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The Search Begins

Genesis 12-15

In Chapter 12 of Genesis God speaks to a man named Abram and tells him to leave his birthplace and his family to go to an unknown land.

This is the beginning of the spiritual quest.

But what makes this so special?

God spoke to Adam, but Adam disobeyed. God spoke to Noah in an emergency, and appointed him with a specific job. Neither of them demonstrated any particular spiritual qualities.

Abram is different. God speaks to Abram and does not tell him what the plan is. God tells Abram: leave everything that is familiar and follow me. And Abram does it.

The Bible tells us very little. It gives few details and leaves a lot to inference. God’s speaking in this manner to Abram tells us something of the yearnings in Abram’s heart. We can see Abram searching for something, willing to journey into the unknown. He is not satisfied with life as he knows it. He hears a calling and he trusts it. He is the first man of faith.

While the journey is not without hardship, Abram does find his way to the place where God directs him. Then God makes a promise to Abram: all the land that he sees around him will be given to his descendants, who will become as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

What is so special about Abram? He may hardly realize it himself at this early stage. But Abram has taken the courageous step of questioning his received faith. Instead he searches for a God that cannot be seen, that is not a human creation - and that is one and universal. Only later will it become clear just how important this is. The implication of one unseen God with no physical representation is that God is the God of all human beings equally. Abram himself may not yet have thought of it in those terms - but it will become increasingly clear as the biblical story unfolds.

And so God’s blessing is expressed in terms of Abram’s descendants. The meaning is that his legacy, what he has found out about God, will be passed on to future generations. Abram has found the true God, and so God becomes active in his life.

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