Understand the IMPLICATIONS of the ‘ABRAHAMIC’ BLESSING
January 8 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 22-24
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Gen. 22:15-18)
To understand the Abrahamic blessing from a historical standpoint, we need to go back to the time when God initiated His covenant with Abram while he was living in Ur of the Chaldeans, and promised him a land, descendants, and blessing (Gen. 12:1–3). Later on, after Lot separated from Abram, God again promised the land to him and his descendants (13:14–17). This covenant was ratified when God passed between the sacrificial animals that Abram had laid before God (15:1–21). When Abram was 99 years old, God renewed His covenant by changing Abram’s name to Abraham, and making circumcision the visible sign of the covenant (17:1–27).
Finally, this covenant was confirmed by God when Abraham obeyed His command without any hesitation to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac on the altar (22:15–18). Because of Abraham’s magnificent faith and obedience, the promise to make him the instrument of covenant blessing was repeated and reinforced. Any lingering doubts Abraham may have had about the constancy of God surely dissipated in the face of such a display of divine intention.
When God sealed His covenant, He swore by His own name: “Because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself” (Heb. 6:13). God’s promise here, confirmed by His oath, includes the blessing of the Gentile nations through Christ (see Gal. 3:16). Also, Abraham’s seed would possess the gate of his enemies (v. 17c). This means that his descendants would “occupy the place of authority over those who would oppose them. The capture of the city gate meant the fall of the city itself.”
At times the term ‘seed’ refers to a large number of descendants (as in 13:16); at other times it refers to one unique descendant, the Coming One – Jesus Christ. This may have multiple implications: the seed was Isaac; and by extension the Jewish nation; and the Seed was also Jesus Christ. God chose to reveal His purpose in the form of a promise, a promise that was both personal and immensely global: to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham.
We should understand that there was a progressive fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham. First, it was partially fulfilled during the days of Abraham, and throughout the period of the Old Testament. Second, it was fully portrayed in the life of Jesus. Finally, this promise will be perfectly fulfilled at the end of the age. It is now even being fulfilled as Christ builds His church upon this earth.
Thus, God’s promise to bless “all the nations of the earth” through Abraham is a promise that is still being fulfilled today! Throughout the world, people are finding the blessing of salvation from sin and a new life in Christ, the ‘seed’ of Abraham through whom God’s blessing has come. When we understand the implications of the Abrahamic blessing, we will celebrate this good news and urge everyone to “be glad and sing for joy!” Today, let us sing and celebrate the joy of God’s blessing that has been poured upon us only through the obedience of Abraham many years ago.