Today is the 3rd Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle: parashah (Torah portion) Lech Lecha / Go forth from, Gen 12:1-17:27. Read Genesis 12:1-17:27 at Bible Gateway.
This week’s Torah portion forms a chaistic structure. I have included the markings (s for stumah and p for p’tuchah) for the paragraph divisions (see the teaching tools of Scripture) so that it can be seen that the paragraph divisions often reveal the chiastic structure.
1A) Gen 12:1-9 p, Promise of land and descendants;
1B) Gen 12:10-13:13, Abram’s faith in the promise tested;
1C) Gen 13:14-18 p, Promise reaffirmed;
CENTRAL AXIS) Gen 14:1-24 s, Signs of Messiah: victory over death, Melchizedek, bread and wine;
2C) Gen 15:1-21 s, Promise reaffirmed by covenant;
2B) Gen 16:1-16 s, Abram’s faith in the promise tested;
2A) Gen 17:1-27 s+p, Promise of land and descendants, through Isaac.
When this parashah opens, God is not anyone’s God. He has been rejected as God and as Creator at Babel. The rebellion at Babel introduced paganism among men as a religion, to replace YHVH, the Creator God, as God. But when YHVH spoke to Abram, Abram listened to Him and obeyed Him. YHVH’s instruction was, “Separate yourself, and I will make a nation of you, so that in you I might bless all the families of the earth.” You mean, all those 70 families from Gen 10 that just rejected YHVH as God and turned to serve the creature rather than the Creator? Yes, all those families. The nation of Abram’s seed will have YHVH as their God (Gen 17:7), unlike every other nation on the face of the earth, and will be a blessing to all the other nations who have rejected God.
Where is the vengeful, wrathful, judgmental, angry God of the Old Testament? His plan is to bless those families that rejected Him, by making a way for them to return to Him, through the nation of Abram’s seed.