Today we are looking at a passage in Scripture (Gen. 3:1-12) that is the key to understanding God’s purpose for you. When our lives align with God’s purposes, when God’s church is in line with the purposes of God, then we are prepared to receive the blessings of God.
Genesis Chapter 11 sets the stage. Here we find the story of the Tower of Babel. We gain insight from this passage as to the origin of the over 3,000 languages that exist today (over half of those are found in India).
At the tower of Babel man devises a grand plan to make a name for himself. We read in Genesis 11:4 that man wants to make a name for himself at the expense of God. God responds in accordance with his righteous nature and punishes those who have sought their own glory (that is rightly due to God).
The Sin of the tower of Babel is followed by the punishment of scattering the people and scrambling their language. Here we see that instead of one unified people, God has separated the people into peoples, ethno-linguistic units.
Immediately following the Tower of Babel account, God traces the genealogy of Abraham back, even preceding the tower of Babel, all the way back to the flood. This is followed in Scripture by the glorious message of salvation. This is our text, and one of the great texts for the Biblical foundation of Missions.
Read Genesis 12:1-3
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Our text, Genesis 12:1-3, has to a large extent been only partially understood. When we grasp the full meaning of this passage we see this passage as one of the central texts of the Bible, because God says much more to Abraham than just, “I will bless you”. The “so you will be a blessing to all the families of the earth” is the crucial, often neglected and central aspect in understanding the purposes of God.
I) God’s Desire is to Bless “I will Bless You” Genesis 12:2
It does not matter where you live, you will find the common desire of all people is to be blessed. Parents want their children to have more than they had. They want education and food and clothes and good health for their family. There is this universal desire to be blessed and it is found among all people everywhere.
The blessings of God however include much more than good health, food, shelter and a good job. God’s blessing includes our Salvation and our future heavenly home. God desires to bless us in ways that are spiritual and eternal.
Ephesians Chapter 2 highlights the true blessing of God. We are made alive when previously we were spiritually dead. The Spirit of God is at work in us. We were aliens, now we are in the family of God. These are indeed the blessings of God.
Our Call to Obedience vs. 1
In Genesis 12:1-3 God clearly tells Abraham that He will bless him. However, God did not immediately pour out his blessing on Abram (Abraham). God first tested Abraham and found him obedient. He required something of Abraham, something that was in line with his purposes. Abraham demonstrated his obedience and his call to faith in his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.
We have a responsibility that goes hand in hand with our blessings. When Abraham obeyed God we read how God responded. Genesis 17:18 “And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.”
Today as believers in Christ we are Abraham’s offspring. We are called to obedience and faith. Obedience is part of Abraham’s call. This obedience goes right along with Abraham’s blessing. You didn’t get where you are today without obedience and faith. God has tested you over the years as he tested Abraham.
II) God’s Blessing is the Best
“I will make you a great nation” vs. 2
God had said to Abraham as are the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea, so this numerous will your offspring be! It would not be possible to number the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea. God promised Abraham to have so many offspring that you could not even count them.
How many children did Abraham have when he died? His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him. Abraham had some children by Keturah, but you could count on your fingers the number of Abraham’s children. On face value that hardly seems as numerous as the stars of the sky.
Obviously God’s blessing to Abraham meant more than the here and now. Abraham could not have imagined in his wildest dreams all that God had in mind. Galatians chapter 3 tells us that God was giving the Gospel in advance to Abraham. All those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are justified by faith are the children of Abraham.
We can never orchestrate God’s blessings to us. We can only corporate with God’s way. When we try to bring God’s blessing through our own devising we will not accomplish what God has in store for us. It will require faith on our part to trust God and his ways.
Abram tried to fulfill God’s promise for himself in the flesh, through his maidservant Hagar. When you trust God by faith you receive the blessing of God. You must wait by faith on the promise of God. One child born in an ordinary way, one born of promise.
No one else can bless you like God can bless you through Jesus Christ. The world will always promise to bless and then disappoint. There is first temptation then destruction. What the future holds for believers is beyond comprehension.
You must face the future by standing on the promises of God. You must go forward in faith and not by the ordinary way trusting in the flesh. Abraham has more descendents than the stars of the sky. God’s plan was beyond the here and now. It includes spiritual blessings beyond what we can ask and imagine. We must follow the ways of God when he calls us to obedience.
III) Blessed to Bless
“In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Vs 3
Why has God blessed you? Is it simply for you to count your blessings? I hope by now you can see the answer!
God has not simply poured out His blessing on you for you to stockpile them. God has called you out, set you apart to bestow his great Love on you. But there is much more than only that. God has blessed you for the same reason He blessed Abraham, to bless all the families of the earth.
Jesus reconfirmed that God has blessed us to bless others when he gave us the Great Commission. Jesus told us to Go and Make disciples of all Nations. The great commission is more accurately a call to reach all people groups rather than to reach political nations. The word translated for nations is Ethne, where we get the English word Ethnic.
The great commission is a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham to bless all the families. The whole world has just been scattered in different languages following the Tower of Babel. The unified people have become a collection of peoples. The great commission is to go and make disciples of all these peoples (nations).
God has called you to more than count your blessing. He has called you, like he called Abraham, to be a blessing to all the families (people groups) of the earth.
In John 15 we read that the world Hates Christ. But let the world be offended at the cross not our ways. To bless the families of the earth may mean sacrificing much to reach them.
Why does God say, “I will bless you?” It is so that “all families of the earth might be blessed”. The families of the earth were to be blessed by Jesus Christ. You are the instruments through whom God has chosen to bless the families of the earth. Why did God bless you? It is for you to be a blessing to the ethnic groups.
You might have to go to those who have historically been unfriendly to you and mistreated you. This is what Jonah was called to do when he went to preach repentance to the Assryian people group. These people had mistreated his own Hebrew people, but God called him to preach to them. The fields are white unto harvest. We are to communicate God’s blessing to the world, the Ta Ethne, all the “families” of the earth.
We are getting closer to the return of Christ. The Gospel will first be preached to all (Ethne) Nations, (people groups) and then the end will come. (Mark 13:10, Matthew 24:14)
What is the road ahead? God’s desire for you is to go from strength to strength. You must align yourself to the purposes of God to move forward to the greatest days yet.
I recently visited a place in Asia known as Slum Rock. I learned that at Slum Rock there is competition for who will have the believing families in their ministry. Churches are fighting over these families and all the time the unreached people groups are being neglected!
There are between twenty-five to fifty percent of the worlds Unreached People Groups in India. We must go to the people groups that do not have the Gospel. This will be why God will bless you. Because you will be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
Evangelism is not enough for the road ahead. It is missions, going to bless the ureached peoples that is needed. You must cross the barriers, the caste and bless these nations (all families).
To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 4:48). God has redeemed (blessed) us so that, the blessing of Abraham may come to the Gentiles in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:14) He has blessed you to be a great blessing by bringing Christ to the unreached peoples.