Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (Genesis 11:27-32).

3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

Acts 7:2b The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. (Genesis 12).

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.


MEMORY VERSE: But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.—Isaiah 41:8


CENTRAL THOUGHT: The Lord God called Abram to leave his native country and idol- worshipping relatives and journey to a land promised to him. When Abram responded by believing and obeying Him, God appeared to him and promised to bless all nations through him and through his seed.



Joshua 24:2 and 3 “The other side of the flood”: beyond, or east, of the river Euphrates. “Nachor”: Nahor, Abram’s brother; the grandfather of Rebekah, who married Abram’s son, Isaac.

Acts 7:2 “Mesopotamia”: the region “between the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris…The name is Greek, and the region had also other names before the Greek name was given to it. In Genesis 11:31 and Genesis 15:7 it is called Ur of the Chaldees. Mesopotamia and Chaldea might not exactly coincide; but it is evident that Stephen meant to say that “Ur” was in the country afterward called Mesopotamia” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).

Acts 7:4 “Chaldeans”: referring to a country anciently situated on both sides of the Euphrates and extending to the Persian Gulf. Ur and Babylon were cities of Chaldea. “Charran”: Greek for “Haran.” “The city where Terah settled on his departure from Ur (Genesis 11:31); whence Abram set out on his pilgrimage of faith to Canaan (Genesis 12:1). It was probably “the city of Nahor” to which Abraham’s servant came to find a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:10). Hither came Jacob when he fled from Esau’s anger (Genesis 27:43). Here he met his bride (Genesis 29:4), and in the neighboring pastures he tended the flocks of Laban” (Bible Hub’s Encyclopedia). Haran was about 600 miles from Ur.

Genesis 12:1 “Now the Lord had said unto Abram”: or, Jehovah said. “There is great dissension between commentators concerning the call of Abram; some supposing he had two distinct calls, others that he had but one. At the conclusion of the preceding chapter, Genesis 11:31, we find Terah and all his family leaving Ur of the Chaldees, in order to go to Canaan. This was, no doubt, in consequence of some Divine admonition” (Clarke’s Commentary), as Stephen related in Acts 7:2. “While resting at Haran, on their road to Canaan, Terah died, (Genesis 11:32); and then God repeats his call to Abram, and orders him to proceed to Canaan” (Genesis 12:1). (Clarke’s Commentary).

Genesis 12:4 “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran”: “As Abram was now seventy-five years old, and his father Terah had just died, at the age of two hundred and five, consequently Terah must have been one hundred and thirty when Abram was born; and the seventieth year of his [Terah’s] age mentioned in Genesis 11:26, was the period at which Haran, not Abram, was born” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Genesis 12:5 “Souls”: household servants and their families; also, Jewish interpreters explain this to be proselytes—those they had converted to the worship of the one, true God.

Genesis 12:6 “Sichem”: Shechem. It was 400 miles from Haran to Shechem and 20 more miles to the place near Bethel, where he built an altar, in verse 8. “The plain of Moreh”: the oak, or lofty oak, of Moreh.

Genesis 12:8 “Called upon the name of the Lord”: “Dr. Shuckford strongly contends that kara beshem does not signify to call ON the name, but to invoke IN the name. Soקרא בשם .  Abram invoked Jehovah in or by the name of Jehovah, who had appeared to him. He was taught even in these early times to approach God through a Mediator; and that Mediator, since manifested in the flesh, was known by the name Jehovah. Does not our Lord allude to such a discovery as this when he says, ‘Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad’? (John 8:56). Hence it is evident that he was informed that the Christ should be born of his seed, that the nations of the world should be blessed through him; and is it then to be wondered at if he invoked God in the name of this great Mediator?” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Genesis 12:9 “The south”: the Negeb, the dry, parched, desert regions to the south of Judah; the scene of many of Abram’s wanderings.




Today we begin a brief study of Abraham, to be continued in the next lesson. It is impossible to cover every detail even in two lessons; I suggest the reader make it a rewarding personal study. The more I explored, the more I discovered, and my heart is just filled with awe at the divine truths revealed in the story of Abraham.

We are introduced to Abram, as his name was called in this part of his life, and his family in the last part of Genesis 11. The passages we quote from Joshua and from Stephen in the book of Acts shed light on the details of Abram’s cultural upbringing, his divine call, and his journey to Canaan. Stephen asserts that Abram was called of God before he ever went to Haran. Stopping there until his father died, he received a second call. That is detailed in Genesis 12. The verses from that chapter in our lesson today highlight God’s promise and call, Abram’s obedience, his age at the time, the appearances of God to him, and the altars he built all along the way. The last part of the chapter tells of Abram’s detour into Egypt during a time of drought, and his experiences there.

—Angela Gellenbeck



  1. Name an important and frequent action taken by Abram in every place he journeyed and upon every visitation by God.
  2. How did God initiate His part of the friendship with Abram?
  3. How did Abram respond in his part of the friendship with God?
  4. What promises did God give to Abram?
  5. When God spoke to Isaiah years later, what title did He give Abram (Abraham)?




Abram heard the call of God, and he believed and obeyed. That simple action made him a friend of God, Who still identified him by that name many years later. Hebrews 11 expounds upon Abram’s faith, letting us know that Abram obeyed “not knowing” where he was going. That’s pretty hard for a man to do! It meant something to God as well, and God continued His call in Abram’s life. He began to appear to Abram and talk with him personally, as a Friend.

The Hebrews writer also states that Abram looked for a city that had foundations, and whose builder and maker is God; confessed that he was a pilgrim and a stranger on this earth; and desired a heavenly city. Abram’s faith took in something beyond the physical; he began to see, with spiritual eyes, heavenly and spiritual realities.

Believing and obeying and then being granted spiritual vision just go together, don’t they? That’s what Christ had in mind when He called us to be His friends. He wants to share spiritual secrets with us, but we cannot see nor understand them unless we believe and obey Him as Abram did.

—Angela Gellenbeck




From the beginning of time the Creator has longed for an intimate relationship with His creature, man. He created man in His own image with a spiritual endowment that would make such a relationship possible. Although Satan, through subtlety, marred that relationship between God and man in the Garden, there were a few through the ages, like Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and David who aspired to have an intimate friendship with God. Through the blood of Christ, we today have free access to a relationship with God wherein we “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (See Hebrews 10:19-22.)

Think about the following words written 143 years ago by another man who was a close friend of God: “God is daily giving me more of His great fullness and conforming me more and more to His glorious image. This is because I am earnestly endeavoring to consecrate more perfectly every moment of my time to Him and because I spend more time with God alone in the closet. I have on several occasions besought God to conform me more perfectly to His nature and, without any particular emotions that might indicate the answer, I claimed the desire of my heart and, by faith, thanked Father that He had granted my petitions. To the glory of God I can say that, as I went on my way, I found from hour to hour that, as my faith was, so was it meted out to me. Oh, how sweet it is to go to our heavenly Father for all our heart’s and soul’s need, and in the name of Jesus ask for it, rejoicing that we know we have the desire of our heart! Surely, ‘happy are the people that are in such a case; yea, happy are the people whose God is the Lord.’”—D. S. Warner, April 3, 1878

May we all seek a closer friendship with the Friend of friends.

Harlan Sorrell