In our study of Genesis chapter twelve, we will look at the struggles of Abraham. The man is known for his great faith but he was also a man and had struggles in his walk with God just as we do.
"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.'" NIV translation
We remember from chapter 11 that Abram's father (Terah) had been inspired by God to leave Ur of the Chaldeans (southern Iraq) and go to Canaan. He stopped on the way at Haran and lived the rest of his life there. God called Abram to continue on to Canaan.
"'I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'" NIV translation
God's call on Abram's life was followed by three promises and we are reminded that the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will.
The first promise is that he would be a great nation and that was fulfilled when he was given the land of Canaan.
The second promise was that his name would be great and that has been fulfilled as Jews as well as Christians refer to Abraham as the father of the faith. The third promise, that everyone on earth would be blessed through him, was fulfilled at the coming of Jesus Christ to die for our sins. The word "blessed" here refers to "worry free" and Jesus was from the line of Abram. All peoples on the earth can be "worry free" if they accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
"So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there." NIV translation
Now, we see a problem as it was good that Abram obeyed and left for Canaan but he was disobedient in taking his father's household. The word household here refers to the people and things that were a part of his father's house. Abram was told to leave them but he did not.
We might ask ourselves why God would tell Abram to leave his father's household behind. The answer is simply that God was calling him to the land of His provision and He did not want Abram mixing the things from his family's work with His provision. God wanted a clear distinction between the works of man and the work of God.
This same struggle has faced God's people since the time of Paul and continues even today. During Paul's journeys, there were always religious people trying to add works to the grace of God for salvation. The same thing is true today as many embrace Jesus as sufficient for our salvation but add rituals and laws. We can come to God because of the work of Jesus and we do not have anything to add to that.