Monday, June 10, 2019

2019.06.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 12:1-3

Questions for Littles: Who is speaking to whom in Genesis 12:1? From where does He tell Abram to leave? Whom does He tell him to leave? What does He tell him to leave? To where does He tell him to go? Into what does Yahweh promise to make him (Genesis 12:2)? What does He promise to do to him? What does He promise to do to Abram’s name? What does He promise to do through Abram? Whom does Yahweh promise to bless (Genesis 12:3)? Whom does He promise to curse? Which families of the earth will find their blessing in him?    
Yahweh tells Abram to lose everything. Humanity had been divided, and each had his identity in his country, family, and father’s household—a term that described a community structure rather than a physical building structure. And the Lord says, “Get out from all of these.”

Where is Abram to go? The Lord doesn’t even say. He only says, “A land that I will show you.” The Lord has selected it. The Lord will be there. The Lord will be the One to show it to him. That’s all Abram needs to know. There’s no destination address for him to put into his GPS. There’s only the knowledge that the mind and the voice that lead him there are those of the Lord Himself, and the destination is more person than place. The Lord Himself is the only true blessedness.

Of course, if the Lord is all of Abram’s blessedness, then the Lord’s means are the only means of blessedness. After all, God alone can give Himself. There is nothing the creature can do to manipulate or control the Creator. We cannot give God to ourselves or to anyone else. God alone can give Himself. And so we can only receive Him in the way that He chooses to give Himself. Faith—dependence upon God is the only way to receive Him.

Therefore, obedience must be how faith is expressed. Doing what we please, or what we think will work, is the very opposite of dependence upon the Lord. If something else is our blessedness—a particular feeling, state of mind, “success” in life, possession, status, etc.—then our own ideas about God and spiritual life and admirable living may get us there. But if the Lord Himself is our blessedness, then only the Lord can determine how we get there.

This is why the first act of obedience is actually not an act at all. It is passive. It is to rely upon Christ and what He has done instead of upon anything that we do. We can see that in our text too. God doesn’t just promise to bless Abram. He makes Abram himself a blessing, the one means by whom all the families of the earth will be blessed. Abram—by being the one through whom the Christ comes—is the only true means of blessedness.

How wonderful is the mercy of God! Every family on earth deserves the flood treatment. But now, through Abram, every family on earth will be receiving the ark treatment instead. No family will be excluded. Yet, it is precisely the fact that the blessing will come through Abram that means that not everyone will be saved.

Those that embraced the ark were blessed in the flood. Those that rejected the ark were cursed in the flood. Those that bless Abram as father in the faith are blessed. Those that reject him are cursed. Those that rejoice over the day of Abram’s seed, Jesus, just as Abram rejoiced, are blessed; those who reject Christ are cursed (cf. John 8:54-58, John 3:36). Through Abram, in Jesus, there is blessing for all families of the earth without discrimination, but not without exception. All who fail to embrace Christ will perish.

All of this to a surprising end. Man had desired to make a name for himself (Genesis 11:4), even though only the name of God is worthy of all glory and honor and praise! God had demonstrated this spectacularly at Babel. But now God turns around and proposes to do for Abram that of which Abram is totally unworthy. That which would be the height of wickedness for Abram to seek for himself. God Himself promises to make Abram’s name great. And God includes all who bless Abram in this promise. By the time Jesus has done what is required to obtain blessing for those who deserve only curse, He will have secured for Himself that Name that is above every name. That Name at which every knee in heaven and earth bows. That Name at which every tongue in heaven and earth confesses that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. And, gloriously, that Name which He has put upon us. The greatest name anyone, from any family of the earth can have, is “Christian.” God gives the greatest possible Name to those who deserve to have no good name at all!
What does this passage hold before you as the true blessedness? What else seems to compete with this in your heart—what do you find yourself seeking as your great blessing?
Suggested Songs: ARP181 “God Our Only Good” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion”

No comments:

Post a Comment