Genesis 12

* God calls Abram, and blesses him with a promise of Christ.

(1-3) Abram departs from Haran. (4,5) He journeys through

Canaan, and worships God in that land. (6-9) Abram is driven by

a famine into Egypt, He feigns his wife to be his sister.

(10-20)

1-3 God made choice of Abram, and singled him out from among

his fellow-idolaters, that he might reserve a people for

himself, among whom his true worship might be maintained till

the coming of Christ. From henceforward Abram and his seed are

almost the only subject of the history in the Bible. Abram was

tried whether he loved God better than all, and whether he could

willingly leave all to go with God. His kindred and his father's

house were a constant temptation to him, he could not continue

among them without danger of being infected by them. Those who

leave their sins, and turn to God, will be unspeakable gainers

by the change. The command God gave to Abram, is much the same

with the gospel call, for natural affection must give way to

Divine grace. Sin, and all the occasions of it, must be

forsaken; particularly bad company. Here are many great and

precious promises. All God's precepts are attended with promises

to the obedient. 1. I will make of thee a great nation. When God

took Abram from his own people, he promised to make him the head

of another people. 2. I will bless thee. Obedient believers

shall be sure to inherit the blessing. 3. I will make thy name

great. The name of obedient believers shall certainly be made

great. 4. Thou shalt be a blessing. Good men are the blessings

of their country. 5. I will bless them that bless thee, and

curse him that curseth thee. God will take care that none are

losers, by any service done for his people. 6. In thee shall all

the families of the earth be blessed. Jesus Christ is the great

blessing of the world, the greatest that ever the world

possessed. All the true blessedness the world is now, or ever

shall be possessed of, is owing to Abram and his posterity.

Through them we have a Bible, a Saviour, and a gospel. They are

the stock on which the Christian church is grafted.
4,5 Abram believed that the blessing of the Almighty would make

up for all he could lose or leave behind, supply all his wants,

and answer and exceed all his desires; and he knew that nothing

but misery would follow disobedience. Such believers, being

justified by faith in Christ, have peace with God. They hold on

their way to Canaan. They are not discouraged by the

difficulties in their way, nor drawn aside by the delights they

meet with. Those who set out for heaven must persevere to the

end. What we undertake, in obedience to God's command, and in

humble attendance on his providence, will certainly succeed, and

end with comfort at last. Canaan was not, as other lands, a mere

outward possession, but a type of heaven, and in this respect

the patriarchs so earnestly prized it.
6-9 Abram found the country peopled by Canaanites, who were bad

neighbours. He journeyed, going on still. Sometimes it is the

lot of good men to be unsettled, and often to remove into

various states. Believers must look on themselves as strangers

and sojourners in this world, #Heb 11:8,13,14|. But observe how

much comfort Abram had in God. When he could have little

satisfaction in converse with the Canaanites whom he found

there, he had abundance of pleasure in communion with that God,

who brought him thither, and did not leave him. Communion with

God is kept up by the word and by prayer. God reveals himself

and his favours to his people by degrees; before, he had

promised to show Abram this land, now, to give it to him: as

grace is growing, so is comfort. It should seem, Abram

understood it also as a grant of a better land, of which this

was a type; for he looked for a heavenly country, #Heb 11:16|.

As soon as Abram was got to Canaan, though he was but a stranger

and sojourner there, yet he set up, and kept up, the worship of

God in his family. He not only minded the ceremonial part of

religion, the offering of sacrifice; but he made conscience of

seeking his God, and calling on his name; that spiritual

sacrifice with which God is well pleased. He preached concerning

the name of the Lord; he taught his family and neighbours the

knowledge of the true God, and his holy religion. The way of

family worship is a good old way, no new thing, but the ancient

usage of the saints. Abram was rich, and had a numerous family,

was now unsettled, and in the midst of enemies; yet, wherever he

pitched his tent, he built an altar: wherever we go, let us not

fail to take our religion along with us.
10-20 There is no state on earth free from trials, nor any

character free from blemishes. There was famine in Canaan, the

glory of all lands, and unbelief, with the evils it ever brings,

in Abram the father of the faithful. Perfect happiness and

perfect purity dwell only in heaven. Abram, when he must for a

time quit Canaan, goes to Egypt, that he might not seem to look

back, and meaning to tarry there no longer than needful. There

Abram dissembled his relation to Sarai, equivocated, and taught

his wife and his attendants to do so too. He concealed a truth,

so as in effect to deny it, and exposed thereby both his wife

and the Egyptians to sin. The grace Abram was most noted for,

was faith; yet he thus fell through unbelief and distrust of the

Divine providence, even after God had appeared to him twice.

Alas, what will become of weak faith, when strong faith is thus

shaken! If God did not deliver us, many a time, out of straits

and distresses which we bring ourselves into, by our own sin and

folly, we should be ruined. He deals not with us according to

our deserts. Those are happy chastisements that hinder us in a

sinful way, and bring us to our duty, particularly to the duty

of restoring what we have wrongfully taken or kept. Pharaoh's

reproof of Abram was very just: What is this that thou hast

done? How unbecoming a wise and good man! If those who profess

religion, do that which is unfair and deceptive, especially if

they say that which borders upon a lie, they must expect to hear

of it; and they have reason to thank those who will tell them of

it. The sending away was kind. Pharaoh was so far from any

design to kill Abram, as he feared, that he took particular care

of him. We often perplex ourselves with fears which are

altogether groundless. Many a time we fear where no fear is.

Pharaoh charged his men not to hurt Abram in any thing. It is

not enough for those in authority, that they do not hurt

themselves; they must keep their servants and those about them

from doing hurt.
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