Friday, July 13, 2018

Genesis Post 26 - Introduction To Abraham's Covenant (Chapter 12)

We now reach Genesis 12, a key chapter in Genesis.

My absolute favorite artistic depiction of Father Abraham

This new beginning is going to be accompanied by an unconditional covenant. This covenant is still in effect today, as we will soon see.  This is the third covenant that we have seen between God and man since Genesis began.  (The first was with Adam and Eve, and the second was with Noah.  If you are not familiar with the seven covenants, click here for a refresher of this scriptural framework).

Verses 1-3 say,
Now the LORD  had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Most believers have no idea how important these verses are today.  All the last days happenings stem from this covenant.  Everything going on in the Middle East today starts here. And the devil knows it.

The covenant was announced here, but was not initiated here, because Abram was not yet in the Promised Land.

The covenant is absolutely tied to the land. The land is very important.  It cannot be separated from the Abrahamic Covenant.

The covenant has three main parts to it, and they are all connected:
  • The Land  (God would take him to a new land)
  • The Seed (God would bless him, and make from him a great nation and a great name)
  • The Blessing  (All the nations of the earth would be blessed through him)
The covenant starts with the land. Then it turns into a nation.

And then the promise is given that his name would be great... and today, all three monotheistic religions claim Abraham as their father.

When God told Abraham he would make him into a great nation, he was speaking of the separate nation of Israel, who was to be separate from the nations.  As we will soon learn, Ishmael would be given his own covenant, and told he would be a great nation, but the Abrahamic covenant was passed on to Isaac and then to Jacob.  We will see this in upcoming chapters in Genesis.

This section ends with the promise of blessing to all nations of the world.  It extends through the very end of the Bible.

Four times in these verses, the LORD God says I will, and He does.  This covenant contains no ifs.  It is unconditional.  As the covenant unfolds in future chapters, we will continue to see the unconditional and permanent nature of the covenant.

Embedded into the covenant is a warning to the world.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;

Lovers of Israel such as myself know Genesis 12:3 very well.

Historically, nations that curse Israel do not do well. Nations, people, and even congregations that actively bless Israel do favorably.

One of my very favorite things about Donald Trump is that he has actively blessed Israel, unlike any other president in our modern history.

There are numerous books available that outline the parallels of this blessing.  Several that come to mind are these:
The Israel Omen (2 books)
As America Has Done to Israel
Eye to Eye:  Facing the Concequences of Dividing Israel

In a nutshell:
The costliest insurance events, the costliest hurricanes, the largest tornado outbreaks, the " Perfect Storm," the 9/11 terror events, and Hurricane Katrina corresponded to White House pressure on Israel to divide their land.

It is very important to realize that there are two different Hebrew words used for curse.

Arar means to curse, as we understand it.
Qalal, on the other hand, means to make light of, or to trivialize. In other words, to consider something unimportant, or failure to esteem.

A more accurate translation of Genesis 12:3 would be,
I will bless those who bless you, and he who treats you indifferently I will curse.

Why is God so strict on this? To disrespect Israel is to disrespect God himself.  Scripture says that Israel is the apple of his eye, which is an idiom for pupil.  It is like poking God in the eye when you fail to esteem Israel.

Sadly, Israell gets very little respect in the eyes of the world, the United Nations, and even in the church.

Of course, it is a remnant of God’s people who do get it. God seems to do much work through a remnant of people.

Blessing Israel doesn’t make you any better than anyone else, it just makes you blessed. Do you want God blessing in your life? Give it a try. Start actively blessing Israel.

I will repeat what I said in the Isaiah class, a paraphrased quote from Mike Bickle of IHOP: If you haven’t seen what God is doing with Israel, and you’re not excited about what God is doing through Israel, you are not understanding it.

God‘s plan with Israel as a nation has been on hold for the sake of the rest of the nations, since 70 AD. You and I are included in that.  Look at Galatians 3:8...
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”

Israel as a nation, however, will not remain on hold forever.  The overall plan of God for humankind revolves around Israel. The first and second comings of the Messiah revolve around Israel. Israel is key.  When foreigners and strangers attach themselves to Israel, like Ruth did, they share in the blessing, like Ruth did.

How exactly can we bless Israel?  I wrote a post on it once; you can click here to read it.

All this in just the first three verses of Genesis 12!  We'd better move on.  Click here to continue on in Genesis.

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