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Saturday, June 15, 2019

2019.06.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 12:4-9

Questions for Littles: What did Abram do at the beginning of Genesis 12:4? Why? Who went with him? How old was he? From where did he depart? Who and what else did Abram take (Genesis 12:5)? To where did they come? Through what land did Abram pass (Genesis 12:6)? To what place? As far as what object? Who were then in the land? Who appeared to Abram in Genesis 12:7? What did He say? How did Abram respond? To which mountain did he then move (Genesis 12:8)? What did he build there? What did he do with it? What was Abram doing in Genesis 12:9? In what direction?
So often, when studying Scripture, there arises a “what” question with a “Who” answer. The Lord Himself is so often the power upon Whom something rests or the purpose for Whom something is done, or the actual pleasure in Whom we are to delight. And the Bible constantly reorients us toward Him.

Well, that’s exactly the word for us in Genesis 12:4-9. In the first three verses, Scripture reorients our focus, as we look for the serpent-crushing Seed, to center upon Abram and his family. Now, in these next six verses, following Abram reorients our attention unto the Lord with “where” questions that have “Whom” answers. We have known since Genesis 12:1 that the Lord Himself is the real answer to the question of where Abram is going—“the place that I will show you.” Now we find that the Lord Himself is the primary feature of every place that Abram goes.

Genesis 12:4 begins to highlight this by saying, “as Yahweh had spoken to him.” Genesis 12:5-6 are logistics that keep us moving: map history from Abram’s navigation software. But the distinguishing landmark by which we know that he arrives is “Then Yahweh appeared to Abram.” The Scripture tells us one thing about this appearance: that Yahweh promised the land to Abram.

In the ordinary course of the history, we would expect, “and there Abram pitched his tent.” But this is no ordinary man, and this is no ordinary history. Abram knew the reality that the Holy Spirit would later carry his descendant Moses to write in Psalm 90, “Yahweh, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Instead of “there he pitched his tent, we have “there he built an altar to Yahweh, who had appeared to Him.”

To be sure, there is tent-pitching. Genesis 12:8 tells us that Abram moved to the mountain between Bethel and Ai and pitched his tent. But in the course of this account, verse 8 serves to show that wherever there is tent-pitching for Abram, there is also altar-building and Yahweh-worshiping. And not just personal worship. Look at all those people in Genesis 12:5. This is family worship! At this point in the history, one might even call it corporate worship.

There is a picture for us here in the story of our own lives. Tents are temporary, mobile structures. They go along with Abram. What he leaves behind as he “journeys” is a string of altars. Our dwelling is temporary (regardless of felt-permanence). The Lord’s worship is permanent (regardless of felt-brevity). It’s not just that our lives are all about Him. Rather, our lives are all about recognizing and responding to the reality that all of everything is always about Him! “Yahweh, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
What does the consistency of your personal/family worship say about how your life is oriented?
Suggested Songs: ARP90A “Lord, You Have Been” or TPH234 “The God of Abram Praise”

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