12:1–3 The covenant structure is apparent (17:2 note). God sovereignly obligated Himself to Abraham (vv. 2, 3) while assigning him a task (v. 1). God’s commands were fulfilled through Abraham’s obedient faith in God’s promise (6:9–22 note).
These verses mark a pivotal point in Genesis and in the history of redemption as God begins to establish a covenant people for Himself. The progress of God’s redemptive plan is evident in His setting Abraham apart (v. 1) and making Israel into a great nation (v. 2; 46:3). It climaxes in Jesus Christ, the true Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16), who brings salvation to the world (v. 3). The call to Abraham is passed on to the next two patriarchs, Isaac (26:2–4) and Jacob (28:14). The nation will be formed from Jacob’s twelve sons (ch. 49). See theological note “God’s Covenant of Grace” on next page.