“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.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.” Genesis 12:1-5
In the last part of our series we saw God call a man from the lineage of Shem, Noah’s son, to leave his country and travel to a land God would show him. That man’s name was Abram.
What we see in Genesis 12 is the next big reveal in God’s eternal plan.
It should be obvious by now in our study that God reveals His eternal plan ‘to’ people ‘for’ people. He revealed Himself to Adam and Eve, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem and Abram. God’s purpose? To ‘bless’ the people He created in His image and likeness.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28
“So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Genesis 9:1
“And he said: Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem …” Genesis 9:26
“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.” Genesis 12:2-3
God has chosen specific people throughout the distant past to bless people living now. We are blessed as the human race through Adam and Noah. We are blessed as Christians through Shem and Abram.
God promised Abram that “all the families of the earth” would be blessed through him. How would God do that? Through the Seed!
Let’s go back to the early part of this series for a moment to remember the primary purpose of God’s Great Reveal. It ties in perfectly with why God called Abram and promised to bless him and all families of the earth through him.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” 2 Timothy 1:8-9
“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior.” Titus 1:1-3
“… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:3-4
Here’s what God revealed to us about what He did before time began, before the foundation of the world –
- God the Father loved God the Son and the Son loved the Father
- God chose us in Christ
- God saved us and called us with a holy calling according to His own purpose and grace toward us in Christ
- God foreordained Christ’s death and resurrection
- God promised eternal life to us
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Seed promised in Genesis 3:15 –
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
As soon as the first human beings sinned against God, the Lord revealed His eternal plan:
** God determined in unlimited, unbounded eternity that Jesus Christ would die on the Cross, be buried, and rise from the dead. **
When God told Satan that He would put enmity between him and the woman, and between his seed and the woman’s Seed, God was revealing His eternal plan that Jesus, the Seed of the woman, would die on a Roman cross, be buried, and rise from the dead.
God eventually changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Here’s the short story.
A severe famine came to the land of Canaan soon after Abram moved his family there. Abram moved his family south to Egypt. Abram was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him because they would want Sarai, his wife, for themselves, so Abram told the Egyptians she was not his wife. Some of the princes told Pharaoh about Sarai and the Pharaoh took Sarai into his house. Pharaoh treated Abram well for Sarai’s sake and gave him sheep, oxen, male and female donkeys, camels, and male and female servants. However, the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house because of Sarai. Pharaoh discovered that Sarai was Abram’s wife and sent them away from Egypt allowing Abram to keep the animals and servants.
God visited Abram in a vision. Abram questioned God about how he was ‘childless’ and how the heir of his house would be Eliezer of Damascus. “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” (Genesis 15:3) God told Abram that the heir of his house would “come from your own body.” (Genesis 15:4) Abram believed God and the Lord “accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
When Abram was about 86-years-old his wife, Sarai, told Abram – “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16:2) Sarai’s maid was one of the female servants they received from Pharaoh in Egypt. Abram did as his wife asked and Hagar (Sarai’s maid) became pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael.
So, did God want the promised Seed to come through Ishmael? Was that God’s eternal plan? It was not.
13 years later, when Abram was 99, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and promised him that he would be the father of many nations and kings would come from him. God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah and told Abraham that she would bear him a son. God said He would bless Sarah and she would be a mother of nations and that kings would come from her. Abraham doubted God because of his and Sarah’s age and said he wished God would accept Ishmael. God responded this way – “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.” (Genesis 17:19) God said that His covenant with Isaac and his descendants would be “an everlasting covenant.” God said that Ishmael would be the father of “a great nation, But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” (Genesis 17:19-21) Sarah did conceive and gave birth to a son who Abraham called Isaac.
God tested Abraham’s faith many years later when he told Abraham to take Isaac to a mountain and sacrifice him. Abraham was obedient, but the Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham before he killed Isaac.
“Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Genesis 22:12
God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of Isaac. Abraham called the name of the place, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.” (Genesis 22:14)
God promised to bless Abraham and multiply his descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. God then said – “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
The Apostle Paul made it clear that the ‘seed’ God mentioned to Abraham was Jesus Christ –
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” Galatians 3:16
Isaac and The Seed
God told Isaac that He would bless him and all his descendants and again mentioned the importance of the ‘seed’ – “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the death shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Genesis 26:4-5)
Isaac married Rebekah when he was 40-years-old and was 60-years-old when he became the father of twins – Esau and Jacob. Who would God bless with the ‘seed?’ Esau or Jacob?
Rebekah felt a struggling inside her and asked God why. God told Rebekah that two ‘nations’ were in her womb and that two ‘peoples’ would be separated from her body. “One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.” Esau was born first, but Jacob took hold of Esau’s heel during their birth.
Many years later after Jacob had married and had children, God came to him in a dream and said – “your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14)
God’s eternal plan was to reveal His promised Seed through the lineage of Jacob. How did God do that? We’ll see next time as our series on The Great Reveal continues.
[You can read more about the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in our book A History of Man’s Quest for Immorality.]
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.