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,
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.