OT 08 God Calls Abram


Joshua 21:45, ESV

Not one word of all the good promises
that the Lord had made to the house of
Israel had failed; all came to pass.


Genesis 11:27-30, NIrV

27 Here is the story of Terah’s family line.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the city of Ur in Babylonia, the land where he was born. Haran died while his father Terah was still alive. 29 Abram and Nahor both got married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. The name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah, the daughter of Haran. Haran was the father of Milkah and Iscah. 30 But Sarai wasn’t able to have children.


Flying in an airplane, you can get a "bird's eye view." Way up high, you can see for hundreds of miles and view an entire town in a glance. Looking down from the clouds, people seem as small as ants! The first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis give us a bird's eye view of the beginning of the world. From the creation of the universe to the worldwide flood to the Tower of Babel, we get to see the big picture of history. But the end of chapter 11 zooms in for a close-up view. And for the rest of the entire book, it tells the history, not of the whole world, but of just one family: the family of Abram.

+ What was the name of Abram’s father? (vs. 27)

+ Who was Abram’s wife? What problem did she have? (vs. 29-30)


Genesis 11:31-12:1, NIrV

31 Terah left Ur in Babylon. He took with him his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran. Terah also took his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram. All of them left together to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they made their home there.

32 Terah lived for 205 years. And then he died in Harran.


1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s family. Go to the land I will show you.


What would you do if God asked you to do the same thing he asked Abram? "Leave your home and your family behind and go to a place I'll show you." Imagine how hard it would be to say goodbye to your parents and all your friends. Way back then, you couldn't even talk to them on the phone or send them a message over the internet! Also, nobody enjoys having to pack up all their belongings into boxes and bags. And leaving behind a place where you are comfortable and cozy to travel to a mystery land? That’s scary! But this was exactly what God was asking Abram to do!

In what place did Terah settle with his family? (vs. 11:31)

What did God ask Abram to do? (vs. 12:1)


Genesis 12:2-3, NIrV

2 “I will make you into a great nation.

    And I will bless you.

I will make your name great.

    You will be a blessing to others.

3 I will bless those who bless you.

    I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you.

All nations on earth

    will be blessed because of you.”


The Lord God asked Abram to do a big job: “Leave your land and your family and travel to a land I’ll show you.” But along with that big job came a boatload of amazing promises! God promised to grow Abram’s tiny family into a great big nation of people. He promised to make Abram’s name famous all through the land. He promised to bless Abram with good gifts. And best of all, God promised to use Abram’s family to give a blessing to all the families on the planet! Abram now had a decision to make: “Do I believe God’s promises? Do I go where he tells me or do I just stay put?”

Write a list of all the promises God made to Abram.


Genesis 12:4-6, NIRV

4 So Abram went, just as the Lord had told him. Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They took all the people and possessions they had acquired in Harran. They started out for the land of Canaan. And they arrived there.

6 Abram traveled through the land. He went as far as the large tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were living in the land. 


God gave Abram a ton of unbelievably great promises. But even though these promises seemed too-good-to-be-true, Abram believed them anyway! And because Abram believed that God would do what he said he would do, Abram did what God told him to do! He packed up everything he owned, kissed his mom and dad goodbye, and started off on his journey. To where? He didn’t actually know because God hadn’t told him yet! But this was no big deal: Abram let the Lord lead the way. God guided the old man step by step until he finally told him to stop in a faraway land called Canaan.

Who left on the journey with Abram? (vs. 5)

How old was Abram when he left for the land of Canaan? (vs. 4)


Genesis 12:6-9, NIRV

6 Abram traveled through the land. He went as far as the large tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were living in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram at Shechem. He said, “I will give this land to your family who comes after you.” So Abram built an altar there to honor the Lord, who had appeared to him.

8 From there, Abram went on toward the hills east of Bethel. He set up his tent there. Bethel was to the west, and Ai was to the east. Abram built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.

9 Then Abram left and continued south toward the Negev Desert.


Back in Haran, God made a mountain of amazing promises to Abram. But he wasn’t finished. As Abram entered the land of Canaan, the Lord appeared right before the old man's eyes! There he spoke one more incredible promise to throw on top of the pile of promises he’d already given! Though the land of Canaan was filled with wicked people, God promised to give that good land to Abram’s family. After getting a glimpse of God, Abram arranged an altar. On top of this pile of stones, he burned a sacrifice of meat. He worshiped the God who had given him promise after promise after promise!

What new promise did God make to Abram? (vs. 7)

After God appeared to Abram, what did Abram do? (vs. 7)


Matthew 1:1, NIRV

1 This is the written story of the family line of Jesus the Messiah. He is the son of David. He is also the son of Abraham.


While the Bible doesn’t tell us his exact birthday, we know that Abram was born about 4,000 years ago, around the year 2,000 BC. Knowing this detail makes the verse we read from the book of Matthew seem pretty strange. Why? Because Matthew calls Jesus “the son of Abraham.” (Abraham is a new name God gave to Abram). How in the world can Jesus, who was born 2,000 years after Abram, possibly be his son?

Before we answer that question, let’s look back at the amazing mountain of promises God gave to Abram. God promised to grow Abram’s family into a great nation. He promised to give Abram a great name and a great blessing. And he promised to give Abram’s family a great land to live in. But there was one more promise that was even greater than all the others. Do you remember what it was?

God promised Abram, "Through you, all the families of the earth will be blessed." God was going to use Abram’s family to give an incredible gift to the whole world. But how could a tiny family of two give such a precious present to the entire planet?

In the coming weeks, we’ll read about Isaac. He was the miracle baby born to Abram’s wife Sarai when she was old enough to be a grandma! We’ll learn about the time Isaac’s wife Rebekah gave birth to twin boys, one who was named Jacob. And we’ll study the strange way Jacob became father to twelve sons and one daughter.

In Exodus, the second book of the Bible, we'll watch Jacob’s family grow until it became a nation called “Israel.” All through the first half of the Bible (the Old Testament), we’ll see this nation of Israel get itself into big trouble, time after time. And we'll be amazed at all the miraculous ways God rescued Abraham's family from disaster!

After finishing the Old Testament, after working our way through 2,000 years of the history of Abram’s family, we’ll come to the New Testament. There, we’ll meet an Israelite girl named Mary. We’ll read about the birth of her very special child: a boy named Jesus, who just so happened to be the very Son of God!

The book of Matthew calls Jesus the “Son of Abraham” because Jesus is Abram’s great-great-great (plus many more greats) grandson! Jesus was the way that God kept his promise. Abraham's great-grandson Jesus was the great blessing God gave to all the families of the world! He was sent to bless us all by saving us from our sins!  

To finish that mission, Jesus offered himself to die in our place. He did this to pay the punishment for our sins: a forever fiery death! But since he was the all-powerful Son of God, he rose back to life on the third day after his death. If we believe in Jesus (like Abram believed God’s promises), Jesus offers us the greatest blessing of all: a spot in God’s forever kingdom, where every day will be the best day of our lives!

About how long ago was Abram born? About how long ago was Jesus born?

How did God keep his promise to bless the entire world through Abram’s family?

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.