Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. – Genesis 12:1-9 (ESV)
Tremper Longman writes:
[Today’s passage] emphasizes Abram’s obedience to the divine command to come to Canaan and also describes Abram’s intention to live in God’s presence. The latter is signaled by the repeated emphasis on Abram building an altar and calling on God’s name.
Abram’s journey of faith starts out on a good footing. He obeys and maintains close fellowship with God. As we think of our own journey of faith, we can learn from this phase of Abram’s life to maintain a relationship with God characterized by continual prayer (1 Thess 5:17).
As we think about our relationship with God, we are struck by the tremendous impact that Christ’s work and the Holy Spirit’s presence makes in our lives with God. As I said above, after the rebellion, sin created a barrier that did not let humans come naturally into the presence of God. This intimate fellowship could only happen at a designated holy place accompanied by a tabernacle and then when the people are once and for all settled in the land the tabernacle is replaced by the temple.
Christians, on the other hand, do not need to go to a holy place to have intimate communion with God. Jesus came and “dwelt [the Greek word could be translated “tabernacled”] among us” (John 1:14). At his death, the veil of the temple separating the holy from the common rips apart signaling the eruption of holiness throughout the world. The Holy Spirit now dwells in us so we individually are corporately the temple of God (2 Cor 6:16).
What an encouragement to constant and intimate fellowship with God. Like Abram, we too should “call on the name of God.”
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 96
Q. 96. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.