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Lech L’Cha לֶךְ-לְךָ

“Go Forth, Yourself!”

Torah: Genesis 12:1–17:27
PROPHETS: Isaiah 40:27–41:16
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Romans 4:1–25

These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.


SUNDAY

Torah 1 and 2

Torah 1: 
Foundational Promises for Worldwide Redemption
Genesis 12:1–13

Genesis 1:1–2:3 recorded “Creation” from a macrocosmic perspective (creating heaven and earth) which was followed by the microcosmic perspective of creation (creating male and female) in 2:4–24. In a similar way, chapters one through eleven of Genesis record “Redemption” from a macrocosmic perspective (preparing the nations) which is followed now in 12:1 beginning the microcosmic perspective of redeeming these nations (by choosing one household through which all households will be blessed).

12:1–3
God initiates the relationship with Abram. How much of God’s initiating speech in vv. 1–3 contains instructions for Abram to obey? How much of this same speech contains promises for him to believe? These promises will be what Abram will hope for as he faces the inevitable challenges and trials he’ll encounter while obeying the instructions in vv. 2–3. Being assured of this hope is the definition of faith according to the writer of the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:1).

12:4–5
Because Abram believes God and trusts in His promises, Abram obeys and goes forth!

12:6
Though the book of Genesis was written many generations after the recorded events, notice the comment about the Canaanites in the land and how this continues to set the context for a conflict that has still not yet ended to this day (cf. 9:18–27, 10:15–19, and Zechariah 14:21).

12:7–9
Abram’s walk of faith is filled with God’s periodic visitations to reiterate and confirm His promises. What promise do you see in God’s speech to Abram in v. 7? How does this promise relate to God’s earlier promises in vv. 2–3? Abram heard God make these promises to him. Consider how this affected Abram in his circumstances. Consider how God’s manifold promises affect you. By opening the eyes of faith to read God’s promises in the Bible, God’s Spirit can open your ears to hear His voice speak to you today! Find one promise in the Scriptures and meditate upon it to stir up your assurance of this hope that He will indeed bring it to pass for His great Name’s sake!

12:10–13
While journeying through this new land, famine causes Abram to makes plans for an Egyptian detour. 


Torah 2:
Building Foundational Faith In Egypt

Genesis 12:14–13:4

12:14–20
Surprisingly, this Egyptian detour brings much wealth. You can trace this pattern of God leading other patriarchal figures on a similar journey into Egypt and then back in the Promised Land. For example, Jacob’s detour (46:3–4) and return with wealth (Exodus 12:35–36); Joseph’s detour (Genesis 37:28) and return with wealth (41:41–43); and even the Master Himself was led on an Egyptian detour (Matthew 2:13–14) with an eventual roundtrip back into Israel (Matthew 2:19–21). Why do you think that Yeshua did not receive material riches in Egypt?

13:1–4
Abram’s roundtrip brings him literally back to “home base” to the exact spot he had worshipped God previously (cf. 12:8). Consider Abram’s beginning “steps” in his faith walk. Can you see God literally shaping the content of Abram’s hope and building up a faith that would be foundational to the rest of humanity’s access back to Eden-like intimacy with God!


Application

What circumstances in your life challenge your faith? How can God’s promises provide you a “weapon” with which to battle this destructive doubt?


MONDAY

Torah 3 and 4

Torah 3: 
Lot Departs 

Genesis 13:5–18

13:5–7
Tensions arise in Abram’s household. What might you have done to resolve this conflict?

13:8–13
How do you think Abram arrived at his proposed solution? Seeking his own interests, Lot goes east to the Jordan valley.

13:14–18
Seeking His own glory, God shows up again and reaffirms His promises to Abram for the blessings of land and seed (“seed” = descendants). 
 

Torah 4:
God Delivers

Genesis 14:1–20

14:1–12
An ancient CNN report might have gone something like this: “In top international news, the rouge empire, often referred to as “a Mid-East Quartet,” headed by Amraphel, king of the once united but now dispersed Babylon (“land of Shinar” cf. 11:2), recently squashed a five nation rebellion and punished the rebels by taking some of their population into exile as prisoners of war.” Abram’s nephew, Lot (cf. 11:27), is among these POWs. Abram’s integrity as a “family man” and his bravery as a “faith man” compels him to lead a rescue mission even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

14:13–16
Like the book of Esther, God’s Name is not explicitly mentioned, but His intervening Presence is evident when 318 men defeat the armies of four nations!

14:17–20
Abram’s faith walk brings him home victoriously to receive a blessing from Adonai’s unique representative (vv. 17–20a). Knowing from Whom his victory comes, Abram gives a tenth of his possessions to God’s representative (v. 20b).


application

Remembering from Whom your victory comes, consider what you identify as qualifying “victory” in your life. Do those things center around you and your comfort or God and His glory? What does it mean for you to seek victory in heavenly terms? (cf. Matthew 6:19–20 and 33).


TUESDAY

torah 5 and 6

Torah 5: 
The Substance of Saving Faith 

Genesis 14:21–15:6

14:21–15:1
Wanting God to get all the glory as his Provider, Abram rejects earthly rewards (14:21-24) and thus receives heavenly ones (15:1; in the Hebrew, the subject “I” stands parallel to and qualifies two predicates: “shield” and “reward”, in other words, God Himself is the reward. Compare this reward for Abram with the priestly inheritance of Levites under the Mosaic covenant [Deut.10:9] and the same priestly inheritance of believers under the “(re)new(ed)” covenant [1 Peter 2:5 and 9]).

15:2–3
Though Abram trusts God, he doesn’t always understand His ways.

15:4–5
For Abram’s benefit, as well as ours, God clarifies one aspect of His seed promise.

15:6
God’s response to Abram’s trust/faith/belief in Him and His promises stand as the model of what God is after in each of us (cf. Romans 4). Are you convinced that God can and will make good on His promises to you?   

Torah 6: 
Covenant Promises
 
Genesis 15:7–17:6

15:7–21
God reaffirms His land promise in a uniquely “one-sided” covenant ceremony.

16:1–6, 15–16
With questionable judgment, Abram attempts to fulfill God’s seed promise.

16:7–14
This results in God making promises to another Abrahamic genealogical line. What light can v. 12 shed light on current Middle Eastern events today?

17:1–6
Despite the fact that Abram is a year away from his 100th birthday and has a 13-year-old son, God reaffirms His Covenant of Promise through a genealogical line still yet to be established. Abram walked with God for many years without seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises. Abram’s faith, however, remained steadfast (cf. Hebrews 11:8–16).


application

Do God’s promises to you seem unfulfilled? Take heart and remember that you are in good company with father Abraham! As you walk with God today, keep the faith and exercise that faith by trusting in God’s character and enjoying His fellowship with you through worshipful obedience each moment.


WEDNESDaY

torah 7 and
conclusion

torah 7:
Covenant Relationship 

Genesis 17:7–27

17:7–8
What are the two covenantal promises that God reaffirms to Abram in 17:7–8?

17:9–14
What is the one covenantal obligation in vv. 9–14 that also serves as the “sign” of the covenant? (cf. Elizabeth and Zechariah’s faith walk in Luke 1:59 and Mary & Joseph’s in Luke 2:21). Notice especially in v. 12 that God’s instructions create an “inter-national household of faith” (Jews and Gentiles) united in faithfulness to the covenant keeping God of Israel. In what ways is the “Body of Messiah” similar to Abraham’s “household?”

17:15–21
God further clarifies some of the details surrounding His plans to redeem all the nations by covenantally setting apart one specific physical genealogical line. When God emphasizes the spiritual “genealogical line” of faith in Galatians 3:29, what happens to the covenant with the physical genealogical line?

17:22–27
Abraham, as the household “head,” must have been trusted by the members of his house in order for them to submit themselves to such a painful step of covenant faithfulness.


Conclusion:
An International Household
 
Genesis 17:24–27


Application

What have been some of the more “painful” steps of faith you’ve taken for God? How has He used those steps to grow you? Has this growth brought more attention on your own suffering or more glory to God through this growth process? Fix your eyes of the hope of glory and any step you take, no matter how seemingly painful or pleasant, will bring about your own good and further the spread of God’s glory!


THURSDAY

PROPHETS

Prophets:
Stronger Than Nations

Isaiah 40:27–41:16

Isaiah lived and preached during times of exile and despair. His ears were probably filled with people questioning whether God’s promises to them through Abraham for land, seed, and worldwide blessing were actually true! What the people don’t understand is that in their faithlessness, God will always remain faithful. Though they are suffering the consequences of covenant disobedience, God will soon use Cyrus, the king of Persia, as an instrument of His faithfulness by destroying Israel’s enemies and ending Israel’s exile (cf. 41:2–3 and 45:1–2; see also the very end of 2 Chronicles and the very beginning of Ezra).


Application

What difference would it make to really believe God’s promise in 40:29–31? How can you apply this promise today in your own growing “walk of faith?”


FRIDAY

Apostolic Writings

Apostolic Writings:
A Heavenly Inheritance

Romans 4:1–25

This scripture portion is really an extended drash (teaching, reflection) on Genesis 15:6 and the primacy of faith (“trusting” or “believing” God). While this all-important “anchor” of faith is primary, if it does not control the “ship” of behavior than maybe the faith is not genuine (cf. James 2:17). Another way of saying it might be: if the “root” of your faith does not produce the “fruit” of your obedience than maybe your “tree of life” is still dead.


application

Meditate on v. 25 and impress upon your heart what God has done for you. What would it mean for you to apply v. 24 by believing all that is implied in v. 25? “Go forth, yourself…and walk in faith!” 


SATURDAY

Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.