Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023: November 14 - Promise

Tuesday, November 14th: Promise

Read Genesis 12.

If you could sum up the book of Genesis in a word it would be: bless.  After God made everything he blessed his creation.  God also blessed the 7th day.
After the fall into sin, the curse enters into the world.  You could say that the rest of the Old Testament is trying to gain back God’s blessing.  After the flood, we are told that God reiterates his blessing, though also noting that sin is still running amok in mankind.

In Genesis 12, we meet the next character after Noah through whom God is going to work to bring back the blessing to the creation:  Abraham, who at this point is known as Abram.
The Lord calls Abram and tells him to pack up and leave home and go to the place that God will allow him to live in.

And then God makes a promise to Abram and says this, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
That is a lot of blessing!  5 times the word “bless” is used in those two verses.  Let’s break down each one.

First, God has chosen to bless Abraham.  This means that Abraham will be the product of God’s work in the world.  Think of Mary when she says, “From now on all generations will call me blessed.  For the mighty one has done great things to me and holy is his name!”  That is the idea here with Abraham.  God has chosen Abraham to be the man whom God works out the blessing of bringing Jesus Christ, the Savior, into the world.  More on that in a moment.
Second.  Abraham is told that God will bless those who bless him.  We can see examples of this in Abraham’s life.  Those who fight against Abraham come to a bad end.  Those who work with Abraham are looked after by God.  The reason for this is that God is making an investment in Abraham, an investment for our salvation, and God will achieve those ends.  And those who help Abraham will take a share of the goods.
Third.  God says that the result of this blessing is that in Abraham all the families of the earth shall be blessed.  “In you.”  This is meant literally.  The word here “in you” is seed, or what the Greek translates as “sperm.”  In Abraham’s loins, God is going to work out a child who will bring God’s blessings back to all nations.  Jews, Gentiles.  Everyone.

God chooses Abraham and makes the Israelite people not as an ends to themselves.  God picks this family as the ones who have the honor of bringing forth the Savior of all people.  Abraham’s descendants will beget the Savior of the Human Race.
Genesis 12 begins the promise of Jesus Christ through the family of Abraham.  We can see it as God narrowing down the plan.  As we read through the Old Testament, we will now follow this family and see more clearly as we do, how it all points us to Him whose birth was foretold from long ago, Jesus Christ.