Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Call of Abraham
Genesis 12:1-9 Commentary
by Jacqueline E. Lapsley
Having made the world and seen it succumb to violence and sin in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, in Genesis 12 God suddenly zeroes in on one couple -- Sarah and Abraham.
We are no longer looking at the huge canvas of the whole world, but at a tiny corner of it. Calling him to leave all that he knows for an unknown land, God makes three big promises to Abraham whom God has chosen: descendants, land, and blessing. This is the first of many times in the Bible that we hear of God’s election of Israel, God’s choosing Israel in a way unlike other nations.
God chooses one nation among all the others to have a distinct relationship -- that is what election means. But wait a second: Isn’t that like parents preferring one child over the others? If you think about it, it is a bit chilling. How are we to understand God’s choice of Abraham, and so Israel? Is it really as exclusionary as it sounds? Christian tradition affirms that God’s election of Israel is for a purpose, that is, God chooses Israel in order to bring blessing to the whole world: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Part of that third promise ...
| Bible Text
Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 140: Call of Abraham
September 14, 2014
Join Profs. Cameron Howard, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 1 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the reading for Sept. 14, 2014: Genesis 12:1-9. Accompanying reading: Matthew 28:19-20.