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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-20

CHAPTER 12 The First Events in Abram’s Life

1. The call and the promise (Genesis 12:1-3 )

2. Abram’s obedience (Genesis 12:4-6 )

3. The second communication of Jehovah (Genesis 12:7-9 )

4. Abram in Egypt and first denial of Sarai (Genesis 12:10-20 )

We come now to a new beginning, the Abrahamic covenant. It marks the beginning of that wonderful race, the seed of Abraham, the people of Israel. Abraham’s name is mentioned 74 times in the New Testament. How closely his history is interwoven into New Testament doctrine. This may be learned by consulting the following passages: John 8:56 ; Acts 7:2 ; Romans 4:1-16 ; Galatians 3:6-18 ; Hebrews 11:8-19 ; James 2:21-23 . What a satanic lie it is to brand the existence of this great man of God as a myth! Such is often done in “Christian” (?) schools and pulpits. We give a few hints on this chapter:

The sovereign grace of God in the call of Abram. Shem had the promise of the Name. Jehovah was to reveal Himself in Shem. We learned from the eleventh chapter that the line of Shem had run into decay and was departing from God. In the midst of this ruin in which Abram was involved, he became the object of divine election and Jehovah in His grace manifested Himself to Abram and called him.

The delay at Haran. “The God of Glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.” “Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt at Charran; and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell” (Acts 7:2-4 ). The call came to Abram in Mesopotamia. They left their country and dwelt in Haran. Here Abram tarried till his father Terah died. The delay in going to the land to which God had called him was on account of Terah. Typically, Terah stands for the flesh, the ties of nature. This is always in the way to carry out fully the call of God and enter into full and blessed realization of God’s calling. While delaying in Haran (Haran means “parched”), God did not reveal Himself anew to Abram.

Death set Abram free, and by death freed from the ties of nature he journeyed on to the land of Canaan. The death of Terah, the liberating factor in Abram’s experience, is typical of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have died in Him. The cross of Christ has set us free.

Abram was “sanctified unto obedience.” Sanctified means “separated.” The call of God meant separation for Abram. “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.” Now there was no further delay. “Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken to him.” The calling involved obedience which was readily yielded. All this is typical of the individual believer.

It was by faith. What faith is stands here fully manifested. “By faith Abraham, when he was called out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8 ). He took God’s infallible Word and left all; walked by faith and not by sight; he hoped for things he saw not. Faith ever finds its most precious resting place upon the naked Word of God.

The promises. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will also bless thee and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2 and 3). And all God promised to Abram He hath kept. Every word has been literally fulfilled. Nations upon nations who hated Abraham’s seed, his natural descendants, have found to their great sorrow how true Abraham’s God is. These promises still hold good. To the seed of Abraham belong still the promises (Romans 9:4 ). The nations of the earth, all the families are unconsciously waiting to be blessed by Abraham’s seed. Salvation is still of the Jews.

Abram worships. He built an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. Again he built an altar, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east, and there he called upon the name of Jehovah. The revelation of Jehovah produces worship. The basis of worship is a conscious and precious relation with Jehovah. Abram knew Jehovah’s grace toward him, therefore he worshipped Him and called upon His name.

Abram’s failure was the result of leaving Bethel and going down to Egypt (typical of the world).

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 12". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/genesis-12.html. 1913-1922.
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