Torah Portion for 18th October - 24th October
Torah portion Genesis 12 : 1 to 17 : 27
Haftarah portion Isaiah 40 : 27 – 41 : 16
“Get yourself out”
God’s faithful promises
The first eleven chapters of Genesis have occupied a time frame from antiquity to approx. 4,000 years ago. We have seen glimpses of the preparation God had made for what, in theatrical terms, would be called “The Main Event”.
In all the world, God chose a man called ABRAM, first born son of Terah, who lived in Ur of the Chaldeans (in modern day southern Iraq) to be the father of His chosen people. We do not know too much about Abram’s past, except that he ordered his life in a way that pleased God. The indications from Joshua 24:2 are that Abram’s father, Terah, not only worshipped “other gods” but may also have been an “idol maker”.
(There is a legend told about a time when Abram was left in charge of the shop whilst his father was away on some business. Abram smashed all the idols in the shop except the largest of them, in whose hand he placed a big stick. When Terah returned he was very angry at the scene before him. Abram explained that the largest idol had smashed the others with the stick that was in his hand. Terah exploded. “That’s nonsense” he said, “ you know it is impossible for that clay idol to do anything”. Yes, I do, said Abram, that’s why I am not having anything more to do with them !!)
That story is just illustrative of the fact that Abram was not an idolator. Terah had already taken his family, Abram, Sarah and his grandson Lot on a journey to Haran (in present day Syria). Now, after Terah had died, God tells Abram that He has further plans for him.
Just recalling that well known story tells us that with God, nothing is left to chance. Every step was carefully arranged, so that Abram, having left Ur of the Chaldeans with his Dad, was now able to take on another challenge of relocating yet again, but this time without the covering of his own father .God had already shown him that it could be done.
It is in these early verses of Genesis 12 that God reveals the extent of His plan to Abram. The true scope of Abram’s faith is illustrated in the fact that God did not tell Abram where He was taking him, just that He would show him the way. We have the advantage of seeing the elements of blessing which came Abram’s way as a result of his obedience. Abram himself did not have that luxury. God said “trust Me”, and Abram did.
It is worth pondering the thought of how we might react today to such an invitation from God. It is a monumental act of faith. We can look at Abram with some degree of detachment can’t we? We can view the situation hypothetically, from a distance, and make all sorts of “high moral ground” decisions about how we would have done the same. I am amazed at the faith of this man. But God knew him … just as He knows us.
It is not widely known that there are TWO different Hebrew words, which are both translated into English as “curse” in our Bibles in Genesis 12:3. The first ‘curse’ is “a’rar”, which means ‘bitterly curse’. The second ‘curse’ is “qalal”, which means ‘to treat lightly’ or ‘treat with contempt’. The difference is substantial.
I am in amazement that there are many Christian churches today, who have placed themselves in a position of being ‘bitterly cursed’ by God Himself because of their open contempt for Israel, that ‘ great nation’ promised by God to flow from Abram.
It is noteworthy, that Great Britain, probably the world’s leading Nation in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, has declined in world influence and global importance since 1948. The record is there for all to see. 1948 was the year that Great Britain openly treated Israel with contempt. The European Union is as anti-Israel as it is possible to be. It is having enormous economic issues and appears to be crumbling before our very eyes. America has been a champion of Israel for many years. Under the present administration, America is openly showing contempt for Israel. Watch this space!! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”
In Deuteronomy 11 : 12 we read of Israel:-
“ ….. a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.”
God is faithful and true to the promises He gave to Abram.
The promise God gave in Genesis 12 :3, whilst given specifically to Abram, is effective and applicable to all who read it.