Growing up in a Jewish home and attending synagogue and Hebrew school classes, I was introduced to Abraham early and often. To the Jewish people like myself, Abraham holds a place similar to but greater than George Washington does to Americans. After all, George Washington is only the father of a nation, while Abraham is the father of our faith. Whether you are a follower of Judaism or Christianity, our faith begins with a conversation between Abraham and G-D. After all, we are told that we are children of Abraham through faith:
"Just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' know then that those who have faith are children of Abraham" (Gal 3:6-7).
Because Abraham is such an important part of the history of our faith, the calling of Abraham in Genesis 12 is a familiar story that was told to me as a child over and over again. It became so foundational to my faith that, like most Jewish boys, I could recite the promises given to Abraham. As a descendant of Abraham, I was taught that these promises were mine also.
I knew that G-D called Abraham and promised to make Abraham a great nation.
I knew that G-D promised to bless Abraham and make Abraham's name great.
I know that G-D promised to bless those who blessed Abraham and to curse whoever cursed Abraham.
I also knew that G-D promised that all of the families of the earth would be blessed because of Abraham.
"My heart's desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Gen. 12:2).
For most people who read these verses, the above list pretty well covers the calling of Abraham and the blessings G-D promised Abraham if Abraham would leave his home and family and follow G-D to the place He would show Abraham. Yet there is one promise that G-D gave to Abraham that wasn't mentioned in my list above. This is a promise that G-D has been keeping since the time of Abraham and continues to keep today.
Look again at Genesis 12:2 and focus on the last 7 words. G-D promised to bless Abraham for a reason. G-D's promise has a purpose beyond the promise found at the end of Genesis 12:3, which is the promise of Yeshua's coming when all the families of the earth were blessed.
At the end of verse two, G-D tells Abraham that He would make Abraham a great name. Why? So that Abraham would be a blessing. G-D's promise did not stop with Abraham being blessed and being a great name. G-D's promise was not simply that Abraham would receive. No! Not at all! G-D's promise was that Abraham would be blessed, so that Abraham would pour out those blessing upon others.
This biblical truth doesn't stop with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This blessing on Abraham travels generationally through the millennia until today. Through the physical descendants of Abraham, the world has been abundantly blessed, not just because our faith has been a blessing to the entire world. And not just because through the Jewish people the Bible has been preserved. All we have to do is look at the advancements in medicine and technology that have come through the Jewish people that increased our standard of health and living.
But beyond the physical descendants of Abraham, those who are children of Abraham through faith have also been blessed and are to be a blessing. If the body of Messiah wants to receive the full blessings of G-D that the Scriptures teach and promise—which are found in the first half of Genesis 12:2—we must make ourselves open to the promise given in the second half of Genesis 12:2. We must stop being self-centered and self-motivated. We must understand that G-D's blessings come with a requirement not just to receive but also to give. When the blessings of G-D flow into a group of people that do not also allow them to flow out of them. The people become stagnant, and stagnant water stinks of death. Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised blessing of Genesis 12:3, and if we are to receive the full blessing of Genesis 12:2, we must understand and believe what Yeshua said in John 7:38:
"Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, 'out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians, and Galations in Context.
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