Today we’ve moved on in our journey through Genesis and begin the story of Abram or Abraham. Our colour for today is orange and our symbol of the covenant, the rainbow, is beginning. I’ve been asked if there is a reason for each colour and the answer is no there isn’t. I do however note in the popular childhood song (at least it was popular for me) that the colours are listed out in the order that we will see them – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But back to Abram. We hear very little about Abram before we get to meet him and his family at the beginning of Genesis 12. There are some verses that tell us about him at the end of chapter 11, but basically Genesis 12 onwards is Abram’s story.
It begins with God approaching Abram and covenanting with him that God will make of Abram a great nation, that God will bless him, make his name great and that Abram will be a blessing to all the families of the earth. For this to happen God sends Abram on a journey, along with his family and possessions, to the land of Canaan.
Now, to leave the land where you were born and to travel to a place that you know nothing about was not at all the normal practice of the time. Imagine the trust that Abram had in God, let alone the trust that God put in Abram to carry out God’s plan. Unlike Noah last week, the story does not contain the words “Abram walked with God”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for God choosing Abram, or tales that God and Abram already had some kind of existing relationship or connection.
And, just like Noah, we don’t hear any responses from Abram regarding this sending. Abram takes the action of packing up his belongings and family to embark on the journey, but we don’t hear the voice of Abram, at this stage anyway.
We are told that Abram stops from time to time and builds an alter to the Lord. These places become sacred to Abram and ultimately to the Israelite people.
I can’t help but think of the images we are seeing of the journey that the body of the Queen has been making over the past few days. Stopping every now and again to allow the people to mark this journey to her final resting place. Stopping at important and sacred places.
I also want us to explore what it means that God chose Abram without Abram having to prove himself or having a relationship with God. But we’ll do that on Sunday.