After thousands of years of human sinfulness and failure, now we see the Lord beginning to set in motion his promise way back in 3:15. His “solution” of destroying most of humanity in judgment didn’t really work because it didn’t get to the root of the problem: our sinful nature. Punishment alone doesn’t change a rebel into a child of God, so the Lord must do something radically different. Through this one man, namely Abram (aka Abraham), he plans to redeem humanity out of our sorry condition.
You might not be that familiar with the word “covenant,” so here’s a simple definition: it’s a formal and binding agreement between two parties. The closest modern equivalent would be a contract. This passage sets out what is called the “Abrahamic” covenant, but it's missing at least one element. Usually a covenant has obligations on both parties (Party A does this, and Party B does that), but there aren’t any listed here for Abram, except for leaving his country behind. God, on his own initiative, calls Abram out of his old life to a new one of long travels and uncertainty. The Lord then gives some glorious promises, at least four of which can be separated out in this passage. He promises him lots of descendants (“I will make you into a great nation”), a great name, protection (blessings on those who bless you and curses on those who curse you), and finally that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
Once again, God’s calling might have sounded crazy when considering what obedience would entail. Abram is called specifically to abandon his country and his father’s family and not only go to a country he's never seen, but not even knowing where he was going. Most of his family, all of his friends, all of his security and the only life he's ever known must be left behind. No wonder he's called “the father of all who believe." He's our spiritual ancestor, and we're his heirs by following in his faith. And by becoming his heirs, we share in his blessing.
Lord, whatever you want me to do, wherever you want me to go, whoever you want me to serve, the answer’s “Yes.”