DEVOTION 5. THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM
When the Lord called Abraham to leave Ur and go to Canaan, he made Abraham a promise. Genesis 12:1-3 tells us the promise:
Now the Lord said to Abram,“Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And 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.”
In this promise, God narrowed our focus on who to look for as the savior. In Genesis 3, he told us only that the coming Messiah would be one who was born of a woman. But here we find out that the Messiah will come from Abraham. Both Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ genealogy through Abraham (Matthew 1; Luke 3).
Some think of Abraham solely as the father of the Hebrew race. But God had much more in mind for him. He would be the father of all who believe in Christ. Some believed that he would come as promised. Some believed the man they heard preach in Judea was he. Some like us heard his word and believed that he came to save us. All of the vast family of God throughout the centuries are blessed in Abraham.
God told Abraham that he would be blessed so that he would be a blessing. In fact, in him all families on earth would be blessed. “In him” means one of his descendants would bless people from all nations and races. That descendant is Christ Jesus. In Galatians 3:7 Paul tells us it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. It is not just the Hebrews.
Certainly God elected Israel for special purposes. That is why we call the Hebrews “God’s Chosen People”. He used Israel to demonstrate his righteousness, his grace and his judgment. He showed his sovereignty in history.
Yet he never intended to stop with that one little country. It is and has always been God’s desire for his glory to fill the earth, for the whole earth to worship him. He told both Adam and Noah to be fruitful and multiply and to subdue the earth. They were to subdue the earth for the glory of God. When he called Abraham, it was for the same reason. Galatians 3 goes on to tell us that the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham saying ‘in you shall all the nations be blessed’.
Isaiah prophesied the same word from God. In chapter 54 the Lord said “enlarge the place of your tent…” He said the children of the desolate one (the Gentiles) would be more than the children of her who is married (Israel).
Then, in chapter 60, he said:
Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.
The Lord spoke the same message through Zephaniah. He said “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.” (Zephaniah 3:9)
God promised Abraham the Savior would come from his family. We are beneficiaries of that promise made so long ago. We are children of Abraham and, through Christ, children of God.