The parasha for this week’s Sabbath is entitled Lech L’Cha which means “go forth yourself.” It covers Genesis Chapters 12:1- 17:27.
In the previous chapters, we were provided with events that had taken place up until the time of Abram. From Chapter 12 on, Abram and his seed are almost entirely the only subjects of this sacred history of Genesis.
First, we have God’s call to Abram to go to the land of Canaan. Second, Abram’s obedience to the call, Third, Abram’s welcome in Canaan, fourth, his escape to Egypt, with an account of what happened to him there as well as Abram’s agreement with Sarai his wife, to tell the people of Egypt that she was his sister so that Abram may be treated well.
The ironic twist to the story came when Pharaoh wanted Abram’s wife, Sarai. The very words of Abram came back to haunt him, because Pharaoh did treat Abram very well because of his beautiful wife, Sarai.
For that reason, Abram became very wealthy, but this bound Abram to an obligation from which he was not able to deliver himself.
His scheme nearly lost him his wife, and without Sarai the promised blessing would have been doomed.
However, Adonai plagued Pharaoh and the residents of the Egyptian palace with serious diseases. Divine intervention alone would deliver Sarai unharmed from Pharaoh’s harem.
Pharaoh’s orders for Abram were to take his wife and go. This parallels God’s call to Abram, but Pharaoh’s words were said with dishonor. The Lord often uses our trials and failures to teach us valuable lessons.
The Scriptures says Abram came up out of Egypt. Today many backslidden believers should come back to the straight and narrow path that leads up to true spirituality.
In Chapter 13, we find Abram continuing his travels with Sarai and his nephew Lot. However, we soon have an unhappy falling out between Abram and Lot, who had been inseparable companions, but now must part ways.
Lot was walking in the flesh, Abram was in the Spirit. This always leads to conflict. Messiah is a divider; His presence brings conflict between people even of the same family. Lot departs from Abram to choose for himself the beautiful and lush plains of Sodom.
How much better was the patriarch in a barren land, with God as his portion, than Lot in all the fruitfulness of Sodom?
Observe, Abram is seen in direct contrast to Lot in every way. Lot chose for himself. God chose for Abram. Lot chose by sight; by faith, Abram chose not to choose; Lot, having chosen, obtained, and yet did not possess.
Abram, trusting God, received from Him the title deeds to all the land, even including that which Lot had chosen for himself.
Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar and worship the three in one God.
In Chapter 14, we are told about four things: War with the king of Sodom and his allies, the captivity of Lot in that war, Abram’s rescue of Lot from that captivity and the victory Abram obtained over the defeated.
A very special occurrence happened during Abram’s return from the expedition, when he met Melchizedek, the king of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. Abram is refreshed and blessed by him after the battle.
In the account between Abram and the king of Salem, we have a partial fulfillment of God’s great promise to Abram to make his name great.
Now, in chapter 15, Abram has an encounter with a third Sovereign. The Sovereign of sovereigns, Adonai, has come to visit Abram.
This visit, recorded in Gen 15, was the most encouraging of the three encounters with the kings it gave Abram confirmation of the promises about the seed and the soil, the soil being the land of Canaan, which was promised to Abram in Chapter 12, and the seed meaning Abram’s offspring who would dwell in the land that was promised by God.
Chapter 16 contains the darkest blot in the life of Abram. It was a scheme to get the promised son, but only through their own fleshly and carnal efforts.
This sinful scheme still creates problems today. A good deal of the conflict in the Middle East is a result of the scheme which is recorded in this chapter.
With Abram agreeing to follow Sarai’s plan and sleep with her handmaiden, Hagar, thereby resulting in the birth of Ishmael, Hagar was one of those maid-servants whom the king of Egypt, among other gifts, had bestowed upon Abram. A human decision took the place of waiting on God.
There are thirteen years of silence between Ishmael’s birth and the events in the rest of this chapter. God knew that it would take time for Abram and Sarai to die to self so that His resurrection power might be displayed in their lives.
Only the grace of God could take two idol-worshipping heathens and make godly kings and queens out of them
God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, “father of multitudes,” and Sarai’s to Sarah “Princess”; their new names were in preparation for the new blessing about to enter their home.
When Adonai told Abraham that he would have a child with his wife, Sarah in their old age, Abraham’s laughter, in Chapter 17, was that of joyful faith; but when that same promise was reiterated to Sarah, in Chapter 18, her laughter was that of disbelief. “Isaac” means “laughter.”
God rejects Ishmael and establishes His covenant with Isaac and his seed; however, in grace, Adonai provides a special blessing for Ishmael.
In closing, we too have a choice in our lives to “go forth.” Do we go forth, down to Egypt, and live morally corrupt lives, or do we set forth for the promised land, keeping our hearts and minds focused, not on the kings of this world, like money, power or fame, but on the Sovereign of sovereigns, Adonai, and His Precious Son, our Messiah,
and the spiritual blessings of a life lived through the same faith that delivered the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah even in their very old age?