Monday, June 8, 2020

Verse of the Week: Genesis 12:2
                And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you will be a blessing; Genesis 12:2

The inter-relationship of the eternal, gracious, covenants of God with Israel might be graphically set forth in the following manner:[1]

The general, basic covenant with Abraham
The Other Covenants
1. The promise of a national land.
Genesis 12:1
               13:14-15, 17
1. The Land (many times called the Palestinian Covenant) Covenant gave Israel assurance of final, permanent restoration to the land.
Deuteronomy 30:3-5
Ezekiel 20:33-37. 42-44

2. The promise of redemption, national and universal.
Genesis 12:3
Galatians 3:16
2. The New Covenant has particularly to do with Israel’s spiritual blessing and redemption.
Jeremiah 31:31-40
Hebrews 8:6-13, etc.

3. The promise of numerous descendants to form a great nation.
Genesis 12:2
               17:2-6, etc.
3. The Davidic Covenant has to do with promises of dynasty, nation, and throne
II Samuel 7:11, 13, 16
Jeremiah 33:20, 21

And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you will be a blessing; Genesis 12:2

And I…And I- A sovereignty statement concerning God. It is not Abraham who will make all of this happen. It will be God. In all aspects that is noted in the passage it is not an achievement of Abraham, but a divinely wrought favor.

Make you- This will be a work of God. Though instructions will be given to the leaders of the Jewish nation it will be God who make the nation happen and will be the One who preserves the nation. Since this will be a work of God it will “great” in every sense.

A great nation- When God made this promise, Abraham had no son. God makes this great promise at a time when it was impossible for any nation to come from Abram. This promise would entail not just a son but grandchildren, great grandchildren and so forth. It would entail enough descendants to populate a nation.

The “nation” is in reference to the Jewish nation. Or the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Typically, “goy” is used of heathen nations, however this is one of the few times that the word is used to describe Israel.

Great- There are two realms that “greatness” envelopes. The first is the nation itself. The many accomplishments of the tiny Jewish nation, apart from giving us the Scriptures and the Messiah, contribute to their greatness. The second would be with Abraham himself and what he means for Jews and Christians.

This word does not imply great numbers as many in the secular culture would translate the word. This is written with the idea of true greatness in every sense. The influence of Israel today is seen in that when they move an inch the world trembles. Their influence in today’s world is felt in all areas of life. Some modern-day inventions that have impacted us positively include:

1.       Smart drip and micro-irrigation, starting from the idea of Israeli engineer Simcha Blass for releasing water in controlled, slow drips to provide precise crop irrigation. 
2.       The world’s first solar window, which combines energy efficiency, power generation and transparency. 
3.       BabySense, a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. The device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep. An auditory and visual alarm is activated if breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds or if breath rate slows to less than 10 breaths per minute.
4.       A low-cost alternative to silicon that generates significantly more electricity than leading silicon-based PV solar modules at a lower cost per kilowatt hour.

This is just a few of the many inventions that Jewish inventors have created that make our life easier. To see a more exhaustive list, though by no means everything, here is a link:

And if you would like to explore Israeli medical innovations:

The Jewish people represent less than .02% of the world’s population yet they achieved the following in Nobel prizes:
                Chemistry 21% awarded
                Physics 26% awarded
                Physiology/Medicine 27% awarded
                Economics 37% awarded

Bless you- This refers to primarily to Abram. However, because of Abram’s faithfulness, and the descendants that will come from him, the blessing God promised encompasses all of us because of the work of his descendants.

What does it mean to be blessed? For Abraham it was due to the gracious working of God in all things.  Because God is in charge of all things, they will go well for Abram. All that Abram undertook, and eventually his descendants, thrive and are successful.

Today, for believers in Christ, we have this promise made to us in our spiritual lives

Make your name- The second realm of greatness comes from the man Abraham. His name is his character, his attributes, what makes him what he is.

There is probably not a person more honored in history that Abram. He is honored by Christians:

Abraham is one of the most important figures in the New Testament. Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy back to him (Matt 1:17). Faithful Jews are called “sons” or “daughters” of Abraham (Luke 13:16, Luke 19:9). A summary of his accomplishments occurs in Acts 7 and Heb 11, and two incidents stand out. First, he was willing to leave his own country and trust God to lead him to a new one. Second, be believed God could make him the father of many nations, even though his wife Sarah could not have children. Indeed, James thinks his faith was so great that he would have offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice if that was what God wanted (Jas 2:21). Fortunately, it wasn’t (see Gen 22).[2]  


Our father Abraham observed the entire Torah before it was given to Israel, as it is written (Genesis 26:5) "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws" (Mishnah, end of Kiddushin).

and Muslims:

"When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit [to My will],’ he [Abraham] responded, ‘I submit to the Lord of all worlds,’ and Abraham instructed his sons to do the same, as did Jacob, [saying], ‘My sons, God has chosen for you this faith; so do not die except in [a state of full] submission.  ’ Were you [Jews] there to see when death came upon Jacob? When he said to his sons, ‘What will you worship after I am gone?’ They replied, ‘We will [continue to] worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac—the One God.  And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.’ That community passed away.  What they earned belongs to them, and what you earn belongs to you.  And you will not be accountable for their deeds.  They say, ‘Become Jews or Christians, and you will be rightly guided.’ Say [O Prophet], ‘No!  We follow the faith of Abraham, the upright—who was not a polytheist.’" (Quran 2:131-135)

This promise was also fulfilled in Abraham’s temporal blessings:

                                Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. Genesis 13:2

       And the LORD has greatly blessed my master [Abraham], so that he has become           very rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and                    servants and maids, and camels and donkeys. Genesis 24:35

Abraham’s spiritual blessings:

Now it came about at that time, that Abimelech[3] and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; Genesis 21:22

And fame:

“Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” Genesis 23:6

“But you, Israel, My servant,[4]
                Jacob whom I have chosen,
                Descendant of Abraham My friend, Isaiah 41:8

The descriptions of Abram detail how his name as great (unless noted differently all passages are in Genesis):

1.       Father of a multitude (17:5)
2.       Man in God’s confidence (18:17-19))
3.       Prophet (20:7)
4.       Servant of God (Psalm 105:6)
5.       Friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7)
6.       Prince of God (23:6)

And so- Because of what I am doing for you.

You will be- In the analysis of all that is written in this verse the only conclusion we can come to is that God is the One who makes Abram a blessing unto others.
This also conveys a moral responsibility that is demanded upon Abram. He should live a life that others are blessed by it.  

A blessing- Literally, a blessing, a certain consequence of God’s blessing. 

[1] Things to Come, J. Dwight Pentecost, pp 71-72
[3] Abimelech, though militarily and politically superior, recognized God’s protection of Abraham and desired an amicable relationship with him.
[4] In this passage the servant is the nation Israel (as also 43:10-10; 44:1-8, 21; 45:4; 48:20); in other passages it is an individual whom the New Testament identifies as Jesus Christ (42:1-12; chap. 49; 50:4-6; 52:13-53:12; cf. Acts 8:28-35).

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2 Peter 2:14-22