It is hard to look at any one text in the Bible and say that it is more important than any other text of the Bible. Since the whole Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit as God’s Words, it is all equally valid and useful for growth in the grace and knowledge of our King, Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, there are those passages that are particularly vital and important to knowing what God is up to in his rescue and restoration plan for the world.
We came across just such a passage in our sermon series on The Whole Story this last Sunday. As we began our exploration into Genesis 12-50, we read what is arguably the most important text between the Creation account and the birth of Christ — Genesis 12:1-3:
Yahweh 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.” (NIV)
What hope! God’s blessing is dependent on God, and not me. See how many times he says “I will…I will…I will.”
Now, it is true there are things that I must do in response to God’s blessings and promises, and as a result of my love for him (cf. Exodus 20:6: Matthew 22:34-40; John 14:15). At the same time, what we learned in the Genesis account is the truth that at every point of failure and folly in Abraham’s story (and the successive generations), God restated his blessing, promises, and covenant. The fulfillment of those blessings and promises are on his initiative, and dependent on his steadfast love and faithfulness. Not my initiative, or steadfast love and faithfulness. Again, what hope!
If you would like to continue exploring this truth, and further implications of this section of The Whole Story found in Genesis 12-50, the resources below would make a great start:
- Review last week’s sermon on Genesis 12-50.
- The covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 12-50 is one in a line of his covenant dealings with us as his people and family. You could watch this 5 minute video from the Bible Project to get a great overview of this theme in The Whole Story.
- Download the study guide found here (scroll down the page a bit) to study the covenant theme in The Whole Story.
Finally, remember our sentence summary for Genesis 12-50?
God promises to bless rebellious humanity through the family of Abraham, despite their constant failure and folly.
Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on Genesis 12—50.
As always, please feel free to email me with questions or ideas for The Whole Story. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, when we will begin the next chapter of the drama by studying Exodus 1-18. Be sure to read it before you come!
Seeking Jesus, the point of The Whole Story, with you,
This last week we made our way through the book of Numbers. We learned how this book, filled with some pretty famous Sunday School type of stories, is also shot-through with the sad themes of unbelief and rebellion. It is shocking how a people who experienced so many displays of God’s faithfulness could still be ungrateful and unsatisfied with his provision and timing. Which ironically makes it so relevant for our study, for we all struggle with being satisfied with the circumstances of our lives.
It is the backdrop of Leviticus — with its thousands of priests and millions of sacrifices — that causes the beauty of the work of Jesus — the one priest, and the once for all sacrifice — to shine all the more brilliantly.
There are a number of major themes that weave their way through the whole story of the Bible: covenant, kingdom, and temple, just to name a few. This last Sunday we looked at the theme of God’s presence in each of the sections of the story that we have covered thus far (Genesis 1-11, Genesis 12-50, and Exodus 1-18), and then how this idea of God’s presence comes into a bit of a sharper focus in Exodus 19-40.
I think it is probably safe to say that there are two great peaks in the mountain range of God’s rescue and restoration of the earth. What the cross-resurrection event is to the New Testament, the exodus is to the Old Testament. In each case, the great redemptive salvation act (exodus/cross) produces the covenant community of God’s people (Israel/church) who are called to serve God and his universal mission.
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