© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 18 October 2016
4A9. God’s Covenantal gifts, in grace,
to Abraham and his chosen descendants:
God UNCONDITIONALLY promised:-
(a) To make Abraham into a great nation
(b) To bless him
(c) To make his name great
(d) To bless those who blessed him
(e) To curse those who cursed him
4A9(title) God’s Covenantal gifts, in grace, to Abraham and his chosen descendants
In His grace, God had already provided for the ongoing physical existence of all people after the FLOOD and let them retain many of their original capabilities [3A9].
Now He made four core Covenantal declarations to Abraham Gen 12:2d,3c, 17:7b,8 [4A3(c), 4A5, 4A8(b)(i, ii)]. God further expanded on these with five other specific Covenantal promises Gen 12:2a,2b,2c, 3a,3b.
These five vast promises basically outlined the intended scope of God’s declarations of blessing to Abraham Gen 12:2d,3c [4A5(sub-title)]. They were simply announced by God, given freely in grace, and were key parts of His Covenantal package. He was going to make Himself known TO all other peoples worldwide eventually THROUGH His blessing of Abraham. This would be shown by the greatness of Abraham and the nation of his chosen descendants!
4A9(sub-title) God UNCONDITIONALLY promised
The ongoing historical narrative in Genesis outlined the saga of Abraham and the first three generations of his descendants. There were many situations that gravely threatened them. Yet God’s declarations and promises were UNCONDITIONAL. They began to be implemented regardless of circumstances, often miraculously [4A6]. This emphasised that only God could fulfil them. It also demonstrated that they were simply to be accepted and believed. Because He was unchanging, they were certain to be fulfilled!
The five promises are outlined below in the order that they occur in Gen 12:2-3.
4A9(a) To make Abraham into a great nation
God promised Abraham that He would “make you into a great nation” Gen 12:2a even before he had any descendants. God later promised that Abraham would “surely become a great and powerful nation” Gen 18:18a who would “take possession of the cities of their enemies” Gen 22:17c. Initially God mentioned only one “nation”, referring to Abraham’s chosen, Covenantal descendants. This was to be the nation whose greatness would be due to the blessing of God as seen in their God-influenced culture and history.
God also promised that Abraham’s heritage would actually include many other nations and their kings Gen 17:4-5,6,16d. But these would not be central to how He would be accomplishing His primary purpose.
4A9(b) To bless him
This was primarily a personal promise to Abraham himself Gen 12:2b. Yet the preceding promise implied that it referred to His chosen descendants as well. It was also closely related to God’s declaration to Abraham to “be a blessing!” Gen 12:2d [4A5]. That is, THROUGH God’s blessing of Abraham he would bring God’s blessing TO others!
4A9(c) To make his name great
Again this was primarily a personal promise to Abraham himself Gen 12:2c. As a statement of God’s intention, this strikingly contrasted with the self-glorifying intentions of the men of Babel (“so that we may make a name for ourselves” Gen 11:4b [3B30(b) and 4A3(sub-title)]).
God had already promised to make Abraham into a great nation. Inevitably this would exalt the greatness of the name of Abraham, the nation’s original patriarch. Actually the nation of his descendants became known by the name of his grandson Israel. Yet their God was often called the “God of Abraham”! [4A1(b)(iii)]. There could be no greater “greatness” than this!
4A9(d) To bless those who blessed him
This promise Gen 12:3a had to do with the responses of other people and nations to Abraham and his chosen descendants. If positive and favorable, those peoples also would share in the blessings of God upon Abraham and His chosen nation Israel. So God would be accomplishing His primary purpose positively THROUGH them also!
4A9(e) To curse those who cursed him
There was the possibility of other nations responding negatively to God’s blessing upon Abraham and Israel. This would result in God’s “curse” upon those nations Gen 12:3b, the opposite of His blessing. It would be in the form of adverse circumstances and devastating outcomes. Yet God would be still accomplishing His primary purpose THROUGH them, but negatively.
Arrow 4A8 -> 4A9
This arrow indicates that God’s Covenantal gifts to Abraham and his chosen descendants, in grace, demonstrated His ongoing commitment to them [4A8(sub-title)]. He was UNCONDITIONALLY promising to give His enabling and provide all the necessary resources for them to carry out His Covenantal commission [see 4A11].