If the act of eating the fruit from the tree began man’s slow diversion from the company of God, the passing of years and the emergence of generation after generation of Adam’s similarly deceived descendants only added to the estrangement. The waters of the flood failed to wash away our self-centered nature and our ancestral attempts to raise a monument to our own ingenuity only served to raise God’s wrath as the people were scattered and languages confused.
With our propensity to turn away, God’s next step seems strange … and beautiful.
God turned to a polytheist living in Ur of the Chaldeans. He gave this man a simple command with an astonishing promise.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3
The end of the previous chapter in Genesis makes it perfectly clear that this man who was called to be the father of a great nation had a wife who was barren. Yet, with the sound of the promise lingering in the air and the resolve to obey gathering strength in his spirit, the childless Abram looked into the eyes of nieces and nephews and prepared to leave most of them behind.
Of course as we read through the book of Genesis, we find the promise unfolding. Abram (now known as Abraham) and Sarai (now rechristened Sarah) have a son Isaac, who has two sons, who have 12 sons each.
You get the picture. A great nation is being formed from the one man who simply said “yes” when God said “go.”
But it’s only part of the picture. For hundreds and hundreds of years, the latter part of the promise remained an unfulfilled anticipation … until the birth of a child in a tiny Judean town.
Had the story ended there, though, the promise would yet remain unrealized.
The promise had to go through the agony of the cross to the triumph of the resurrection. The final fulfillment continues through the ages every time a heart turns to Christ. Day after day, all the world is being blessed through Abraham.
From all the men in the world, one was chosen.
From the one chosen, all are blessed.
Praise be to the God of Abraham …