Beresheet (Genesis) 12:1–17:27
This week’s reading brings us to some very important verses, which hold some of the most important, foundational principles in all of Scripture. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most misquoted and misunderstood verses in Scripture, often taken out of context and misapplied. But we must understand how relevant they still are to us today, especially when understood in their proper context:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; 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; 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 shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1–3)
I want to point out three important points for us all to understand:
The first point has to do with the issue of faith. God told Abram to “Go”, to leave everything he knew, loved, and trusted, and go to an unknown place. God gave Abram some great promises but it was ultimately Abram’s choice to trust God and obey Him, which shows us the important connection between believing and action that must follow, i.e. faith and works.
The second point is that we find here the beginning of a very special relationship between our Creator and a people group that He chose for His own possession. It is a relationship that began in the form of an unconditional covenant, through which we can see God’s amazing faithfulness and unlimited grace. This same covenant appears again later on in our parasha (weekly portion) in greater detail:
But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.” (Genesis 17:19–21)
My dear brothers and sisters, the mere fact that I sit in my office in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, is great proof that our God is faithful, and that those promises of old are still valid today!
Note that God said “My covenant”; this is His covenant, and therefore no one can break it since He is the instigator of it, and it belongs to Him. God is faithful, and He is true to His promises regardless of our obedience. There is a false teaching making the rounds that God is finished with Israel because of the Jewish people’s disobedience over the millennia and their collective rejection of Yeshua the Messiah. Just one week ago, I received a comment on something I had written saying that, “Israel is no longer in covenant with God; that was broken when Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces if silver. To promote that this current state of Israel is still in covenant with God is error and misleading.” Anyone who believes in such heresy is saying that God is not faithful, that He is a liar, and that He cannot be trusted. (God forbid!)
The most important point here, and yet one more proof that our God is faithful to His promises, is found in these words, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Rav Shaul (the Apostle Paul) referred to this promise when he wrote:
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Messiah.” (Galatians 3:16)
Through God’s promise to Abraham, we can clearly see how He points to Messiah. Through His promise, we also find evidence of God’s endless love for us, in that He provided a way for us to return to Him through the Seed of blessing – Messiah Yeshua – from the very beginning of time.
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