Read Genesis 12:1-9
The story begins here.
I know I’ve been calling it a story all along, and it is, but everything we’ve read so far has been the introduction: creation, two trees in a garden, sibling murder, awful flood, floating ark, Noah, and Babel – all of these have been preamble, explanation: context.
They’ve given us the background we need to understand the story.
Now we know that the story is a romance. It opened with a dance: God and his human creatures dancing in the fruit-filled garden; and everything was very good.
Then came the dragon, luring the humans away, tempting them with his poisonous fruit: “You will be like God”. The humans ate and the dance was ruined as everyone scattered to find more dragon fruit. It was not good, and it got worse: humans became obsessed with their cravings. Finally, God destroyed it all – well, nearly.
With an ark and a rainbow, he let grace in.
I said at the start that God is the whole reason for the story. Since this is true, since it is – ultimately – his story, what we need to ask as we read is: what’s he doing? What does he want?
He wants to restore the dance.
He wants the humans to love and trust him because he wants to lavishly love us back. That’s what he made us for. But we can’t. Sin has made us unable to love and trust him. It makes us want to compete with him instead.
Somehow, he needs to find a way to fix us, to cure us of our dragonish addictions.
The story is also an action-adventure. We humans are held hostage by the evil dragon and God, the hero, needs to set us free.
So here in Genesis 12 the rescue mission begins, he speaks to a man: Abram.
Before we go any further, let me say this: we don’t know everything God does – only what he tells us. We don’t know that Abram is the only person God spoke to, but he is the one whose story God uses. He is the one God wants us to learn from.
As you read about Abram, think of him as a kind of ‘every-person’. He is ‘the human’. He could be you, living your ordinary life in an ordinary world until God whispers your name.
In my words, this is what God says, ‘Abram, leave what you know and follow me. I will lavish good things on you, and through you I want to lavish good things on the whole world’ (12:1-3).
Can you hear it?
Come, Abram: dance with me.