Tuesday, December 5: Longing for the Blessing of Abraham

Genesis 12:1-3

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Galatians 3:7-9, 13-14

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

If you look through the Biblical story after Seth, you will see that mankind descended into wickedness so great that God destroyed the world with a flood.  And yet he saved Noah and his sons, thus preserving the offspring of Eve and keeping his promise to her.  Later God called Abram, descendant of Noah’s son Shem, away from his family and idol worship (Joshua 24:2, 14), to a land he would give him.

As if that were not enough, God made incredible promises to Abram.  In addition to the land he would show him, he would make him into a great nation; he would bless him; he would make his name great; he would make Abram a blessing; and all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abram.  Whew!  Much of the first six books of the Bible tell how God delivered on those first three promises (land, great nation, blessing).  God would later change Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many”, and would make him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5).  As for making him a blessing, “God used Abraham as a nest in which to hatch out all the divine principles of salvation by grace and thus he became a blessing” (Donald Barnhouse).

But what of that final blessing, that all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham?  As Paul explained, all those who trust in Jesus Christ for salvation—Jew or Gentile—are descendants of Abraham and are blessed.  It is through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus, that people from every tribe, language, people, and nation are saved (Revelation 5:9).  Jesus told the Jews that Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing Jesus’ day (John 8:56).  Oh come, blessed descendant of Abraham, and bring blessing to all the nations!

By the sea of crystal, saints in glory stand,
Myriads in number, drawn from every land,
Robed in white apparel, washed in Jesus’ blood,
They now reign in Heaven with the Lamb of God.

Unto God Almighty, sitting on the throne,
And the Lamb, victorious, be the praise alone,
God has wrought salvation, He did wondrous things,
Who shall not extol Thee, holy King of kings?

(William Kuipers)

© 2023 Stephen A. Hoogerhyde.