Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Leave your country, and your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Think for a moment about the meaning of what God said to Abram here. God gave Abram (later named Abraham) the command to leave his father’s house, his country, his relatives, and go to a yet unknown place that God would show him in the future. This was the commandment, but what was the promise? The promise attached was huge.
1. I will make of you a great nation.
The first promise mentioned here means that God would give Abram many descendants who would be a great nation. They would have an identity as a nation.
2. I will bless you.
The second word, “I will bless you” to me implies prosperity and success in life. Abraham certainly received this in natural terms – his flocks and his wealth multiplied over the years. A blessing is a supernatural thing which works for the GOOD of the one blessed. These blessings are released by the spoken word – in this case the spoken word of God. And when a blessing is released, God causes great things to happen for the person or persons so blessed.
3. I will make your name great.
The third word implies that God would make Abraham a respected person of authority.
4. You will be a blessing.
This implies that not only will Abraham receive good things himself, and have things go well for him, but also that he will “add value” to others. Abraham becomes a channel of the good things of God to others.
5. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.
God is saying that He will so closely identify with Abraham, that God will take the actions and words of others done to Abraham personally. This is the language of covenant. You can’t touch Abraham without God touching you.
6. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.
The scope of Abraham’s influence and the blessing coming through him would be universal. This promise was fulfilled through Abraham’s descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ, who became the source of every gospel blessing to all families of the earth who come to hear the message. One day all families will hear, if they have not done so already.
Now all this is fine, and we can be glad for Abraham, but how relevant is this to us today?
Answer: it is extremely relevant.
The reason for this can be found in the New Testament, in which the significance of many Old Testament events is revealed. In Galatians 3:8 it says as follows: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you all the nations will be blessed.” Other versions of the New Testament say “preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham”. We see that the gospel itself is a message of God’s blessing.
God is a God of blessing to those who believe.
I think it is worth considering the possibility that God desires to bless us in all things also. I see this possibility because in Galatians 3:9, “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” If you are blessed WITH Abraham, I can’t imagine the Lord saying: “Now Abraham here is going to become a great nation, but you, Joe, are not going to amount to anything much.” Can you? It seems to me that at least in the end, we are destined to receive the same kind of blessings as Abraham, or the SAME blessing – if we can believe.
There are 40 or so promises that God made to Abraham which you can find recorded in the Book of Genesis. These promises are ours also, in Jesus Christ. Remaining in Jesus Christ is not automatic. The key thing is to remain loyal to Christ. We need to remain in Him, and let His Word remain in us. Then, Jesus promised, whatever we desire will be done. I believe the key to this connection is the conscious presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.