The Messianic life is a series of new beginnings. And in order to be in rhythm with that, often we need to regroup – refocus – and reconsider – so we can get what God is about. And once we get that, we’re able to get what we should be about. In that way, we need to get God and get going.
We’re all aware of the distinctive weather seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall. However, we’re not always aware of the distinctive life seasons of transient responsibilities, relationships, and ministry. Today’s taste of Torah records the seminal game-changing event in the life of Abraham that compels Abraham to literally physically relocate from one season of life to another.
Our text is Genesis 12:1-3. It reads: Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go out from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; 2 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; 3 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.”
This passage is the central text of what is known as the Abrahamic covenant. It records God’s call of Abraham out of ancient Babylon and the specific promises that were made to Abraham. God promised Abraham three things: a land, numerous offspring who would become a great nation, and a special blessing that would affect everyone on the earth. The land was Canaan. The numerous offspring who would become a great nation are the children of Israel. And ultimately the blessing referred to here is the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. These central themes of land, seed and blessing are later amplified and expanded in the subsequent unconditional biblical covenants of promise given to the Jewish people.
Another vantage point from which we can get a big-picture feel for the Abrahamic covenant, is to recognize that the promises God made to Abraham fell into three categories: personal, national, and universal.
Personal promises God gave to Abraham included a great name, vast wealth, and abundant spiritual blessing for himself. Scripture confirms these promises were fulfilled literally.
The national promise is that Abraham’s descendants would multiply and be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Gen. 22:17) and that God would give Abraham and his people the land of Canaan as their “everlasting possession” (17:8), with its boundaries extending from the river of Egypt in the west to the Euphrates River in the east and the land of the Hittites in the north (15:18–21). This means that regardless of present day political disputes, God has granted the title deed of the land of Israel to the Jewish people even though this land promise has not yet been fulfilled in its entirety.
And regarding the universal aspects of the Abrahamic covenant, God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham’s descendants (22:18). And again the ultimate fulfillment of this promise occurred through the ministry of Jesus the Messiah of Israel. Through His death and resurrection, Yeshua provided atonement for the whole world (Gal. 3:16).
Now concerning application, Abraham’s national promises also gave Israel a unique position as God’s barometer of blessing: Those nations that would bless Israel would be blessed and those that cursed Israel would be cursed (12:3; 27:29). Genuine Christian Zionism, of the biblical variety, is not just about education and advocacy, it’s also about evangelism. It rejects so-called “dual-covenant” theology as a lie from the pit. It realizes that the greatest blessing Israel can ever receive is the good news that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. And in terms of getting that message out we all do well to get God and get going!