Day 3

God’s Covenant with Abram

from the Advent 2017: Joy to the World reading plan


Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:15-18, John 8:56-58

BY Rebecca Faires

Scripture Reading: Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:15-18, John 8:56-58

God is calling us to move from the land of our birth to the land of promise. For most of us, this is not necessarily a physical move, but a spiritual one. He is calling us to give up what we know in order to fully embrace the life of Christ. God’s invitation and promise to Abram in Genesis is one of the most expansive promises in Scripture. It’s basically a superfecta of every imaginable blessing:

“I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
– Genesis 12:2-3

Why did God call Abram to leave Ur and move all the way to Canaan? Couldn’t He have blessed Abram in the place where he was already well established? Sure, God can bring His blessing anywhere, but Abram had to change. He needed to be able to give up his native soil, his dearest friends, even the succor of family, to follow God.

God called Abram to give up all the comforts of home because they were a temptation to return to his old way of life. The things that draw us back into our idolatrous habits aren’t worth giving up the promise of new life. God told Abram to run from these things. In the KJV it rings quite dramatically; God commands Abram to: “Get thee out of thy country”! He’s essentially saying to Abram, Run, with all your speed from the temptations that cling to you! Escape with your life, and don’t look behind you (Genesis 12:1, my paraphrase).

What do we have to lose if we leave our sin and turn to God? He invites us to unspeakable blessing. The call given to Abram is like the gospel call that comes to us through Christ, the One who was before Abraham (John 8:58). We, too, are invited to leave our old life behind to step into the land of promise. Our natural affections must give way to divine affections. It’s in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus shockingly says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Matthew Henry explains it this way:

Our country is dear to us, our kindred dearer, and our father’s house dearest of all; and yet they must all be hated, that is, we must love them less than Christ, hate them in comparison with him, and, whenever any of these come in competition with him, they must be postponed, and the preference given to the will and honour of the Lord Jesus.

Christmas reminds us that we are called to do the hard work of willingly parting with things that are dear to us, for the sake of turning our affections toward Christ. We are called to hold our earthly possessions and passions loosely, freeing our feet to long for the ground of promise, and to walk away from the land of death. The Messiah Himself has come, and He brings blessing and life in His wake.

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Post Comments (194)

194 thoughts on "God’s Covenant with Abram"

  1. Rhona Riley says:

    As I make this journey, Lord I ask you to walk with me and continue to show me the right path to take.

  2. Bailey says:

    Lord, help me to part with what I don’t need and focus on what I do need this Christmas season…You!

  3. Kelsey Bender says:

    Growing up, I’ve always felt like I had held back with my faith completely. Only when I am at church can I fully worship God because I’m in such a busy and self-centered part of the world. I’ve been judged and hurt because of my heart and in a way, I’ve made myself cold and detached from myself and my relationship with God to fit in. I needed this today to go through the weekend and know that I am on the way to where God wants me to be. ❤️

  4. Amanda McConnell says:

    This was such an encouragement to me today as I battle to stay pure from temptations. He fights for me. His ground of promise is better anyway.

    1. Kelsey Bender says:

      I need to remember this as well. He is for us. ❤️

  5. Emily Lange says:

    Such a great reminder that I need to leave certain things behind and follow God. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in everyday tasks. It’s time to love Him more than anything I have.

  6. Andrea Hope says:

    Prayed for you Natasha. I’m struggling with making God number 1. For all others to be “hated” in comparison to Christ.

    1. Carissa Nicole Hill says:

      It’s too long and convoluted to explain here, but I have the type of personality that can give up physical things. I am not saying it would be easy, but I could. What is hard for me to give up are my dreams and everything I want to do in life. I wish I was married and had kids and I get to be a mom. Those are things I want-not necessarily what God wants for me. I think it’s important to realize that those things are just as important to give up to God if we want to follow Him.

      1. Carissa Nicole Hill says:

        Sorry, that was meant to be a general comment-not a reply. Sorry about that.

  7. Natasha Pavez says:

    I’ve been struggling with letting my temptations go and focusing on God. This was a needed reminder. If anyone sees this, I’d really appreciate prayer for my relationship with Christ. I miss how it used to be.

    1. Carissa Nicole Hill says:

      Dear Natasha, I feel the same way. We are in the same boat. I will be praying for you.

    2. Courtney says:

      You’re not alone in feeling this way. I’ll be praying for you!

  8. Donna says:

    This passage for me speaks to my heart about walking away from the comfortable choices. It’s not always easy to be a good daughter, wife, mother or friend. We are human and in our humanness we see what our eyes see. We see our wants and needs. We see the disagreement, without seeing what’s behind the disagreement. Our God wants us to see him…his wants, his desires for our life’s and have a relationship with him, conversations,with him…fellowship with him. If I could stay focused on what Jesus would have me do in the face of adversity with my brother…then I would be able to take a deeper breath , filling up with the savior’s love, and reassurance that all is well, and he always has my back.

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