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Lech L'kha (Go to Yourself) Genesis 12-17

Torah Portion: Lekh L’kha (Go to Yourself) Genesis 12-17

HafTorah: Isaiah 4o:27-41:16

This week we read about the call of Abraham. This Parasha has been pivotal in my own life for over 40 years. I can truly say it started my journey to Israel.

Tonight I want us to look at these verses and let G-d apply them to your own life and situation. I want us to be open to what the Father says to us in the next few minutes. I believe He has more for us than we have ever imagined.

 

Let us start with Genesis 12:1 where we read G-d tells Abraham to “Go to yourself.” What could this mean to this man and to us? What does it mean to “go to yourself?” I think G-d was saying to Abraham there is more. Become who I created you to be. I have a plan for your life. It may be far different than anything you have ever dreamed. Think about it. Abraham lived in a society where no one had any idea about G-d. He lived in a world of idol worshipers, a world where the weak were at the mercy of the powerful. G-d came to Abraham and said leave all this behind. Leave your land. What can happen to us when we are connected with the prevailing society? The pull is to assimilate and become part of the culture – even those things that are completely opposed to G-d – to blend in. So G-d tells Abraham he must separate himself from his land, his birthplace. Our social setting, may be our friends and neighbors – how do we handle the influence of our social setting? Does it influence us for good or for bad? G-d told Abraham to be what I have called you to be. You must move away from what has always held sway over you – your birthplace. Then lastly G-d tells Abraham to leave what he may hold dearest – his family. Our families of origin have a very powerful hold on us. They touch us in our deepest parts. They mold us far more than we can imagine. For Abraham to step into what G-d had for him meant he must put    G-d above everything else – above national identity, above friends and neighbors and even above his family. In Matt. 8:21-22 we read where Yeshua says the same to his disciples. G-d must come first. This is what G-d is asking of Abraham. What was Abraham’s response?

In verse 4 it says he departed, no argument, no excuses. He left immediately. G-d expects us to move when He speaks. We cannot say, “Well as soon as I get everything in place.” What happens – we never get everything in place and we miss what G-d had for us. When we follow G-d does it mean we will not have any problems and life will be easy as long as we are obedient to Him? Look at what happens to Abraham. In verse 10, right after Abraham arrives in the Land and G-d shows him what will be his – a famine is in the land. So here is a man who was absolutely obedient to what G-d asked and he has to endure a famine in the land. One of my questions asked to what can we compare a physical famine to spiritually? Usually when we follow G-d it involves change, new challenges, things that test our resolve. Maybe we don’t feel as connected as we did. We don’t feel the presence of G-d as strongly as we did when He called us. We may feel as if we are in Egypt, the name meaning a constricted place, a tight place. This is where our faith is put to the test. This is where our faith can grow or falter. This is the time when we hold on to the truth that the G-d who called us is still with us and still loves us. He is still there. He is giving us the opportunity to strengthen our spiritual muscles. He is our Helper and provider.

So how does Abraham make this transition from a godless society to be a follower of the only G-d? I asked you also to see if you could come up with the meaning of “ivre” found in Genesis 14:13. What does “ivre” mean literally? It means to cross over, to be “other.” All the world was on one side and Abraham was on the other side. He did what he knew was right. It can be lonely, yet G-d expects us to carry on if it is just us. The majority is not always right. So it is with us. G-d expects us to do and be what He has called us to be. He expects us to be “other.”