Studies in Torah

Parashat Lech Lecha (לך לך): Genesis 12:1-17:27

camels in Beersheba (Cultural Images of the Holy Land)
Camels in Beersheba (Cultural Images of the Holy Land)
Apostle Paul called Abraham the “father of us all,” those born in Israel and those who have faith like his (Rom. 4:16). In this week’s Torah passage, לֶךְ-לְךָ Lech Lecha (“go forth,” Genesis 12:1-17:27), we see Abraham’s first move of faith in leaving his homeland for some unknown destination Heaven was leading him toward. His response is an inspiration to us all.

The traditional complementary Prophets reading for Lech Lecha is Isaiah 40:27-41:16.

Companion readings from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from MessianicJudaism.net (also has through-the-Bible readings for prophets and B’rit Chadashah) and First Fruits of Zion:

  • Acts 7:1-8; Romans 3:19 – 5:6; Galatians 3:15-18, 5:1-6; Colossians 2:11-15; Hebrews 7:1-19, 11:8-12 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Romans 4:1-25 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)
  • Matthew 1:1-17 (First Fruits of Zion)

The following are notes and recordings of studies by Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard  on Lech Lecha:

Genesis 12–13

Abram fakes out Pharaoh over Sarai; Abram divvies Promised Land with Lot

The seemingly strange account of Abram and Sarai faking out Pharaoh is a microcosm of the later Exodus account. Abram and the descendants of Israel initially were welcomed and exalted, but then they were seen as a curse and told to leave, sent away with many gifts and riches.

First promise to Abram

In Genesis 12 we hear God’s great command to Abram “go forth from your country” to establish God’s ambassadorial nation, Israel. We also see the great man of faith, Abram, needed to mature in his faith, as we do.

‘Righteous’ Lot chooses to live near Sodom

Many have faulted Lot for choosing the good land on the plains near what later became known as the condemned city of Sodom, yet he really was “veiled righteousness” on display in the city. Abram’s choice of places to settle also had lasting consequences.

Genesis 14

Abram’s only war & meeting with Melchizedek

Abram wasn’t a man of war, but he fought a relatively major war for the time to rescue Lot. Afterward, he met the mysterious Melchizedek, who is mentioned in eternal terms in Psalms and the Apostolic letter to the Hebrews. Who is that man?

Abram goes to war to rescue Lot, cities of the plain

If we consider ourselves his “children” by having similar trust in God, we should follow his way. Lot chose the easy way, but that was not Abram’s way. Why did Abram go to war? Who are these kings? What is the story behind the story? Does God have anything to do with this?

Genesis 15

Abram’s strange vision of animals cut in half & God as an oven & torch

An important part of the everlasting, single-side, faith-based contract God made with Abram involved this strange and graphic “vision” of animals cut in pieces, scavengers, darkness and God appearing as a smoking oven and a torch. Many scholars explain this away as a common form of ancient deal-making.

God cuts a covenant with Abram

The mysterious covenant God enters while Abram sleeps is prefigures a time when Israel was captive in Egypt yet not consumed by it.

What is a ‘vision’?

Some claim they’ve had “a vision from the LORD,” telling them a new teaching or to do this or that. However, in the Bible a vision accompanies “words of the LORD.” In other words, God speaks then He shows — gives “vision” — to understand what He has said.

Genesis 16

Hagar and the divine destiny for Ishmael

This chapter is our introduction to Hagar, Sarai’s Egyptian maidservant. We see how Hagar was exalted and then brought down. When Hagar fled and was at her lowest point, we discover God had His eyes on Hagar and had a purpose for her and her unborn son.

Hagar gives birth to Ishmael for Abram; Hagar flees Sarai

People find it easy to criticize Sarai and Abram for their impatience in waiting for the son God promised them, but our insight is simply nothing more than hindsight. We aren’t any smarter or more faithful to God than they were.

Apostle Paul used as illustrations the two women, Sarai and Hagar, and the covenants God made with their sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Once you transgress a covenant, you have no hope, unless Someone better than you steps in with a second, better covenant.

Genesis 17

‘Destroyer God’ cuts the deal with Abraham deeper with circumcision

Circumcision has been a misunderstood “sign” of the deal El Shaddai, literally God Who Has the Power to Destroy Anything, “cut” with Abraham to create a great people and bless the world, ultimately seen in Messiah Yeshua. Can anyone become “blameless” before God?

God renames Abram and Sarai, gives covenant of circumcision

Abraham obeyed God and had himself and all the men in his household circumcised and they all agreed to do it, including Ishmael. In the flesh, there’s no reason for circumcision, but if you believe in God, there’s every reason for it. Actively trusting God’s words — called “faith” and “belief” — is what makes one righteous.

What do you think about this?