Advent Reader -- Day 3
The Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. I will make you into 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 peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:1-3) ----------
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. (Psalm 86:9)
Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, "Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed." (Acts 3:24-25)
Abraham "believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. [A]ll of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:6-9, 27-29)
"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'" (Acts 17:26-28)
God made a unilateral, unconditional covenant with Abraham, and ultimately, through Jesus, all believers get to participate in it. Abraham received a promise. The promise to Abraham was not that he would be known throughout all generations (though this has also become true), but that all nations would be blessed, somehow, through him. And just to make sure Abraham was not confused (and maybe so that we might not forget either), God mentioned it four more times (Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14)!
It was God's intention all along to make a people, and through these people, to bless the earth. And he accomplished it through a descendant of Abraham.
Abraham, obviously, did not celebrate Christmas. He did not know that Jesus was coming or that we would make his great, great, great...grandson's birthday a national holiday. He did not know that Jesus was the blessing; but he was. He is. And when we turn from our sin and put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, our life is hidden in him. We become heirs of the promise and heirs of Abraham's covenant.
Thus, the call on our lives, whether we realize and accept it or not, is to be used by God to bless all the nations of the earth.
This is an enormous and serious responsibility, but the fact that we've been invited to do it, and the actual doing of it, must also be cause for great joy. In being a blessing to the earth, we both become and fulfill the promise that God made to Abraham all those years ago.
Almighty God, thank you that you have fulfilled your promise to Abraham and that your blessing has come to the whole world in Jesus Christ. Thank you for breaking down the walls that divide us from one another and from you, and for making it possible for people from every race and culture to come to you through faith in your Son, Jesus. You rule the universe but chose to become intimately immersed in human history on planet Earth, and, in so doing, have reconciled people from every nation to yourself. Help me to remember this so that when your ways seem obscure to me I can cling to the fact that your purposes and character are perfect and that you cannot lie. In Christ's glorious name. Amen.