Life and That More Abundantly — Part 1
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Abram was a man of no particularly unique faith in God while he lived among his people in Ur. What we do know of him was that he was willing to believe God and step out after he received His word. Before he and his father, Terah and all his family, left Ur they were serving the gods that were common to the people of those regions. But God brought them out from among the Chaldeans and they journeyed northwest as far as the city of Haran. From there the Lord spoke directly to Abram and said get out of your country from you family and your father’s house.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.’ “ Genesis 12:1
Now this is where Abram’s life takes a sharp turn toward God and away from worshipping the gods of his people and the world at large. This act of faith by Abram set the course for the rest of his life and the life of everyone who would come after him, of all His descendants physically, Isaac, the father of Jacob who became Israel (Jacob) and spiritually every believer in Jesus Christ.
“So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:4-7
Now some have argued that Abram was not totally obedient to what God told him to do when he left Haran. God told him to "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house.” But he took Lot with him. Lot was his nephew, the son of Abram’s brother, Haran. There is some logic to considering that including Lot on his journey was problematic later on and that he would have been better off leaving him with the rest of the family. But according to the custom of the time Lot became in effect an adopted son of Abram after his father, Abram’s brother died. So, it was natural for Abram to include Lot in his family. Further, there is no Scriptural evidence that God was displeased with Abram for bringing Lot along with the rest of his family as they journeyed from Haran to Canaan.
So when they came to Canaan and the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” It is important to not two things here. This is the first time the Lord appears to Abram and speaks directly to him. Prior to this Abram only heard God speaking to him but did not see Him, This time when he sees God and hears Him, he responds by worshipping Him. ”And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.”
Abram built several altars to the Lord as he progressed through the land and God appeared to Him or spoke to Him. His established practice was to worship God each time he was in His presence and to mark the geographical location as sacred and holy ground where God manifested His presence on Abram’s behalf.
As the story unfolds and Abram begins to increase in wealth and prosperity, having no children himself but increasing numbers of servants, Lot’s household also increases to the extent that a kind of civil war begins to breakout between Lot’s herdsmen (servants) Abram’s herdsmen (servants) over the use of the land. So, Abram realizes this association has become unwieldy, so they part company, with Lot and his family, his goods, livestock and possessions going to settle in one direction and Abram and all his household going to settle in the other.
After this God appears to Abram again and says,
“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ ” Genesis 13:14-17
Who can count the dust of the earth? It is an immeasurable number to man. So too, will be the descendants of Abraham. There are countless millions upon millions of souls in the world and who are yet to come, but this immeasurable number are the descendants of Abraham.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29