Saturday, January 7, 2012

Blessings, Curses, and Failures

Genesis 12 marks a turning point in God’s unfolding plan of redemption. From now on, the focus will be on one family, one nation. We will follow this family, this nation, from here on out. From this moment, will come everything else that God does, the building of the people of Israel, the law, the priest, the pattern of relationship between God and his covenant people, laments, Psalms, and many other institutions that point forward to the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 3, Christ, the one who institutes the ultimate covenant.

The first three verses of Genesis 12 are some of the most important verses in the bible. God makes several specific promises to Abram (Abraham).
1-I will make of you a great nation.
2- I will bless you.
3- I will make your name great.
4-You will be a blessing. In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
5-I will bless those who bless you
6-Him who dishonors you I will curse (curse those who curse you).

How would God do this. Abraham and Sarah have no children, and they are old. God will have make it happen.

Notice some things here.

First, God calls Abraham to bless him. He calls him to give him his best. 
Second. God calls him so that he will be a blessing. Even in this initial covenant, God already is hinting that the promise of blessing will be for more than just Abraham’s descendants. Through Abraham, the whole world will be blessed. Just so we don’t miss this, the book of Genesis repeats it (18:18; 22:18; 16:4; 28:14). When we flip forward to the New Testament, to Acts 3, the second sermon recorded in the NT makes reference to the fact that the church understood that the salvation Christ brings is the fulfillment of this promise to Abraham. The apostle Paul makes the same connection in Galatians 3:8. As Christ’s followers, we are blessed, to be a blessing.

Third, notice the promise of Curses. I will curse those who curse you. Those that stand against God’s people, he will curse. We see this with Pharaoh, he unintentionally becomes a threat to God’s work in Abraham’s life, and it brings disaster swiftly. God made a promise to Abraham, and his descendants, those who seek you harm, will be harmed.

Fourth, notice that Abraham is no hero. Yes, God has called him, but how despicable and untrusting an act can you get? “Say you’re my sister”. He doesn’t do anything to stop Pharaoh from taking Sarah. The bible is not a book of hero’s to emulate; it shows how God brings his salvation.

Fifth, notice how God works through Abraham’s sin. He leaves better off than before. God is working, even in our most stupid rebellion, redeeming it for his glory. 

Finally, notice that even though Abraham sins, God still keeps his promises. Our sin is never so great that it breaks God’s word. It endures. Abraham and Lot split, God once again re-affirms his promise. All of this land will be Abraham’s. Lot heads off to join the people who will be removed from the land, eventually; all of this will belong to Abraham’s family. This is not happening because Abraham is so righteous, but because God is faithful even when we are not.

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