Chapter 12


Verse 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 show thee:

I.    This scripture reads like God had promised to Abram in the past that he ought to leave country and family, but he hadn't done it.  See comments on latter part of chapter 11.

II.    Abram is told to leave, but is not told where to go.  This is walking by faith.  God will direct his paths in the right direction.

III.    Note that the blessing to Abram is a curse to Canaan.  Gen. 9:25 - It is the descendents of Canaan that have settled in the promised land.  Some have said the curse upon Canaan was to be made black.  This would be a curse indeed, but how much worse to be cursed with a black heart and to be a stumbling block in the way of Godly people {those chosen of God}?


Verse 2,3, 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: 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. - The promise that he would be:

1.       a great nation,

2.       be blessed of God,

3.       his name (his authority) and he himself would be a blessing. (four blessings.)


Verse 3 - To those around Abram.

1.       A blessing for those that bless him.   This still holds true today.  Let us never curse Israel or go against them in any way, even if they do us wrong (Remember Jacob and Laban? Gen. 31:24)

2.       A curse to all that curse him.

3.       A promise that the redeemer would come through his descendants.


Verse 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. - Based on these promises, Abram left his father and country, taking only Lot with him.  He was 75 years old when he left.  Let us never think that only young people can serve the Lord.  The older I get, the more I am inclined to believe that God uses older people who aren't so filled with youthful foolishness.  God can and does call older men into His ministry.  Even if you're 60 years old, God can still call you to preach and make your ministry very effective.  It doesn't take God a long time to make a successful (in His eyes) minister.


Verse 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.

Took Lot with him.  We don't know why Lot also went along.  Lot left some things behind.

1.       His family and country.

2.       All the people he knew.

3.       His father's inheritance (his dad was already dead).

4.       Lot probably wasn't married when they left.

Note: Lot left some things behind, and he didn't have any instructions or promises of God.  Everybody, whether they are called of God or not, leaves things behind.  Isn't it better to be called of God and leave things behind, reaching forth for those wonderful things of God, instead of leaving things behind and reaching forth for nothing?


Going into the land of Canaan.

1.       This is the beginning of a new life for Abram and Sarai.

2.       This new beginning, though having many twists and turns along the way, will finally end about 5,500 years later when the Jews, at the end of time, join with Jesus Christ in the millennial reign.


Verse 6-20:

Verse 6,7, And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

1.       The very thing Abram noticed as he entered the land of Canaan was that there were already people there.  He knew who the people were.  He went on in spite of this obstacle.

2.       The Lord appeared to Abram at Moreh and promised this land to his seed, not to Abram himself.

Note: Abram, Isaac, and Jacob will dwell as a "stranger in the promised land".  All their lives, they will live in tents with no certain dwelling place, but all the time believing God has given the land to their children.  This is walking by faith, not by sight.

3.       Abram built an altar to the Lord.  Whenever God gives us special promises, this is certainly the time and place to really worship Him.

4.       The altar was built with earth.  It was not fancy.  The purpose of having an ugly altar was to direct all attention toward the sacrifice on the altar.

5.       The purpose of the sacrifice was probably an offering of thanksgiving.  Abram is not thanking God because he is good, but because He is good.

6.       When Abram gives the sacrifice, he is acknowledging that the blessing is by grace, not by works.  He is giving God all the glory, taking none for himself.


Verse 8, And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

1.       Abram left Moreh, going on south toward Canaan.

a.       Many times, when God gives us a blessing in one place, we tend to want to stay in that place, never going on to other blessings.

b.       We ought to remember that every event in our lives is a preparation for some other event.  God doesn't want us to keep on doing the same thing over and over again.  He desires us to go on in grace and receive more promises and blessings He has in store for us.

c.       I've seen many churches that are guilty of doing this very thing.  They look back in time to when God blessed their assembly and try to repeat what they were doing then in order to receive the same blessings they received then.  This is impossible to do.  Things are never the same and it is not pleasing to God for us to constantly live in the past.  It is God's desire that we "press on toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

d.       Everything around us must and will change.  Let us not be stagnant, but ever "reaching forth to those" greater blessings of God.  Let us not live in the past.

2.       Bethel means "house of God".

Hai (Ai) means "heap of ruins".  This is that same Ai that defeated Israel in Joshua 7.

Many times children of God are between ruin in their lives and being in the House of God.  When we come to those crossroads in our lives, let us by grace follow our God where He wants us to go.

Built another altar.

a.       Every time we move our place of residence, let us also move our place of worship.  We will never be happy in the Lord if we move our residence, and keep our worship many miles away.  This is also required in the church covenant.

b.       Let us not move until we are sure there is a church of God in that area where we can worship God in Spirit and truth.  Many people have moved because of jobs or whatever, taking advantage of material gain, but forgetting about spiritual gain, and have therefore lost all.

c.       If we are forced to move, like Abram, and there is no place of worship, then let us not join in worship with false worshippers, but erect our own altar to God.  If your job forces you to move, do not join a church that doesn't believe the truth, but, with the proper church authority, organize a church that will teach the truth and real worship to God.


Verse 9, And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

1.       God may call upon us to move many times.  When He calls us to do so, let us move with grace in our hearts and joy in our lips.

2.       Note: Abram is moving still further south, yet still in the promised land.  There is a lot of liberty in Christ.  "Legalists" would have us do only what they believe we ought to do.  May God give us grace to move around the way He wants us to.


Verse 10, And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

The famine.

1.       Why a famine at this particular time?  Teaching Abram to walk by faith, not by sight.  This is Abram's second impression of the land.  First was in verse 6, the Canaanite was in the land.

2.       If I were God and was trying to "sell" Abram on settling in the land of Canaan, I would not cause a famine at this time.  I would try to show him that the land was a very prosperous land and would produce enough to feed all his descendants (the dust of the world).  God does not want Abram to look to the land to feed the people.  He desires him to look to Him, not to material things.  We are just like this.  Many (most) times, we desire to look at the things we have in our possessions to supply our needs, not those things that God alone can provide.  May God help us to look to Him, not to "things".

3.       Luke 9:57-62.  In this scripture, several people came to Jesus wanting to follow Him.  Jesus gave them a very bleak picture of what it would be like to follow His teachings.  This is exactly the opposite of modern preachers, who try to make "Christianity" very easy and popular.  Why did Jesus give such a terrible picture of discipleship?  He wants people to know what they are getting into, so they will be able to finish the course.  The preaching of modern evangelism, and its "easy believism", has destroyed Christianity because when Satan gives people a hard time, they drop out, not understanding what is happening to them.  Jesus was asking people to count the cost, and endure to the end.  Modern preachers ask people to "make a decision for Christ", and make Him their Lord later, if it is convenient.  The only way a person can be saved is to accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord!


Abram going on down into Egypt.  It's highly unlikely this was a sin on Abram's part.  Remember God send the famine, forcing Abram to leave Canaan.  I think it is also important to note that Abram didn't ask God whether He ought to go into Egypt or not.  While in Egypt, God will continue teaching Abram that He can supply all his needs.


Verse 11,12,13:  And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

1.       As they came near to Egypt.  Abram knew where he was going, planning to go there.  Note:  He was fearful of not going into Egypt, for he would starve, yet he was fearful of going into Egypt, for he would be killed and Sarai taken from him.  (But see point #5.)

Sometimes, there are things we must go through that looks like there is no way we can receive good.  Let us take a lesson from Abram, and not lie that good may come.  Good may come in spite of our lies, but let's not depend on it.  Always tell the truth.

2.       Sarai is a beautiful woman.

a.       This is admitted to by Abram.  He is not blinded by love.  He speaks the truth.

b.       This is admitted to by the Egyptians.  Talking only about physical appearance.

3.       Sarai is about 65 years old.

a.       12:4 - Abram is 75 years old when he leaves Haran.

b.       Comparing 17:17 and 21:5, Sarai was about 10 years younger than Abram.

c.       This ought to teach us that the "youth" are not the only ones that are beautiful.

d.       23:1 - Sarah was 127 years old when she died, thus she was "middle aged" here.

e.       Let all "middle aged" women take heart.  You're not lost that "youthful vigor", your ability to seduce your husband, or be potentially dangerous to other men!  "Middle aged" women - take heed, and continue to be careful, knowing that you are still capable of seducing the wrong person.

4.       The lie -

a.       contrived together.  This makes it no less a lie.  Though they agree, it is still error.

b.       If you don't tell all the truth, you have told a lie.  this is deception.

c.       The lie (incomplete truth) may seem to get us out of trouble temporarily, but there is the potential for great hurt to someone else.  And they have innocently believed our half truth.

5.       Note:  Abram has forgotten the promise of God.

a.       The promise is that he will have children which shall be a great blessing.

b.       Abram doesn't have any children at this time.

c.       Everyone knows that in order to have children, Abram would have to remain alive.

d.       It's very evident that Abram will not die in Egypt.  At least evident to everyone but Abram.

e.       Before we accuse Abram too badly, let us take a good look at ourselves.  We do exactly the same thing he did.

f.        God has given us many promises that he will take care of our material needs, (Matt. 6:33), but how many of us really believe HIM??

g.       He has told us not to worry, but how many of us really believe HIM??

h.       He has told us to ask for whatever we desire, yet how many of us really believe Him and ask for those things?

i.         Abram is a great man, the father of Israel, yet is just a man, like everybody else.  The only reason Abram is special is because God has made him special.  We are all people also.  The only reason any of us is special is because God has made us special.

j.         This is called grace.  Let us remember who we are and constantly give God the glory for all things.


Verse 14-20:  And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

1.       When they got into Egypt, it happened almost like Abram thought it would.

2.       The Egyptians saw that Sarai was a beautiful woman and thinking she was unmarried, commended her to Pharaoh, who took her into his house.

3.       Note:  The Egyptians saw Sarai.  She went about in public with her face uncovered.  He head was not covered in the way tradition pictures the women of the middle east.  I know some preachers who disagree with the head covering because: (1) they say a woman ought to cover her entire head, and (2) a woman ought to never appear in public without her entire head being covered.  The Bible doesn't bear out what they claim ought to be so.  It is never good to judge the dress of God's children by the dress of the world.

4.       The problem comes in verse 16.  Abram was not killed or threatened at all, but was treated very well, for her sake.

a.       Lesson: many (most) times the things we think will happen, do not happen.

b.       We can spend a lot of time thinking the worse and preparing for the worse when we ought to be trusting God.

5.       In verse 17, we find something happening that Abram had not planned on -- God intervened by sending plagues on Pharaoh and his house.

a.       We don't know what kind of plagues came upon Pharaoh and his house.

b.       They could have been similar to those that came upon Egypt when Moses was trying to lead Israel out of Egypt.  But we really don't know.

c.       This seems to be plagues only upon the house of Pharaoh and not on anybody else.

6.       Note: Abram did not have faith that God would intervene on his behalf.  This did not stop God.  I'm thankful that our lack of faith in God does not stop Him from helping us.

7.       A lot of people, especially those who believe in "healing", believe that the "unbeliever" stops God from doing His work.  This is false doctrine.

8.       We do not know how Pharaoh found out that Abram and Sarai had lied to him, but he did.

9.       Note: Abram did not believe that the promises offered to Him by God would hold true in a pagan land, but God is the God of the universe, not just of a particular area.

10.   Abram did not believe that those that worship a God different from his had any moral judgment.  This is not so.  There are people that are lost, yet have better morals than some that pretend to be saved.  Being moral is not the same as being saved.  But when a person is saved, that person will have morals (whether or not they live up to them all of the time).

11.   God allowed safe passage for Abram at the mouth of Pharaoh.  This is what Abram desired, but he could have had greater blessings if he had trusted God to begin with.  This is what we ought to do.  God's will will be done in our lives.  We can go about things in such a way that we don't receive a full blessing and may not even see God doing anything.  If we would, by the grace of God, fully obey and believe God's Word, we would realize great and full blessings.

12.   When Abram left Egypt, going back into Canaan, he did not go back fully trusting God to give him safe passage, but having the command of Pharaoh, he went trusting the arm of Pharaoh would be against anybody that hurt him or his.

13.   Note:  the blessings Abram did not get by revealing to Pharaoh that he was trusting God.  Many times we miss blessings because we are afraid to speak out in the name of God, trusting instead in something we have figured out.

14.   Note: the blessing Pharaoh did not get because Abram did not fully confess his God before him.  If Pharaoh died without being saved, then the blood would be on Abram's hands.  So it will be with us.  If people die without being saved, and we had opportunity to witness to them, and don't because of whatever reason, then that person's blood will be on our hands.

15.   I wonder if Pharaoh had an opportunity to belittle God because of one of God's children.  Many times people in this world have an opportunity to belittle God because of our actions.  May God give us grace to stand for Him and never be a rebuke to His Name.