Genesis Chapter 12
God said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3) This is the beginning of Israel! This is the beginning of God's particular covenant with an elect people.
Abram obeyed God, and when he went he took Sarai and his nephew Lot with him and set out for Canaan (he was 75). When they arrived he passed through Shechem to the oak of Moreh and God said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” (Gen. 12:7). Here Abram built an altar to the LORD. Then he moved to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built another altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the LORD. Then he journeyed toward the Negeb.
A famine came upon the land, so he went to Egypt to sojourn there. He thought the Egyptians would kill him because Sarai was beautiful, so he told her to say she was his sister so that they’d live and it would go well with them. Sure enough they thought she was beautiful and she was taken into Pharoah’s house. Abram then became wealthy with many resources. The LORD afflicted Pharoah though with plagues because of Sarai. Somehow, because of the plagues, Pharoah knew she was Abram’s wife, so he called Abram and asked him why he did this. Pharoah then gave her back to Abram and ordered his men to send them away with all their possessions.
This is the fourth covenant we see God making so far in Scripture. It's often called the Abrahamic covenant. In this chapter we see God’s great blessing of choosing a nation through Abram, yet we see the sinfulness of Abram seeking to deceive mankind for his benefit or at least his self-preservation. It’s as if Abram is seeking to live to fulfill the promise that God made to him by himself, “Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.” (Gen. 12:12) In the process of seeking to fulfill God’s promise through his means he sins against God, his wife Sarai, and Pharoah. God is fulfilling His promise, however, to make Abram a great nation and sustains him even when his intentions are found out. Further, in the process Abram amasses resources and wealth and then is sent away with all of this. God is working even through sinful intentions to fulfill his promise to make him a great nation.