This week, we looked at the second part of our series “The Promise”. The following short reading is massive for our understanding of Scripture and God’s purposes
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
The immediate fulfilment to Abram (later Abraham) was that God led him to the land of Canaan. For Abraham, there was a great need to trust God and every barrier possible in the way of faith. Yes, he was able to trust God as he headed towards Canaan and began to explore the land. However, could he trust God to make him into a great nation. He was 50 years old and so far, he and his wife had been unable to have children. Yet that was the vital part of the promise.
If you’ve joined any of our recent Faithroots Live sessions you will know that this passage is all about the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham. You’ll also be aware that when we are talking about God’s blessing, that we are talking about God’s provision and protection as he calls us to be fruitful in serving him. For Abraham, just as for Adam and Eve, this fruitfulness meant filling and subduing the earth/land. There were barriers to this including infertility and the presence of other hostile tribes in the land. God’s promise of blessing is about those obstacles being overcome.
Note too, the blessing for Abraham is not just for him but for others -all families of the earth. How will that come about? The implication here is that beyond the immediate and local reversal of barriers to the Creation Mandate is a promise that The Curse that came with the Fall will be reversed? Well, God will repeat the covenant promise again in Genesis 15, reassuring Abram that he will have a son and heir. His name is changed to Abraham to emphasise the point that he will be the father to many. Then in Genesis 22, after he has had a son and that son, his only loved son is required as a sacrifice (though God provides a substitute rm), once Abraham’s faith in the promise is proved that God repeats it in these terms:
18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”
In fact the promise had been frequently reaffirmed. In Genesis 12:7 and 13:15, God reiterates that the promise is for Abraham and his seed. Notice the link here in terms of “seed” to the promise to Eve that her seed or offspring would crush the serpent. Now, here is Abraham promised that a blessing is for his seed. Paul in Galatians 3:16 points to these repeated promises and insists that the promise is not just for Abraham’s descendants generally but for his descendant (singular). The promise (like the one to Eve) is concerning one specific descendant and that man is Jesus.
It is Jesus who is the blessing bringer. He brings the blessing by removing the problem of the curse. The blessing he brings is the promise that we will be in him enjoying the spiritual blessing of peace, forgiveness, joy, reconciliation, justification and hope. The blessing he brings is the promise that in him we are heirs to a future physical blessing when we will rise from death to enjoy the new creation together.
This Christmas we look forward in hope to the promise of small material blessings from others in the form of gifts but we also are reminded that Christmas represents to us the greater blessing promised of life in Christ.
 Genesis 12:1-3