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You Shall Be a Blessing

Posted May 08, 2010 by Adrian Ebens in Family and Community
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We continue to look at the blessing system that was given to Abraham in Genesis 12. God promised to bless Abraham and make his name great. We noticed in the previous chapter that the greatness of Abraham depended in large measure upon the attitude and position of his wife towards him. The greater her devotion and respect to her husband the greater his name becomes. Now we turn to the next aspect of the blessing system

Gen 12:2 You shall be a blessing

This introduces the whole concept of agency. God states emphatically that Abraham would be a blessing; blessing would flow from him. How far would it flow? Let us notice

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The Importance of Agency

Please do not miss this point. God would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham. The only way that God’s blessing can be received is through him. This is why everyone must become children of Abraham to receive the blessing.

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.

Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

From a Christian perspective, why do we need to become children of Abraham? Do we not only need Christ? Why do we need Abraham? This is an extremely important question. The promises of the covenant were made with Abraham. The very coming of Christ was a fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham. Let us remember as Christians that we do not stand independent of Abraham, we had to be grafted into Israel to inherit the promises made to Abraham.

Rom 11:18-21 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

We could spend a lot of time on this subject but the vital point is that God provided His blessings through an agent. In terms of the blessings of God, He deals with us through an agent; He does not deal with us directly. So what is the point of all this?

We need to revisit the whole issue of the wisdom of God. You may recall that when we looked at the wisdom of God, that God brought forth His Son, His agent, and made him the foundation of the government of God. Why? Because the Father cannot be our example in all things. Why? Because God submits to no one, and does not obey anybody else and this is not a model that we can follow. Therefore God works through submitted agencies of whom the Son of God is the chief and most glorious.

Satan did not want to deal with the agency of the Son of God, he wanted to deal direct. This is where the whole controversy centers – the rejection of God’s appointed agency.

Can you see why God established a blessing system that requires us to work through an agency? We can all claim to submit to the agency of Christ because we cannot see Him, but to submit to a visible agency is a fitting test to see whether we will submit to God’s work through agency.

In the blessing system God established, Abraham acts as a type of Christ. He is an agent through which all of God’s blessings flow. This is exactly how it is with Christ. All of God’s blessings come to us through Christ. We can only be blessed in submission to the agency of Christ. If we reject Christ, we are rejecting the one He represents.

1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

In His supreme wisdom, God extended this principle into the life of Abraham and made him an example of Christ; an agent through whom all His blessings flow. Notice carefully how important our connection to Abraham is.

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The Centre of the Controversy is Over Agency

Those who respect and submit to God’s appointed agent are blessed; they connect themselves to God through His agent. Those who curse or reject the agency of Abraham will disconnect from the blessing channel and be cursed. Note carefully that you cannot curse God’s agent, the curse will always come back on you.

Up until this point, many people could accept this system, but on the basis that the agent never does the wrong thing. If you think carefully about what I just said, you should then ask – how do I know if the agent has done the wrong thing? This raises a number of issues concerning authority and how we relate to it:

  1. If we think the agent is wrong, how can we be sure we are not wrong?
  2. If we are sure the agent is wrong, how do we deal with it?

These two questions are at the heart of the Great Controversy. Satan thought that God was wrong to appoint His Son as the only agent through which His blessings would flow. How did he deal with it? By trying to win the support of others to undermine the authority of the agent and cause a split or division and then force God to amend His decision.

The story of Genesis gives us a clear guide on what to do in a situation when an agent fails, for Abraham did fail at times. Genesis 20 provides us a perfect example of how the children of Abraham should deal with failed agency.


The Failure with Sarah

It should come as no surprise that if Sarah was the key to making Abraham’s name great, then Sarah was the key target of Satan to destroy the blessing system. Satan worked on Abraham’s fears and sense of self preservation to cause him to harm his wife.

Gen 20:13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

This is a very sad verse and it affects all of us in the channel of blessing. In line with Gen 3:16, Sarah's desire was toward her husband, he was her strength, her joy, her boast - her man.

To think that he caused her in every place to deny the one thing that was most precious to her, her relationship to her husband. Why did he do this to her? Why did he cause her this pain. Fear, the inheritance from Adam in the garden. He feared for his life and then practised a custom that would bring death. The insecurity that Sarah experienced increased her sense of worthlessness and drove her to ask her husband to take her servant to have a child.

I have often wondered how she could do this! But when you can see that Abraham asked her to deny their relationship in every place, Sarah could have started to feel so worthless and then to not be able to have a child, it seemed as though God was cursing her as well. She appears to have gone so low in her sense of worth that she willingly allowed another woman to take her husband.

How difficult do you think it would have been to respect her husband considering the fact that he was denying their relationship in many places where they travelled. Could Sarah have been tempted to reject the agency of her husband as a channel of blessing? But what did she do? Peter picks up the story and shares an important point.

1 Pet 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Sarah continued to place herself in subjection to her husband even when he was not obeying the Word to care for and protect his wife. She still called him lord or master and submitted herself to him. Thank you Sarah for such a beautiful example of submission in the most trying situation.

She remembered the covenant she was in with her husband and she did not walk away from him but continued to submit to him trusting that God would rectify the situation.

The Failure with Abimelech

This principles extended beyond Sarah and the next example in the same chapter is simply amazing.

Gen 20:1-7 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

Here is a difficult lesson to learn for all of us. Abimelech did nothing wrong. Abraham lied about his relationship to his wife and yet Abimelech was threatened with death if he touched Sarah. On top of this God tells Abimelech that Abraham was a prophet and that Abraham would pray for him and he would live.

There are many lessons here for us to learn about dealing with failed agency. For most of us this story seems completely unjust. Abraham was in the wrong. Abimelech should have prayed for Abraham! But Abraham was the chosen agent, the agent of blessing and God was in a covenant with him.

The appeal from Abimelech to Abraham to pray for him, would remind Abraham of his covenant identity and cause him to resume his proper place as God’s agent. The key to restoring Abraham was not to take from him his position but to give it to him in a greater measure as a means of reminding him of his proper role.

This story reveals to us that the key to dealing with failed agencies (authorities) is to increase the role of submission as a means of awakening the true identity of the agent. Rebellion meant death. If Abimelech had reacted in self-righteous anger and accused Abraham of deceit and attacked him, he would have cursed himself. For as God stated “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” It is a fearful thing to curse God’s agency, especially when they are in the wrong.

What lessons does this have for us today? Are we dealing with a failed agency in our lives? Is there leadership over us that is not doing what God has asked of them? If we are truly children of Abraham, how should we respond?