Genesis 12:1-9 NIV

[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.  



Before we move onto the next stage of Abram’s life, there’s just a few more things I want us to see in this section.

Firstly, notice in the covenant God makes in verses 2-3. He says “I will” no less than five times. 

“I will...I will…I will…I will…I will…”

Following Yahweh isn’t about our hard work, tireless effort and dogged determination.  As we step out in obedience and faith, He acts on our behalf.  He makes things happen.  He blesses us.  He moves mountains.  He gives us victory.  He brings us into our inheritance.  God is not passively sitting back waiting to see how things work out for us.  He is actively involved in our daily lives, He is strategically working for our good and His glory.

Next, as we step out in obedience to what God has spoken, we need to understand that there is a vast difference between purposeful walking and pointless wandering, and often it comes down to perspective.  Hebrews 11:8 tells us:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

To those who knew nothing of what God had clearly spoken to Abram, he would have looked like a crazy, aimless wanderer without a goal or destination. 

To Abram, who knew with certainty God had spoken, his journey had purpose, direction and a divinely ordained destination. 

When you step out in faithful obedience to what God has spoken to you, don’t expect everyone to understand your decisions or applaud your actions.  They haven’t heard what you’ve heard, they haven’t experienced what you’ve experienced - so don’t expect them to get what you’ve got!  If you wait for unanimous support from everyone in your life before taking action, you’ll likely never do anything or go anywhere. 

Thirdly, compare Abram’s life to those in the previous chapter of Genesis who sought to build the Tower of Babel:

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” (11:4)

“I will make you into a great nation…I will make your name great…..So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” (12: 2; 7)

There is a vast difference between you desiring to make a name for yourself and God making a name for you, between self-promotion and God-promotion.  The difference comes down to what you are building – a monument to your own glory or an altar for God’s worship.

Sadly many today, even within the church, are more concerned with exalting their own name than with glorifying His Name; they are more consumed with building their platform than with building His Kingdom.  God has never shared His glory with another and He won’t start now.

Finally, after each encounter with the Lord, Abram does the same thing – he builds an altar:

“The Lord appeared to Abram…So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” (v. 7)

We should have our own ways of recording significant encounters we have with God and of recalling what He has spoken to us in the past.  Journal prophetic words, remember important dates, share with others what God has done.  They will stir your faith in difficult times and encourage you when you are weary.  Later we see that Abram returns to some of these places where he built an altar, as a way of reminding himself of God’s faithfulness and goodness.  I often return to the prophetic words God gave me over 25 years ago, many of which I have seen come to pass, some of which have yet to be fulfilled.  I remind myself that the God who has been faithful, will continue to be faithful; He has never failed me so I can trust Him for what lies ahead.

Why not recall today specific times you have experienced God’s faithfulness and remember what He has spoken.  Turn these recollections into your own altar of woship.