After repeated failure, here is God’s new beginning.
1. An individual – Abraham
v2 – “I will bless you…I will make your name great.”
Many obstacles: – too old; childless wife; land already occupied, v6; famine (v10)! imperfect character! not the top candidate (why not Melchizedek?)!
He ‘did not receive the things promised,’ (Heb 11:13). By the end of his life, all he had was one field and one son.
He ‘obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going, (Heb 11:8). Trusting God’s promises, obeying God’s commands.
2. A nation – Israel
v2 – “I will make you into a great nation.” v7 – “To your offspring I will give this land.”
Rise and fall of a great nation.
In the NT, the promise has not been forgotten:-
- ‘The son of Abraham,’ (Mt 1:1)
- Sent first “…to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” (Mt 10:6; 15:24)
- “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…!” (Mt 23:37)
- ‘My heart’s desire and prayer is that they may be saved.’ (Rom 10:1)
Do we share this loving concern?
3. All nations
v3 – “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Anticipated in the OT – Rahab, Ruth, Jonah, Uriah, and many passages in the psalms and prophets.
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,” (Psa 2:7)
“Go and make disciples of all nations,” (Mt 28:19)
N.B.: ‘All the promises of God find their “Yes” in Christ,’ (2 Cor 1:20)
Promise of offspring fulfilled in Christ. ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,’ Gal 3:29.
Promise of land fulfilled in Christ. Rom 4:13 ‘Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world.’ 1 Cor 3:21 ‘All things are yours.’
Gen 22:17 – “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.’
Rev 7:9 – ‘…a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.’
Whitefield: ‘The Scriptures are so far from encouraging us to plead for a diminution of divine influence in these last days of the gospel that on the contrary, we are encouraged to expect, hope, long, and pray for larger and more extensive showers of divine influence than any former age hath ever yet experienced.’