For this reason, Abram became the first person to be called an Ivri—the one who crossed over. This word comes from the Hebrew verb la’avor (to cross over) and is transliterated into English simply as a Hebrew.
Lech Lecha, therefore, is one of the most exciting chapters in the Torah, since it chronicles the adventures of the first Hebrew with God.
May we, too, come to this life-altering place where we “cross over” into a new, exciting adventure in our life with Him.
Lech Lecha: Finding Ourselves and Hearing the Call
The Zohar, an ancient book of Jewish mysticism, interprets the opening words of this Parasha, Lech Lecha, as go to yourself.
Lech means go and lecha means to you.
Therefore, according to Jewish metaphysical thinking, the first crucial step in life is to go within—to our own inner self—to discover who God has called us to be, to discover our higher mission in life.
Once we come to a realization of our God-given destiny, when we hear that Divine call of lech lecha (go forth), then our outward journey may begin with purpose and courage.
Abraham Wins the War of the Kings
“And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.” (Genesis 13:7)
In chapter 13 of Genesis, Abram and his nephew Lot have become quite wealthy. Their herds are so large that the land cannot support all of them. (Genesis 13:6)
Consequently, strife breaks out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. Instead of diffusing the situation, they decide to part ways.
Perhaps, we see a hint of the underlying source of strife in the choice that Lot makes.
When Abram offers him first choice of the area, Lot chooses the best for himself, instead of insisting that his uncle, who has treated him much like a son, take the best.
Lot chooses the green, fertile plains of the Jordan near Sodom and Gomorrah and Abram moves on to the plains of Mamre (Hebron).
“And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.” (Genesis 13:10–11)
Although the grass may be greener on the other side of the hill, that fact does not mean it is better, nor does it mean we should go there.
Soon after parting company, Lot needs Abram’s aid when four powerful kings capture all of Sodom, including Lot. Abram rounds up a small army of 318 men and frees the captives:
“And he [Abram] and his servants deployed against them at night and struck them; he pursued them as far as Hobah, which is to the north of Damascus. And he brought back all the possessions; he also brought back his kinsman, Lot, with his possessions, as well as the women and the people.” (Genesis 14:15–16)
Not only did Abram reveal military prowess and valor in the War of the Kings, he also showed great self-sacrifice and kindness toward his nephew Lot. With a very small army, vastly outnumbered by the four kings and their armies, Abram risked his own life to save his nephew’s.
Such valor was recently demonstrated by our Israeli Defensive Forces (IDF) soldiers who went into the terrorist stronghold of Gaza to find and destroy over 30 tunnels that had been constructed for the purpose of kidnapping and murdering Jewish Israelis.
Here in Israel, we are all mishpacha (family); therefore, just as with Abram, the IDF soldiers did not allow themselves to fear the possible consequences of entering into battle, but protected the collective Israeli family at the risk of their own lives.
Let us pray that the leaders of Israel will be strong and of good courage, sincerely seeking God, as the end-time threat of annihilation plays out against this nation.
The Destiny of Abraham—Eternal Salvation
Parasha Lech Lecha spans Abram’s life from the age of 75 to 99.
That means he lived most of his life without really knowing his destiny—not until God revealed it to him through a covenant that led to a name change. And Abraham waited a long time before he began to see its fulfillment through a son named Isaac.
In this Parasha, God tells him, “No longer shall your name be called Abram [אַבְרָם] but your name shall be Abraham [אַבְרָהָם]; for I have made you a father of many nations [or Gentiles—אַב-הֲמוֹן גּוֹיִם].” (Genesis 17:5)
With the addition of only one Hebrew letter—the letter hey (ה)—Abram (exalted father) became Abraham—exalted father of a multitude of nations.
The letter ה is often used as an abbreviation for the name of God and is found twice in God’s personal name. So by adding this letter to Abram’s name, God added Himself as Abba Father to Abraham’s nature, character and destiny.
By adding the letter hey to Abraham’s wife’s name, it changed from Sarai (My Princess) to Sarah (Princess of the whole world).
For this reason, it is traditionally believed that a change of name can change one’s destiny.
God did not only promise Abraham the land of Israel, but also that he would be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:2; 18:18; 22:17–18; 26:3–4).
Today, there are countless ways in which God fulfills this promise to Abraham through the nation of Israel. Israel’s technological, agricultural, and medical innovations and advances are helping people around the globe.
But the most meaningful fulfillment of this promise is the Word of God that the Jewish People have faithfully protected and brought to the world, as well as eternal salvation through faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah):
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Yeshua the Messiah from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
“And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” (1 Peter 1:3–5)
God’s destiny for Abraham to become the father of a multitude of nations (even Gentile nations) is fulfilled in a significant way through Yeshua, who is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 1:2).
Anyone from any tribe, tongue, or nationality who declares faith in Yeshua becomes an heir of Abraham:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you are Messiah’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27–29)