The Secret about Abraham’s Blessing II
God gave Abraham a series of promises, the first which is directed at Abram, the rest serve as ministries of blessing towards others. The first blessing serves as a conduit through which the rest of the blessings are fulfilled. In the process of blessing Abraham, God must create in Abram the proper foundation and mindset.
In today’s passage, we look at the second promise: I will make you a great nation.
God said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
We can categorize the promise into the following:
- I will bless you (v.2) – The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, personal wellbeing and prosperity.
- I will make you a great nation (v.2) – A dignified and blessed community and nation.
- I will make your name great (v.2) – Glory and honor.
- And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (v.3) – The calling and the anointing to bless the poor.
The second blessing: I will make you a great nation (people) forms the foundation of the third and fourth blessing.
The blessing that a united community brings far surpasses what an individual can possibly obtain for himself.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which is used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. In the recent 2014 report, two very young countries: Israel and Singapore are seen rising through the ranks despite their very short span of nation building: Israel, at 68 years since independence, and Singapore at 50. And the fact that they have no natural resources forces them to depend on the resource of the human spirit by uniting their people. Israel and Singapore are at a HDI rank of 19 and 9 respectively. Their success is attributed to the ability of their communities to stay united in the face of economic, geopolitical challenges and social diversity. These two small countries prove that there is no limit what a community can do for herself if members harbor a common identity, a common vision towards a common destiny. The psalmist says,
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing — life forever. Psalm 133
However, it requires a certain mindset to obtain the manifold blessing of a nation. The following details the required mindset.
- The fate of members in a community are inextricably linked.
Therefore, members of a community must think beyond themselves and understand that all are in the same boat. “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26. We are much better off prospering as a community than alone. The tendency is for members of a community to stay united during challenging times, but when times of affluence arrive, each become individualistic and self-serving. Yet many citizens conceive thoughts of migrating to greener pastures instead of staying to create a better future. They go to a foreign land only to be isolated, ostracized, and returning to the land they have forsaken. Why? Because it is a universal principle that the fate of individuals, be it in a family, tribe or nation are inextricably tied together. The prophet Ezekiel prophesied,
Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land.” Ezekiel 37:21
The prophecy expresses a universal principle: the destiny of a tribe no matter how far and wide they may disperse, will eventually converge. In Genesis 18, God had intended on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah because of the wickedness of her people. At that time, three men of God visited Abraham to deliver the message of Isaac’s imminent birth. Incidentally, a thought came to God that compelled Him to share His intention concerning Sodom with Abraham,
The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?” Genesis 18:17
It followed that Abraham was moved in his heart to dissuade God from destroying the cities, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Genesis 18:23. Abraham was persistent and haggled with God in order to prevent judgment from descending upon the neighbouring Sodom and Gomorrah. It is no wonder that Abraham is found fitting to be blessed as a great nation because he had compassion for others; he wanted none to perish but people in the community to be saved.
Therefore, bearing that principle in mind, let us strive to unite the members of our church, family and community to create a brighter and more glorious future. The future has yet to be set in stone, it can be anything we want it to be. Only we must harbor a common identity, a common vision and destiny.
- Faith and nation building are two connected streams.
In order for our community and nation to be blessed, members must recognize that faith and national prosperity are inextricably connected. The prophet Micah warned the people on account of the wickedness of her administrative and religious leaders, that both the temple and the nation will be in ruins,
Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest. Micah 3:12
The prophecy expresses the unchanging principle: national prosperity and spirituality are connected streams feeding into each other! Therefore, churches must never behave as if they exist in their own spiritual world – where there is no nation, there is no local church. Many of their leaders teach prosperity based on their affiliation with Jesus supposing that is faith, but their members have no idea the roles they should play in their community and nation. Churches preach against other religions exacerbating cracks within the social fabric. They perceive salvation and national wellbeing as two independent streams. God involved Abraham in his deliberation concerning Sodom and Gomorrah because Abraham is chosen to build a mighty nation. How? By teaching his children and his community to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. God said concerning Abraham,
For I have chosen him (to become a great and mighty nation), so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” Genesis 18:18
The spirituality of religious leaders and their message will directly influence the prosperity of the nation.
Therefore, church leaders must endeavor to do the following:
- To include our nation’s wellbeing as a permanent prayer agenda.
- To promote justice, mercy and humility both in the church as well as in the family, workplace and community.
- To change the way we evangelize, not by tearing down the doctrine of other religions but to emphasize the keeping of the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. People do not believe what they hear believers say, but what they see believers do.
- Not to focus on obtaining personal prosperity, but to promote godliness and diligence at the workplace and to exercise mercy not by judging but by lifting up those who are weaker.
God has included nation building as part of Abraham’s blessing. Unless the church community adopt the unity and wellbeing of the community, of people from other faiths, and to influence workplace attitudes, we will never fully experience God’s manifold blessings that God has intended for the church.