Alfred Place Baptist Church

The call of Abraham

Genesis 12:1-4 “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go 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.’ So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out.”

The Bible alone explains to us how in the perfect creation that God had made, man, employing his free will, defied God and fell, bringing sin and death into the world. Without the Scripture we wouldn’t know why men behave as abominably as they do. Then the Bible is eager to tell us how God himself acted to effect deliverance, to bring man back into a right relation with himself, a descendant of our first parents, the last Adam, is going to come and save us. Then the next decisive step in God’s work of in the salvation of the world was his choice of Abraham.

It is almost an understatement to call the passage before us a ‘pivotal’ passage. It’s been referred to – would you believe? – as ‘the single most important passage in all the Bible.’ Now that may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but everything else that follows Genesis 12 throughout the Old Testament, the coming of Christ, the establishment of the church, the spread of the kingdom of God all over the world, ourselves being here today, and finally the new heavens and the new earth – they all flow from this great divine promise to Abraham, Today I have to justify that statement to you, while making your heart burn within you.

We are told that God homed in on this one man, Abraham, an idolater living in a pagan culture. There is not the slightest hint in the passage that at this time Abraham was agonizing, seeking, praying and looking for God, but rather that the whole initiative in the call of Abraham was God’s. He came seeking and finding Abraham. From that moment on we find this is the pattern of God’s saving enterprise throughout the Bible. Moses is in the back side of the desert, a shepherd caring for his father-in-law’s sheep. He has been doing that work for forty years and suddenly one day he is confronted by a bush burning and not being consumed. He did not light that fire; God lit it, and from the midst of the fire God reveals himself to Moses, speaks to him, calls him and commissions him. That is the picture of the call of Abraham repeated. Once you see it then you notice it throughout the Bible. Samuel is a little boy lying in his bed in the temple and suddenly he hears the voice of God speaking to him, “Samuel, Samuel!” God meets with a teenage girl in Nazareth called Mary; “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you . . . you have found favour with God . . . you will be with child and give birth to a son . . . he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk. 1:28-31). Two brothers are casting their net into the lake and unannounced the Lord appears at their side and says to James and John, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” A man named Matthew was sitting at the tax-collector’s booth and the Lord came up to him and said, “Follow me.” Zachaeus the tax-collector was perched in a tree in Jericho when the Lord called him. Saul of Tarsus was on a road walking to Damascus when the Lord said to him, “Saul, Saul.” The call of God is the Lord’s saving action.

None of those people was especially religious, and some were monsters, but God stopped them in their tracks, and turned their lives around. That is the powerful grace of God. In church history he’s done the same. He did this to Augustine in a garden, and to Luther in a storm, and to John Newton in a boat in the midst of a storm. People far from God, whose lifestyles and attitudes were sub-Christian were confronted and changed by the Lord intervening in their lives. The father of all of them was Abraham. Nothing could be starker than the change wrought in Abraham. Think of what he’d been compared to what he became. The contrast is darkness and light. Apart from the voice of his conscience, and faint memories of an old story of the fall and the promise of a special one who’d come one day, Abraham had had no contact with the Lord, or with the Lord’s people. There was no vital fellowship of growing worshipping Christians in Ur. Not one. There was no preacher; no tracts; no books; no prayer meetings. There was no group he could join, and no one to help him by enthusing about the joy of walking with God.

How different it was to be with Saul of Tarsus; he soon met Ananias; he had also seen the calmness and forgiveness with which Christians die. Again, Matthew the tax collector joined a group of keen young followers of Jesus. Abraham had no one whatsoever like that. Abraham was 75 and set in his ways. His wife, Sarai, was not much younger but certainly past the age for having children. All over the land were the Canaanites (v.6) and they functioned in terms of other gods, and they outnumbered Abraham, his wife, nephew and servants a thousand to one. Was Abraham ever tempted to think, “Why are we the only ones out of step?” He wasn’t following the Lord very long before he ran into a famine (v.10) and this was no ordinary famine. It was severe (v.10) and he had to journey to another continent, to Africa, to Egypt in order to find food for them to survive. Is this what happens when you start following the Lord, that you run into colossal problems? All appearances seemed against Abraham following the Lord, and yet when God appeared to him and spoke to him he believed and followed God.

Think of a sixteen year old boy called Spurgeon slipping into a very small Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester one winter’s day in a snowstorm. The preacher could not get there because of the snow and so a badly prepared layman harangued the twenty or so in the congregation urging them to do one thing, to look unto God and be saved. This theme he wearily reiterated and repeated, fastening Spurgeon to the pew with his arrows. Some would claim that they would never recover from such an embarrassing confrontation with that monotonous preacher. “You won’t find us in church again.” But God met with that teenager in the Artillery Street Primitive Methodist church through that layman, and his whole life changed.

Aren’t you glad that God intervenes in men’s lives? Aren’t you delighted that he speaks to sinners in his word? Why should he? Why should he set his love on us and deign to speak to us. When you go into your garden do you address the slugs and
tell them that you love them? Yet God speaks to those who are worshipping the moon and stars and he says to them, “Get up! Turn around! Leave your idols and your way of life. It is all passing away. Become a citizen of heaven.” We’ve not deserved the Creator of the universe speaking to people like us. We’ve not desired to know him. We’ve been no better than anyone else in the place and far worse than many, and yet God loved us, and spoke to us, and called us! That is how it happened. God speaking to us is salvation applied; God calling us to follow him is his sovereign grace; God telling us to obey him is mercy all immense and free. That is how God saves us. Why did he save us? Because he loved us. But why he should love us, ah, we could never tell. It is amazing grace that he should have loved me especially when he knew all about me. Many years later a man soon to be stoned to death preached to those who lusted after his blood. Stephen told them very plainly what had happened in Ur on this momentous occasion; “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2). What greater contrast could you possibly find than these two entities? On the one hand an unbelieving worshipper of the moon, and on the other the God of glory, and yet this Lord appeared to the pagan Abraham to do him much good. It was amazing grace that saved a wretch like Abraham.

  1. WHAT CHARACTERIZED THE VOICE OF GOD?
How did God address him?

i] It was a voice of love. It was like a proposal of marriage. “God came to Abraham like a man to a woman, to ask for one thing. He virtually said, ‘I want you.’ He significantly used the isolating singular pronoun – thee. ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land I will show thee’ (A.V.). The Lord demanded, as the lover who proposes to the woman of his choice, that Abraham should leave everything else in order to become his; that he should leave his own family and join God’s – the people who are God’s; that he should depart from his present home and surroundings and go to live with God” (Alan Stibbs, God’s Friend, IVF, 1964, p.15). When God comes to us in the gospel and speaks to us in his word then we are encouraged to hear and heed that voice, doing what he asks because it’s the most loving voice we’ve ever heard.

ii] It was a voice of authority. It was the Creator of Genesis one who was speaking. He wasn’t making a suggestion; “Abram, I think you’d like a more relaxed rural life. Might I suggest to you to consider Canaan.” No. It was a command. ‘Leave!’ “Leave you country; leave your people; leave your father.” These were commands that embraced all that was dear to Abraham. In the New Testament the words ‘call’ and ‘calling’ are those most often used of God summoning a sinner to salvation. The gospel is not a helpful tip for happier living. It comes to us with all the authority of Almighty God. When this God became flesh and began to preach to the people of this land – the same land that he’d promised here two millennia earlier to Abraham and his descendants – this is how the Lord preached, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” It was the word of the King of kings to rebellious subjects. The gospel call isn’t a nice option when you’re deciding that maybe Jesus can make you happy. It is a command; “Submit to your rightful sovereign.”

iii] It was a voice requiring sacrifice. The voice of God was uprooting Abraham from everything he knew and cared about. The Lord didn’t say, “I’ll be your God and we can have fellowship together in Ur.” He simply told Abraham he had to get going, and at first he didn’t tell him where. Abraham actually knew about Canaan, but all God said was, “You have to go to a place I’ll show you.” There were no verbal pictures given to Abraham of a land flowing with milk and honey, beautiful valleys and fields of corn warmed by the sun and blowing in a gentle breeze. There were no shots of rivers with fish jumping out of the water, no coloured brochure atmosphere at all. There were few roads from Ur to get there, no police, no restaurants and no service areas on the way. Once Abraham had got to the place there’d be no instant communication with his family back in Ur. He might never see them again, any more than William Carey of India ever saw the kin-folk that he left behind in England. It was a call to great sacrifice and cross bearing, and it was the first word Abraham heard. “Count the cost!” the Lord was saying, as he always says to those being invited to follow him.

iv] It was a voice demanding a visible response. “Leave . . . and go” said God. Abraham had to come to a decision. Was he going to spend the remaining years of his life in Ur worshipping Nanna the moon-god? Or was he going to walk with God? There was a fork in the road and Abraham couldn’t walk both ways because they were going in different directions. What was going to be his chief end in life? To serve Nanna the moon-god or serve Jehovah? He had to choose. He could not choose them both; they were very different gods with different characters and rewards and blessings. He’d been serving Nanna ever since he could remember, and the deepest longings of his heart had not been fulfilled. He and Sarai had not become parents; the crib was empty in the home. “What am I going to do? Am I going to stay here with Dad, and my business, and my friends in all the bustle of the great city? Or am I going to walk with God in all the adventure and abundant life that he has to offer?’ Count the cost.

It is in these terms that the gospel is couched. Come, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow Christ. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:27). It is a summons to a whole new lifestyle. Think of Peter’s sober words to a first century church; “You have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (I Pet. 4:3-5).

Remember David Patterson challenging an unbelieving Highlands shepherd named Douglas MacMillan and saying to him, “Here on this one hand is all that your life is giving to you just now and all that it will give you in the future. Here on this other hand is the Lord. Which one are you going to choose? And after an agonizing wait Douglas said, “I’ll take Christ.” We are told, “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him” (v.4). Let Abraham be our example and our encouragement. He lost his whole way of life in Ur. He left his heart in Ur and took off. He became a non-person there, all to obey his Lord. Let us hear the word of God and do as he did, for through Christ we enjoy many blessings in this life and much more in the world to come. Let Christ be our example. Did he not leave behind his heavenly home and come to earth for our sakes?

  1. WHAT DEMANDS DID THE LORD MAKE?

The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you’” (v.1). You see how he was commanded to do three things; leave his country, his
people, and his father’s house. What exactly is that saying to us who are the children of Abraham today? Does it mean that we all have to leave the place where we’re living, our friends and our family and move somewhere else? Let me ask whether your name is Abram? These specific commands were spoken to Abram, silly. When Paul wrote to Christians living in a very similar pagan place to Ur, the city of Corinth, he told the congregation there, “Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to” (I Cor. 7:24). He said to the believing Christian wife that she should stay married to the unbelieving husband; “each one should retain the place in life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him” (I Cor. 7:17). Many of those new Christians in Corinth filled with the Spirit were itching to travel all over Greece and beyond telling men and women the good news of Christ. “Stay with your families,” ordered Paul. “Help you children and aged parents. Stay at your jobs; serve your masters; be a witness there,” so Paul exhorted them all. That is the obvious place to begin when we look at God’s words to one man Abram. We are not to wrench them out of their context and use them as an excuse for leaving home and all the responsibilities of job and family and become self-appointed itinerant evangelists. Remain in the situation God has called you to, and shine there for Jesus Christ.

It was different for Abram, because God had prepared a huge area of real estate for him and for his seed after him as the inheritance. He was going to the father of a great nation living in a prepared land. A whole new chapter in God’s dealings with our world was beginning and Abraham was the fountainhead of all this. There was going to be a new family of faith, a new tribal system with twelve tribes all descended from the sons of his grandson Jacob. There were going to be clans and families with this land being passed down from one generation to another. God sent to this land Abram to start this new family. 75-year old Abram had to set out without delay and go to that land and mark it with a number of altars to Jehovah as belonging to the Lord and claimed by Abraham and his seed as their territory. So Abraham had to leave physically his country of the Chaldeans, his home town of Ur, his friends and his family and go to that place. So the command physically to move on was unique to Abram, but it has application to us today.

i] When the gospel comes to us and says ‘leave your country,’ we’re to realise that we have been living in what John Bunyan called the ‘City of Destruction’, a whole world order that is going to perish and we have to leave what’s been our ‘country,’ In other words we cease living for this age – of which we’ve become so much a part – and we set off on a pilgrimage day by day following Jesus Christ to his home in heaven. We realise that the kingdom to which we’ve belonged by nature is the kingdom of darkness and we have been translated into the kingdom of God’s own Son. So we’re going to live henceforth as members of that heavenly Kingdom under its King of Love and his wise laws. We leave the world system – organized, sinful, fallen society which locks out the Lord Jesus from its deliberations. We must leave the City of Destruction, for that is what the Bible means by repenting. We turn away from the lifestyle of all those around us who’ve locked God out of their lives. We actually start to live in an alternative community; we live by the Bible; we live as a Christian family; the atmosphere of our homes, our books and our vacations, our six days of labour and our day of rest, our camps and conferences are all different. We have come away from the world, while not actually physically leaving our actual houses in the streets of Corinth or Soho or Bangkok or Rotterdam. We are the children of Abraham in Aberysytwyth. We live here for Jesus Christ. That is where God wants us to remain whatever the cost. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. What are all those compared to the abundant and precious provision that we have in Christ?

ii] When Abram was told to leave his people he realised that henceforth his people would be those who’d live in distant Canaan. All of us are called into the new fellowship of the Christian church. There we go to find our closest friends; there the strong will support us, and when we get strong we will support the weak. We will bear one another’s burdens, and we will love those people with pure hearts fervently. That must mean that there are people that physically Abram was called to leave. Now that is rare, but it is not unthinkable. There is that boy-friend or the girl-friend today who has no time whatsoever for God. There is the gang, the peer group, the in-crowd that has more influence over you than even your own parents. You would defy Mom and Dad – but not that group. Remember, they have no thought of God. Now you sit and drink with them, maybe each Friday night; it’s the rugby crowd or the choir or whoever. The opinions of such people, the pressures your friends bring upon you, the attitudes of your employers and your workmates were once all important to you. But now the great change has occurred; you know the living God and you love him with all your heart and soul. Your people are God’s people.

What about your former acquaintances and neighbours? Do you just cut them dead without any explanation? They’ve been your friends, and they are obviously the first to be told what’s happened in your life. You’re to live a credible godly life before them since God has become all in all to you. There are what’s been called the ‘bridges of God’, the providential places where you meet others and can cross into their lives speaking to them of the Saviour you’ve come to know. That is your first responsibility, but if they resist you, dismiss you, show their anger towards you because you aren’t the fun you used to be now that you have become ‘Holy Joe’, still treat them with endless patience and kindness, and overcome their evil with good. There usually comes a time when you’ll no longer be welcome in their company if your lifestyle is saying, “For me to live is Christ.” God gets priority, doesn’t he? It’s no longer crucial what others think; our concerns are pre-eminently what God thinks of us. So, secondly, we leave the people.

iii] Abram was told thirdly to leave his father’s household. The apostle Peter speaks of the ‘vain conversation’, that is, the empty lifestyle, which we received by tradition from our unbelieving fathers. They are empty of the living God and his word and his great salvation. Terah his father had never taught his sons to love and fear the Lord. He had no time for Jehovah, but more time for the idol called Nana the moon god. Terah’s trip to Canaan is half-hearted. It goes as far as Haran – a town like Ur – and Terah stops. Now there’s tension in the family. You are gently but firmly opposing your father and mother’s faith because it is untrue; it cannot save them or anyone. There is no way that such resistance can be avoided, and in some places in the world it can result in a Christian’s murder; our relations with unbelieving parents can be like walking on eggshells. However, you must know this . . . you must be absolutely committed to this position . . . that when you become a Christian you honour your father and mother as never before. You show them what a thoughtful and respectful and tender son or daughter the Lord has made you. It would be a fearful family if the truly religious children were the least caring of their parents. There is no excuse you can glean from this verse to shun Dad and Mum or speak disdainfully of your parents’ ignorance of the gospel. But should your parents be consta
ntly persuading you to defy God, and they mock your faith then you resist those influences – even though they’re coming from your own father’s household which you love and respect. Christians walk a razor’s edge between holy submission and loving resistance. Love for him is love divine, all loves excelling. It makes merely human love seem like hatred.

So one day the Lord met with Abraham and spoke to him and said “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). Abraham had never heard anything like it in his life! What, I wonder, was Abraham’s initial response? “ . . . You’ll show me the land I’m to live in? Where do you want me to go?” “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” “Try me.” “It’s 1500 miles from here . . . a place called Canaan.” “Canaan? My father mentioned it once and he never got there.” “You’ll get there.” “How am I to get there?” You’ll have to walk the whole way. Just trust me” “Any more surprises?” “Yes, I’m going to make you a father of a great nation.” “Well, sorry to disillusion you but that’s impossible. I am 75 years of age and I don’t have any children.” “Don’t worry about that.” “Don’t worry? What do you mean?” “Just trust me.” “You want me to leave everything, walk across the desert to a place I once heard my dad talk about, and become the father of a great nation?” “Right on. Just trust me.” “Are you serious?” “I have never been more serious since the time I told Noah to build an ark. Just trust me” “What am I supposed to tell Sarai?” “That’s your problem!”

  1. WHAT PROMISES DID THE LORD MAKE?

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.” (vv.2&3). What blessings are promised. Abraham leaves his own country to be made a great nation – but Abraham must leave first. Abraham must bid farewell to his people, and then all the peoples of the earth will be blessed – but Abraham must leave first. Abraham must forsake his father’s household, yet he is promised a son, but Abraham must leave first. It is as he obeys the Lord that blessings come upon him. The God who came to Adam and Eve with bad news of his curse affecting the whole earth has come again, but now he announces that he will bless all peoples on earth. So he will bless Wales and Aberystwyth, and that blessing will be through this man living in Ur, Abraham the son of Terah. That is why these verses are the most important of the Old Testament. What men hitherto had been striving to attain – a life of blessedness – by building towers and cities, and worshipping the sun and moon Abram was going to receive without money and without any works. Here was a pagan who had done absolutely nothing at all. No bargain between God and Abram had been struck, no contract has been written out, and no conditions have been laid down for Abram to fulfil, yet God came and spoke promising him everything. He announced worldwide blessings to come through Abram. In the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis the word ‘bless’ occurs just five times, but now just in these two verses the word ‘bless’ occurs five times. Let us divide God’s blessing on Abraham into three.

i] The first promise was that God would make of Abram a great nation. Cain built a city but it was destroyed in the flood with all his descendants. The people of Babel built a city with a high central tower, but it was left half finished as a monument to their own arrogance. Ur of the Chaldeans was a mighty city, but for almost four thousand years it’s been covered in dust and rubble. Today it’s an archaeological site. Abraham was going to develop, not merely a tower, or a city state but a nation, a great nation, with territory and people. In the Bible every nation begins with a man. From the man there comes the family, and as the family grows and expands, there’s finally the nation. Every nation is simply the continued, expanded life of a man. This new nation began with a man who obeyed the Lord, who became the friend of God. God made Abraham’s nation the Old Covenant people of Israel. Then it developed into a new covenant ‘holy nation’ which we belong to now, the true Israel of God. You enter this kingdom by a new birth, and then ours is the kingdom of God, one that can never be destroyed. The City of God remaineth!

Of course, Israel would continue as the great nation only while they were faithful to the God of Abraham, while they served the Lord, and kept his commandments, and listened to the voice of his prophets, and refused to bow down and worship other gods, then God’s blessing would be on that nation. However, when they stoned the prophets that God had sent then ten tribes disappeared into captivity, and soon two tribes of the nation went into a long exile from this land. When they crucified the Messiah, the promised Seed of the woman, under the orders of professing high priests of Jehovah, then God wouldn’t go on blessing that earthly nation even though they shouted, “We have Abraham as our father.” Our Lord tells them, “Do the works of your father Abraham and you will be blessed.” That nation was taken from them and given to another. It’s we believing Gentiles who are now the sons of Abraham, we who believe in the God of Abraham.

ii] The second promise wasI will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.”  How do you get a real blessing? God alone can give it. He must make your name great. That’s the only way. Abraham gets a great name from God it’s a name that endures to this day. It has reached us in distant Wales. We are told that the men in the time of Noah were ‘men of renown’ literally, men of name. But what were those names, those wonderful names they bore? No one knows one of them, but everyone knows Abraham’s name. The builders of the Tower of Babel wished to make a name for themselves, but who were they? We don’t know the name of a single builder. They worked and sweated and built a tower that went higher and higher and yet failed to get a name, but Abraham had been an utter nobody, and he had done nothing, yet when God came close and had dealings with him Abraham received a name that has lasted four thousand years. You want to make a name for yourself? God alone can make your name great. You can get fame, oh yes, and then probably curse fame. A truly great name is one that God writes down and records in the book of life along with the names of all his people. Those names are great because they are the names of those who loved God and served him all their days. Their names will last for ever and ever, honoured by men and angels. Hear the words of Christ: “If any one serves me, the Father will honour him,” (John 12:26 RSV). His name will be listed with those in Hebrews 11:38, “of whom the world was not worthy.”

Also God says to Abraham, “You will be a blessing.” Abraham was given the privilege of being a blessing to others. Don’t you know such people who’ve been a blessing to you? Hasn’t God in his providence brought you into contact with such people? Haven’t you thanked God for them again and again? What a blessing they’ve been to you for years and years. Where would you be without
their support and strength and love? There is nothing more wonderful than to be a blessing to others. Think of it, that God has used you – the words you’ve spoken, the things you’ve said and done, to solve someone’s desperate problem, to make life begin to unfold for them again, to see homes reunited, hearts brought together again, and problems solved. Abraham became such a blessing to millions of people, to us today! This is what God offers all the sons of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ, that we will be given a name and we will become a blessing.

iii] There is yet a third promise: “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse, for all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (v.3). How will we be blessed by God? By our enthusiasm for Abraham and the covenant that God made with him and his seed for ever. “Thank you Lord for meeting with Abraham, making a covenant with him so that all the world – American, China and Wales – is blessed through his great son Jesus Christ with receiving the forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven.” God blesses such people, but those who disdain Abraham and his God are still under the curse of our first parents. The whole world is bifurcated by Abraham; sheep and goats; covenant keepers and covenant breakers. What do you think of Abraham? “I bless God for coming and meeting with him and making promises to bless us through him.” Then you are blessed by God. In other words our message about the importance of Abraham makes us, like him, creators of crises. Everywhere we go, people have to choose, and so we will be either a blessing or a curse, but no one can ignore us. It was so with Jesus of Nazareth. No one ever came into contact with him and remained neutral. This is what God says to each pilgrim in the life of faith: “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 RSV)

This is God’s design for the Christian. Your life as the children of Abraham will be vital with that vitality God himself possesses. Then all the families of earth who respond in faith to your message will be blessed through you. That is happening now quietly and powerfully in China and South America, India and Europe, the universal usefulness of the children of Abraham is manifest as people turn from worshipping anything else to worship the living God. God is taking little Christian people and changing the world through them. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (v.3). This is a comprehensive and marvelous promise, isn’t it? Can you see that in these brief words to Abram of old, God has encompassed truth about life that came to be written in the pages of the gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. The blessing coming on the earth through Abraham includes all God offers to do with every sinner who comes from the world in repentance and believes through Christ.

March 1 2009   GEOFF THOMAS