Genesis week 4 – Abram and the Nations

Thank you for reading Genesis with us! Here are the readings for this week:

Genesis 11:27-16:16
o  11:27-12:20 – Call of Abram
o  13 – Separation from Lot
o  14 – The Rescue of Lot
o  15 – The Covenant
o  16 – Abram and Hagar

Main Topic – Abram and the Nations

If Genesis 1-11 is the cosmic story of God and humankind, then Genesis 12 marks a turning point and the story narrows in focus to the story of God in relationship with one man, Abram. Abram will eventually become a family and then a nation, whose mission it is to be a blessing to all the nations and peoples of the earth. Our story this week opens with God calling Abram, giving him instructions, and making big promises. Sometimes Abram has great faith. Sometimes he struggles and makes poor decisions. As we watch Abram’s life unfold, consider how our personal faith journeys often have similar highs and lows.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. Calling and Promises, Time in Egypt (Gen 12) – How does God promise to bless Abram? What does God ask of Abram? How does Abram respond? What challenges, costs, emotions might have been involved for Abram? What decisions does Abram make in Egypt? What does this reveal about his faith? How does God intervene to ensure His promises are fulfilled?

2.    Abram and Lot (Gen 13-14) – What decisions does Abram make regarding Lot? What does this reveal about his faith? How does the Lord affirm Abram’s faith and His promises again?

3.    Abram and Covenant (Gen 15) – How is Abram’s faith as chapter 15 opens? How does the Lord affirm his promises? Consider how Abram’s response of faith in 15:6 is celebrated in Romans 4:1-25 and Galatians 3:1-9. Finally, what do you know about this strange covenant ceremony?

4.    Abram and Hagar (Gen 16) – Abram’s remarkable encounter with God has not cured his faith struggles. What happens with Hagar, and what are the consequences?

5. Personal Reflection – Look back over Genesis 12-16. How does Abram’s unstable faith remind you of your own journey? How do these chapters show God’s commitment to His promises in spite of human failures?

Also, check out The Bible Project video on Genesis 12-50 below.


Hagar – a young, gentile girl, far from her homeland, with no rights and no identity other than that as Sarah’s maid.  Hagar – who obediently bore Abraham’s first child, whether she wanted to or not.  Hagar – with few choices, except her attitude (and she did not choose well).  Hagar – mistreated, frightened, alone, and pregnant.

She flees into the wilderness and God finds her there.  She gives God a name – El Roi, “The God who sees”.  She is amazed that the God of the universe cares about her.  She is so changed by this encounter that she obeys the difficult command “Go back to your master.”

“I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

 Approximately 15 years later she flees into the wilderness again.  Again she despairs for her life and the life of her son.  Again God sees her, provides for her, and offers her promises for the future.

“Before they call I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear.” Isa 65:24

What a wonderful picture we have of El Roi – the God who sees us!  The God who knows all our troubles and needs.  The God who has a plan for our lives, plans for good and not harm.   

“The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”  2 Chron 16:9