I don’t know if you’re like me, but I often associate particular sections of scripture with the memories and events that were surrounding my life when those scriptures first came alive. Seventeen summers ago I went with my oldest son, Philip, on my first short-term mission trip to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to the construction, evangelism and mercy ministry we were doing for those two weeks, our team had a nightly time set aside for worship, testimonies and some teaching. One of those evenings our team leader had us all look up and think about Genesis 12:1-3.
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. 2 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. 3 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.”
As you probably know, Abram, through a covenant with God, became Abraham and was
the patriarch of the children of Israel. He is also known as an awesome “man of faith” listed in Hebrews 11.Through the study of these verses I gained some insights I think are worth sharing!
Let’s start with “blessing”. Now, God did in fact want to bless Abram! And He did! But, it was for the purpose of blessing others. The blessing received was for passing along “so that……in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. Why is this an important truth? Because we tend to think in terms of always wanting a blessing, but not always wanting to share the blessing! We tend to think of ourselves as “in need”, that we are containers absorbing the blessing but rarely as conduits or pipes carrying or releasing that same blessing of God’s power and presence and resources of heaven to a needy world.
God’s desire to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation and bless them was to demonstrate to the rest of the world how wonderful it would be to live in a relationship with the all-sufficient living God. Other nations would then see God’s power and design and choose to also follow Him. A theme throughout scripture is God’s desire for a family. It starts in Genesis and goes clear through Revelation (Rev.10:9). That’s what missions is. God’s desire to enlarge the family.
Another insight has to do with a phrase I like, that for me simplifies verse 1. When Abraham obeyed God he was “Going not knowing” He was leaving his family and everything familiar. Going, not knowing when he left his home, where God would take him. He had to fully trust God! Most of us have a hard time going or doing anything unfamiliar without figuring out all the possible outcomes. God’s call for us is to partner with Him in this process of family enlargement. It’s called being on mission!
I like the phrase “Going not knowing” because it speaks of his obedience in following God. Since that night I’ve kind of “owned”
these verses. What I mean by that is, the Holy Spirit came and brought an understanding so that I’m better able to navigate life’s circumstances from God’s perspective. This teaching was an encouragement to me, so I have tried to share it with others over the years. We are His family on a mission!