Summary: In order to activate the promises of God we have to respond to His challenge.
The Great I Will
Text: Gen. 12:1-9
1. We are going to begin a study of the life of Abraham.
2. Who was Abraham?
a. Abraham was a native of Chaldea, and descendant in the ninth generation from Shem, the son of Noah. His father’s name was Terah, and he was born in Ur, 2161 B.C. (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary).
b. He is known as the Father of Faith
c. Romans 4:16 (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
d. The life of Abraham, from his call to his death, consists of four periods, the commencement of each of which is marked by a divine revelation (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary).
e. The four periods are: 1) The Call, 2) The Promise, 3) The Covenant, and 4) The Test.
3. Today we are going to talk about the call of Abraham found in Gen. 12:1-9.
4. We will see…
1. God’s promises to us
2. Our responsibility to Him
3. Our response to God’s challenge
4. Our reaction
Transition: First, let us look at...
Proposition: In order to activate the promises of God we have to respond to His challenge.
I. God's Promises to Us (2-3).
A. What God Will Do For Abraham
1. We have often heard of God referred to as the "Great I Am," but another name we could easily use in referring to Him is the "Great I Will."
2. God invited Abraham to leave his life of emptiness to receive a life of blessings.
a. God's invitation involved personal, national, and universal blessing.
b. God would also make Abram's descendants a great nation, not in a worldly sense, but as a special treasure to God, a holy nation.
c. The personal blessings would naturally include spiritual blessings, and all of these blessings would make his reputation great, thus making him famous.
d. God's blessings also bring his provision and power for our needs (Horton, 103).
3. If Abraham responds to Yahweh's invitation God tells him, "I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others."
a. God's call to Abraham is is enclosed in a conditional statement.
b. One of the most important words in all of Scripture is the word "if." If we will do this, God will do that.
c. The result of Abram keeping God's command would be threefold: God would make him a great nation, God would bless him, and God would make him famous.
4. The first thing that God promises Abraham is that he would make him into a great nation.
a. From Abraham, Arab and Jew alike trace their origin. More than one nation now calls Abraham "father" (The Teacher's Commentary).
b. God not only made him into a great nation, but into many nations.
5. The second thing that God promises to do for Abraham is to bless him and make him famous.
a. To bless in the OT means "to endue with power for success, prosperity, longevity (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament).
b. A second part of that is to make him famous.
c. The reverence of millions in the three great monotheistic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) has more that fulfilled this promise (The Teacher's Commentary).
d. The end of v. 2 is not a part of the blessing but is actually a command, a fact that is often missed in English. The second command is "be a blessing" (Allen, 95).
e. God doesn't bless us so that we can brag about how blessed we are, but rather that we can be a blessing to others.
6. God illustrates this by telling Abraham that he will not only bless him, but he will also bless others through him.
7. In v. 3 God says to Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
a. The wording of v. 3 shows God's determination to assist Abram in being the blessing he has commanded him to be.
b. The force of the Hebrew in the first blessings here shows God's determination, it reads literally "I am determined to bless those who bless you."
c. The second blessing shows more of God's obligation to treat with contempt those who show contempt to Abram (Allen, 95).
d. When God blesses someone, he puts that person under his care and protection and in his favor (Walton, 393).
8. But a few would despise the promise and thus keep reviling, mocking, or making light of Abram (the word contempt actually means "to make light of").