In the reading this week drawn from Genesis 12: 1 17: 27, the Creator tells Abram He is going to bless the world through his descendants. In case you’re thinking He’s talking about all people, including biological and even spiritual descendents, He’s really not. He’s talking about Jews.
The same covenant was repeated to both Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of the Jewish people. Because Abram was willing to trust God enough to leave his home, family, occupation, and his comfort zone and go to an unknown land, God knew he could trust Abram with the privilege of being Abraham, the Father of Nations.
The promise reads, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3, Complete Jewish Bible).
Together, we call this the Abrahamic covenant or Abrahamic promise. These seven succinct statements lay the foundation for the rest of the Bible.
I will make of you a great nation.
Even though Jews are in the minority of the world’s population (less than .02 percent), there was a time when the Nation was great. Deuteronomy 4:6 says that when Israel followed the Torah, people would say, “This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.” I think people would say this about Jews today. Jews are few in number, spread throughout the world; yet, there is something great about my people.
I will bless you.
God gave to Abraham’s descendents a magnificent legal code, the Torah. It wasn’t just a bunch of rules and regulations. It was a wonderful way (the real meaning of “torah”) of life. It promised incalculable blessings if followed, which it often was.
I will make your name great.
Who hasn’t heard of Abraham? Who hasn’t heard of Abraham’s descendents? Even though he lived 4,000 years ago, he is the paragon of a man of faith, setting the standard for billions of people throughout the years.