Gen. 12:1-4)
Gen. 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country,
your people and your father’s household and go to the land I
will show you. 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you
will be a blessing. 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.” 12:4 So Abram left, as the
LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was
seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
Had Said. God had spoken to Abram “while he was still in
Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran” (Acts 7:2). Leave. . .
Show You. Abram must leave the settled world of the Post-
babel nations and begin a pilgrimage with God to a better
world of God’s making (Gen.24:7).
God’s promise to Abram has a sevenfold structure: (1)
“I will make you into a great nation,” (2) “I will bless you,”
(3) “I will make your name great,” (4) “you will be a blessing,
” (5) “I will bless those who bless you,” (6) “whoever curses
you I will curse,” and (7) “all peoples on earth will be
blessed through you.” God’s original blessing on all mankind
(Gen.1:28) would be restored and fulfilled through Abram and
his offspring. In various ways and degrees, these promises
were reaffirmed to Abram (Gen.12:7; 15:5-21; 17:4-8;
18:18-19; 22:17-18), to Isaac (Gen.26:2-4), to Jacob
(Gen.28:13-15; 35:11-12; 46:3) and to Moses (Exus. 3:6-8;
6:2-8). The seventh promise is quoted in (Acts 3:25) with
reference to Peter’s Jewish listeners (Acts 3:12 )—Abram’s
physical descendants —and in (Gal 3:8) with reference to Paul’s
Gentile listeners —Abram’s spiritual descendants.
Abram left, as the LORD had told him. (Heb 11:8). Prompt
obedience grounded in faith characterized this patriarch
throughout his life (Gen.17:23; 21:14; 22:3). Lot went with
him. (Gen.13:1,5). Lot at first was little more than Abram’s
ward. Seventy-five years old. Although advanced in age at
the time of his call, Abram would live for another full century
(Gen.25:7; Gen. 5:5).
2, Chooseto Worship (Gen. 12:5-9)
Gen. 12:5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the
possessions they had accumulated and the people they had
acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan,
and they arrived there. 12:6 Abram traveled through the
land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.
At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 12:7 The LORD
appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give
this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had
appeared to him. 12:8 From there he went on toward the hills
east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west
and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and
called on the name of the LORD. 12:9 Then Abram set out
and continued toward the Negev.
People they had acquired. Wealthy people in that ancient
world always had servants to help them with their flocks
and herds (Gen.15:3; 24:2). Not all servants were slaves;
many were voluntarily employed.
Site of the great tree of moreh. perhaps Gen. 35:4;
Jdg 9:6,37). A famous sanctuary was located at Shechem
in central Canaan, and a large tree was often a conspicuous
feature at such holy places. But Abram worshiped the Lord
there, not the local deity.
The LORD appeared. The Lord frequently appeared visibly
to Abram and to others, but not in all his glory (Ex 33:18-20;
John 1:18). An altar. The first of several that Abram built at
places where he had memorable spiritual experiences
(Gen.12: 8; 13:18; 22:9). He acknowledged that the land of
Canaan belonged to the Lord in a special way (Ex 20:24;
Bethel. Just north of Jerusalem, it was an important
town in the religious history of God’s ancient people
(Gen. 28:10-22; 35:1-8; 1Kings 12:26-29). Only Jerusalem
is mentioned more often in the OT.
Negev. The dry wasteland stretching southward from
Beersheba. The same Hebrew word is translated “south”
3. Choose to Avoid Sinful Influences (Gen. 13:8-13)
Gen. 13:8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any
quarreling between you and me, or between your
herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 13:9 Is not
the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go
to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll
go to the left.” 13:10 Lot looked up and saw that the
whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the
garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar.
(This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
13:11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the
Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted
company: 13:12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while
Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his
tents near Sodom. 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were
wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
Brothers. Relatives (as often in the Bible). Abram,
always generous, gave his young nephew the opportunity
to choose the land he wanted. He himself would not
obtain wealth except by the Lord’s blessing
Plain. The Hebrew for this word picturesquely
describes this section of the Jordan Valley as oval in
shape. Like the land of Egypt. Because of its abundant
and dependable water supply (Gen.12:10), Egypt came
the closest to matching Eden’s ideal conditions
(Gen.2:10). The LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
(Gen 18:16-19:29). The names of Sodom and Gomorrah
became proverbial for vile wickedness and for divine
judgment on sin. Archaeology has confirmed that, prior
to this catastrophe, the now dry area east and southeast
of the Dead Sea (Gen.10:19) had ample water and was
Lot. . . Pitched his tents near Sodom. Since the men
of Sodom were known to be wicked (Gen.13:13), Lot was
flirting with temptation by choosing to live near them.
Contrast the actions of Abram (Gen.13:18).
Will be blessed can be translated in three
different manners giving three different ways of
understanding Abram’s involvement in blessing all
people. In the reflexive voice the verb would mean
all people would bless themselves by Abram. Abram
would serve as a example of faith , and people would
seek blessing like his for themselves and others.
If the verb is translated in the middle vice,
it would mean all people would discover blessing in
Abram. The typical translation understands the verb in
the passive voice, meaning all people will be blessed
through Abram. This understanding accent Abram’s role
as the one through whom God’s blessing for all people
Of the three possibilities, the last seems
best since God already had told Abram he would be a
blessing (Gen. 12:2) and the father of a great nation.
God served as the source of the blessing and worked
through Abram and his descendants to accomplish