Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us!

Name *
Name

315 Waukegan Road
Northfield, IL 60093
USA

(847) 441-6599

A Journey through the book of Genesiswith Willow Creek Community Church

Read Genesis

Week 2/Day 4: Faith and the Promises of God

Willow Creek Community Church

“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 

~ Genesis 12:1–3

Listen

Read

Genesis 12 represents a major turning point in the book of Genesis. The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell story after story of the compounding problems of sin and death. Seemingly small sins like disobedience and hate snowball into egregious sins of murder and revenge. God counters these sins with judgments, including the judgment of death. These judgments do not solve the sin problem; they just reveal how inclined people are to sin (Genesis 8:21).

In response, God initiates a new plan in Genesis 12 to address the problems of sin and death. Humans had proven that they weren’t capable of living righteous lives, so this new plan does not rely on any person’s righteousness. Instead, it hinges on God’s faithfulness and humanity’s faith.

God promises Abram that if he will follow in faith, God will bless him, and not just him, but also “all peoples on earth.” Abram likely had no idea just how far-reaching this promise was. We who have the fortune of hindsight and the complete Scriptures know what God ultimately intended here. Through Abram’s lineage, God brought Jesus into the world, in the culmination of God’s plan to bless all nations. It is through Jesus that God overcame the problems of sin and death that started here in Genesis. Through Jesus, God also has a promise for us. If we are willing to follow in faith like Abram, we can experience eternal blessing in our lives.


Genesis 11:10–12:9

From Shem to Abram

10 This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Abram’s Family

27 This is the account of Terah’s family line.

 

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

12

The Call of Abram

1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

 

2 “I will make you into a great nation,

and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,

and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.”

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.


Exploring the Text

1. Genealogies can be confusing and it’s easy to get lost in the long list of names. In Scripture, each genealogy has an important purpose. In ancient times, genealogies painted a picture of the history and background of a certain person or people group. In Genesis 11:10-31, we learn the history and backstory of one very important person in Scripture. Who is that person? 

Reflection Questions

2. In Genesis 12:1, God commands Abram to “go”. This one word implies that Abram would be leaving his home and his family to do what God commanded. Obedience to God often means leaving one thing in order to receive something even better. God might be calling you to leave something or let go of your future plans and be obedient to Him. Consider your own life and evaluate your decisions. Is there anything you feel God might be calling you to let go of or walk away from? What would being obedient require of you and/or your family? Are you willing to be obedient to God, even if it’s hard or scary?

3. The Lord’s promise to give the land of Canaan to Abram’s offspring is the single most repeated affirmation in the first five books of the Bible (the Torah). This is an important and emphasized promise because it shows God’s faithfulness to His people. However, in this passage, Abram and his wife are old and they don’t have any children. Imagine the emotions Abram would have felt after hearing this! How would you feel if God promised you something you didn’t think was possible? God can do the impossible, but we have to believe He can! This requires living an expectant life. What does living expectantly of God mean to you?