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Study the Master Theme of the BibleChrist in Old Testament Index
Genesis 12:1-3 Count Your Blessings, Abraham
When God called Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, he received several promises. The final element of the blessing is found in these words: "And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 4:12b). It reaches back into the families being divided by sin in Adam's fall (Genesis 3), the deluge and the confusion of the languages at Babel. The curse of sin will be replaced by blessings. It will be a blessing so great that its effect will extend to "all the families of the earth."
Abraham took God at His word and believed Him. "For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness'" (Romans 4:3).
Let's bear in mind that Abraham did not merit God's special blessings. There was nothing in Abram that commended him to God. "There is no one righteous, not even one" declares the Word of God. Abram had an idolatrous background (Joshua 24:1-3). Even though he had a pagan ancestry God in mercy and grace reached down to Abram. The great blessings of God always begin with His grace. God saved him by grace.
This blessing can be thought of only in connection with the promised Savior. This promise to Abraham is definitely messianic and determines that the Messiah is to emerge from the line of Abraham. Only in the idea of the Messiah does the depth of the thought adequately display itself. All of the promises that followed in the Hebrew Scriptures were merely expansions, closer definitions and identifications of the salvation held out to the whole human race in this promise.
The Gospel writer Matthew, writing to Jewish people, began with these words from "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1).
When the Messiah arrived He declared to a group of teachers of the Law, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and He saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). Abraham was overjoyed to see the fullness of time when the Messiah would indeed be a spiritual blessing. The unbelieving Jewish leaders responded to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" (John 8:57-58). The ultimate fulfilment of the promises of God is made to rest upon the divine promise and the person of the Messiah rather than upon human faithfulness. The great "AM" was speaking to them (Exodus 3:14).
That day came when Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away the sins of every individual who will believe on Him as their personal Savior. Have you received the joy of our father Abraham? The LORD God of Abraham is ready to bless you right now.
Abraham was the first of a great remnant who believed God's promises regarding the coming of the Messiah. The writer of Hebrews says, "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13).
You can't find a better summary than the following by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:6-9:
"Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as Righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'All the nations will be blessed in you.' So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Paul's whole point to the Jewish people is that the real spiritual sons of Abraham are those who believe as he did, "they which be of faith" (Rom. 3:26; 4:16; 14:23). They are not God's people out of blood ties with Judaism. "Abraham believed and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Our father Abraham was justified by faith alone. God chose him out of His rich grace. Abraham did not earn it. He did not merit it. Yahweh reached down to Abraham and called him to be the father of His chosen people. Abraham believed the promise. He took God at His word and God reckoned Abraham as righteous.
We who have come to know Christ by faith are blessed with Abraham. God's blessings are limitless, and they are ours just like they were Abraham's. This is part of Paul's whole argument of justification by faith. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. God reckons us as righteous by our faith in Christ.
"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one, 'And to your seed,' that is, Christ. . . . And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:16, 29).
The physical seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is Christ, and the spiritual seed of Abraham includes every true child of God who receives Jesus Christ by faith. Abraham's blessings have become our blessings. "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The gospel of salvation through faith is for all nations. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us" for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree' in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:13-14).
While preaching in the Temple complex Peter brought a message to a dramatic conclusion with these powerful words: "And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:24-26). There weren't any questions in the mind of the Apostles as to who this person was.
The most astounding mystery in the Bible is found in Colossians 1:26-27. Paul writes of "the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." A Jewish God residing in a Gentile heart! That was revolutionary to Peter and Paul. It is still the most revolutionary message in the entire universe.
That is how much the Lord God loves you and me. "For God so loved the world" (the families of the earth), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16-18, italics mine).
There is a sense in which the call that Abraham responded to comes to each one of his believing children. It is a call to absolute trust in the Lord. God the Holy Spirit speaks to us regarding the truths of God's Word and we must step out in simple faith in Christ. Biblical faith is simply believing God and acting on His Word.
If you have never put your trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please do so right now. The very moment that you believed on Christ you fulfill the great promise God gave to our father Abraham centuries ago!
Isn't it wonderful being a part of God's history? If you are a completed Hebrew, you have a double blessing! However, God's blessings are not just for our Jewish friends, it includes us non-Jews, too. "And in you" Abraham, "all the families of the earth shall be blessed!" Oh, praise the LORD God!
Abraham is called "God's friend," and you can be one, too.
Title: Genesis 12:1-3 Count Your Blessings, Abraham
Series: Christ in the Old Testament
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Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.""Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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