Parsha: Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1 – 17:27)
Lech L’cha (“Go forth!”) Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
The Torah portion this morning is entitled Lech L’cha (“Go forth!”) and spans Genesis 12 through 17. Let me invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis 12. If any of you are 75 years or older, I want you to know that Lech L’cha is for you. If any of you had to leave friends, family or familiar trappings behind in order to become a follower of Yeshua, I want you to know that Lech L’cha is for you. If you are curious to know what it takes to get to Heaven, I want you to know that Lech L’cha is for you. The focus of these pivotal chapters is Abraham. Actually, his name was originally Avram (Abram). Avram is introduced quite abruptly, and with very little background info given. What we do know is that God chose him. Genesis does not tell us outright why God chose Avram, but the answer is revealed through Avram’s actions, and his interaction with God. Whenever God spoke, Avram listened; and whenever God commanded, Avram complied.
I’ll be brief today. I’d like to do something a little different. Rather than attempt to summarize all that these chapters entail, I’d like us instead to focus on just the first four verses of Genesis 12.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing;and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Abraham is the quintessential example of what it means to walk with God. I believe the Scriptures bear this out. Those who hope to one day see God should pay careful attention to this man and the conduct of his life! At seventy-five years of age this man was invited to follow God to parts unknown, and he accepted. Adonai told Avram to leave his country, his relatives (including his father, Terah) and all that was familiar. He was not given a map, he didn’t receive a copy of the Moody Atlas of Bible Lands; he didn’t have a shiny new GPS system mounted on his donkey. He wasn’t even told his destination! But Avram set out with his wife Sarai and their orphaned nephew, Lot, in obedience to God.
If you pay attention to the chronology in these chapters, Terah lived another sixty years after Avram departed from Haran to follow God. The Lord summoned Avram to leave his land and his family while his father was alive! What a difficult calling and a decision to leave one’s father! It is not as though Avram could drive out on weekends to visit his father. This was the ancient world; his leaving was forever!
It helps us appreciate more fully an encounter Yeshua had with a certain would-be disciple, whom He invited to follow Him. The man said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” That didn’t mean his father had just died. For that matter it didn’t even mean that his father was ill. It was a figure of speech used in the ancient world to mean a person wanted to wait until their parents passed away before taking an action. That could be years! Yeshua said to the man, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead…” And He went on to say, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God…” another figure of speech, but with clear implications.
To become a disciple of Messiah Yeshua means following in the footsteps of Abraham.
- It isn’t a decision you make lightly.
- It isn’t a decision you can make conveniently.
- It isn’t a decision you can put off for another time.
When you are summoned to follow, you need to comply. You may very well not be given a second invitation. You know, there’s a reason why Abraham has been revered by godly believers for generations. There’s a reason why God made a wondrous, blessed covenant with Abraham, promising him a land and a people and an enduring legacy leading all the way to the Messiah. There’s a reason he is cited as an example of faith in Romans 4 and again in Hebrews 11. And there’s a reason why we don’t even know the name of the reluctant disciple who tried to bargain with Yeshua for more time.
Is yours the kind of faith Abraham had?
Note: Each Torah portion is named from the first word or first few words of the portion of scripture. This portion is called Lech Lecha. Other transliterations: Lech-Lecha, Lekh-Lekha, or Lech-L’cha