Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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THE CALL OF ABRAM
October 14, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 10:1; 11:10, 27, 31-32; 12:1-4
KEY VERSES: 1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: (Genesis 12:2-3)
INTRODUCTION: Genesis chapter 10 is a chapter of genealogies, of families, which are the origin of the nations of the world. This chapter is far more important than the space we are giving to it would indicate.
I. FROM NOAH TO ABRAM. (Genesis 10:1; 11:10, 27, 31-32)
A. The division of humanity. (Genesis 10:1)
(Genesis 10:1) Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
If you are interested in ethnology (eth nol o gy) and anthropology and the story of mankind on the earth, you may want a far deeper study than you will find here. H. S. Miller, who has his master’s degree in ethnology, has charted the origin of the nations, using Genesis 10 as a basis for the threefold division of the human family, which is revealed in these three sons of Noah: Ham, Shem, and Japheth.
INSIGHT: Ethnology, (Eth nol o gy) is the study of ethnic groups. Ethnology makes it evident, by the way, that neither the sons of Japheth nor the sons of Ham ever comprised what some people call “the lost ten tribes of Israel.”
B. The generations of Shem. (Genesis 11:10)
(Genesis 11:10) These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
We follow the line of Shem because it is the line which will be followed throughout the Old Testament. Shem’s genealogy is given in the following verses. “And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 11:24-25).
You see that we are looking at the line of Terah. Why Terah? Notice the following verse: “Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat ABRAM, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot” (Genesis 11:27).
C. The death of Terah. (Genesis 11: 31-32)
(Genesis 11: 31-32) 31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
From Noah’s three sons, God made a new beginning in human history. Notice that God set apart Shem to be His special channel of blessing, and it was through Shem that Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, was born (Genesis 11:10ff.).
II. THE CALL AND THE PROMISE. (Genesis 12:1-4)
INSIGHT: In God's great “Hall of Faith” chapter, Abraham is introduced with this statement: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go 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).
There are two key words in that verse which describe Abraham: (1) FAITH and (2) OBEYED. Abraham put his faith in God and obeyed God (i.e., acted on that faith).
A. The call of Abram (i.e., Abraham). (Genesis 12:1)
(Genesis 12:1) Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
1. God called Abraham.
INSIGHT: We are not told exactly when Abraham received the call, but we know that it was a calling of grace. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).
a. Abraham was called out of idolatry. (Joshua 24:2)
(Joshua 24:2) And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
b. Abraham was 75 years old when God called him from Haran, and he trusted God for 100 years. (Genesis 25:7)
(Genesis 25:7) And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
c. He was married to Sarah and they were childless.
d. Why would God call such an unlikely couple to found a great nation for Him? (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
2. How God called Abraham.
a. Stephen tells us that "The God of glory appeared unto Abraham" (see Acts 7:2).
b. We do not know how God appeared unto him, but this was one of seven direct communications from God to Abraham.
c. Verse one tells us that God had spoken to Abraham.
d. We know that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
e. It was a call to separate himself from the corruption around him, and he obeyed.
3. Why God called Abraham.
a. In God’s love, He was concerned about Abraham’s (and Sarah’s) salvation.
b. In God’s plan, He wanted to bless the whole world through them.
c. In God’s wisdom, He provided the life of Abraham as an example for all believers.
INSIGHT: As we consider Abraham’s life of faith, we will learn that when we trust the Lord, NO test is impossible and NO failure is permanent. Abraham wasn't perfect, but his walk with God was generally characterized by faith.
B. The covenant with God. (Genesis 12:2-3)
(Genesis 12:2-3) 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 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.
1. True faith is based upon the Word of God.
a. God spoke to Abraham and told him what He would do for him and through him if he would trust and obey.
b. We are not saved by making promises to God, but by believing God's promises to us.
c. God gave His covenant to Abraham, and Abraham in return responded with faith and obedience.
2. God did NOT give Abraham reasons or explanations.
a. God simply gave Abraham promises.
b. "I will show thee ... I will make of thee ... I will bless thee ... I will bless them that bless thee..." (Genesis 12:1-3).
c. The men at Babel said, "Let US..." (Genesis 11:1-8), but God said, "I WILL..." (Genesis 12:1-3).
d. In later years God would reaffirm and amplify certain areas of the Abrahamic Covenant, but for now it was enough for Abraham to (1) believe God and (2) set out by faith.
C. The compromise of Abraham. (Genesis 12:4)
(Genesis 12:4) So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
1. Abraham’s first steps of faith.
a. These are not always giant steps.
b. Abraham did not FULLY obey God.
INSIGHT: Instead of LEAVING HIS FAMILY, as he was commanded, he took his father and his nephew Lot with him when he left Ur.
c. Abraham delayed for a while, perhaps months or years, at Haran until Terah died.
2. Abraham begins his walk with compromise. (Genesis 20:13)
(Genesis 20:13) And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
a. Abraham made an agreement with Sarah to be deceptive about their relationship.
b. Abraham brought his father along, perhaps justifying his compromise with his father's age or lack of good health.
c. Abraham brought his nephew (Lot) along which resulted in problems until they later agreed to separate.
INSIGHT: All of these things hindered Abraham from fully obeying God. But God tests us in order to build our faith, and God was testing Abraham.
D. The commitment to obey God. (Genesis 12:5)
(Genesis 12:5) And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
1. It may have been a son's love for his aged father that made Abraham delay.
2. But the day finally came when Abraham and Sarah had to leave and go to the land God had chosen for them.
3. Abraham went out by faith.
4. Faith demands a commitment to obey!
By David C. McCasland
When people say with a sigh, “Promises, promises,” it’s often when they’ve been disappointed by someone who failed to keep a commitment. The more it happens, the greater the sadness and the deeper the sigh.
Have you ever felt that God doesn’t keep His promises? It’s an attitude that can subtly develop over time.
After God promised Abraham, “I will make you a great nation” (Genesis 12:2), 25 years elapsed before the birth of his son Isaac (Genesis 21:5). During that period, Abraham questioned God about his lack of a child (Genesis 15:2), and he even resorted to fathering a son through his wife’s handmaiden (Genesis 16:15).
Yet, through the ups and downs, God kept reminding Abraham of His promise to give him a child, while urging him to walk faithfully with Him and believe (Genesis 17:1-2).
When we claim one of God’s promises in the Bible, whether it is for peace of mind, courage, or provision of our needs, we place ourselves in His hands and on His schedule.
As we wait, it may at times seem as if the Lord has forgotten us. But trust embraces the reality that when we stand on a promise of God, He remains faithful. The assurance is in our hearts, and the timing is in His hands.
Standing on the
promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God. -- Carter
-- Adapted from David C. McCasland, Our Daily Bread, August 21, 2010
CONCLUSION: What do we learn about Abraham and Sarah in this Bible study?
· Abraham and Sarah Both Failed God: Sometimes they did things God’s way, and sometimes they did things their way. They found that it is BEST to do things God’s way.
· Abraham and Sarah Both Obeyed God: Their long journey from Haran to Canaan is not recorded, but it certainly took faith and patience to complete it.
· Abraham and Sarah Both Were Rich: It is easy to see that Abraham and Sarah were wealthy, but that wealth was no hindrance to their walk with God.
· Abraham and Sarah Both Were Blessed: They came to Shechem, "the place of the shoulder." How amazing it is for the believer to live in "the place of the shoulder," where "underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). God took care of them! And He will take care of you too!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “All of God’s promises are backed by God’s wisdom, love, and power.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey