podcast

#1,253 – God’s Chosen People (Genesis 12:1–3)

Pray The Word
Genesis
12
1-3
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“Now the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you and I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. 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.'”
-Genesis 12:1–3

Let’s put together what we’ve prayed for in the last couple of podcast episodes in Genesis 10 and 11, now, with Genesis 12. So Genesis 10, we see this picture of many different nations, tribes, clans, people groups, ethnic groups. Genesis Chapter 11 is different groups speak different languages. And we see from the very beginning of the Bible now, in Genesis Chapter 12, God calling a specific people group who would come from Abraham, whose name will be called Abraham, who will be the father of the people of Israel.

The mission of God to make his glory known, his goodness known, his grace, his blessing, his salvation known among all the nations.

So God is here forming the Israelites and God is promising to bless this particular people group nation. “I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse.” And we see more and more as we read through Genesis, God establishing a special covenant relationship with the people of Israel. But don’t miss the point, the purpose. God says, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So God is saying, “I’m going to bless the people of Israel in a special way, but not ultimately, just for the sake of the people of Israel. I’m going to bless the people of Israel so that all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So the people of Israel, the Israelites, were set up to be a conduit of God’s blessing to all the families of the earth, to all the nations, tribes and peoples of the earth, that they would all know the goodness of God through God’s relationship with the people of Israel.

So that’s what we see all throughout the Old Testament. We see God saying, “I want to bless you so that you might be a conduit of my blessing to all the nations of the earth,” which is why it’s no surprise then when Jesus comes, the Jewish Messiah promised all throughout the Old Testament, and he comes not just to provide salvation for Jewish people. The whole thrust of the New Testament is this is not just for the Jews. This is salvation for the Gentiles. This is salvation for all the nations, which is why Jesus says after dying on the cross and rising from the grave, he looks at this Jewish band of disciples and he says, “Go and make disciples, not among all the Jewish people. Make disciples of all the nations, among all the ethnic groups.” So don’t miss it. The mission of God to make his glory known, his goodness known, his grace, his blessing, his salvation known among all the nations.

It doesn’t just start in Matthew Chapter 28 with The Great Commission. It starts in the very beginning of the Bible. Well, first, in the creation of all people made in his image. But then specifically here in Genesis Chapter 12 is when now we have different people groups in the world and him promising to bless this people for the spread of his blessing to all peoples. And so now think about your life, my life, as we are followers of Jesus in his church who have experienced blessing from God beyond what we could ever deserve. Salvation from God, mercy from God, we have been blessed to say the least. And that’s not even talking about all the physical ways that God has blessed most people who are listening to this podcast and in so many other ways. So why has God blessed us in all these ways? And Genesis Chapter 12 beckons us to not miss the point, to not miss the purpose. God blesses his people for the spread of his blessing, his grace, and his glory to all the peoples of the earth.

In other words, God’s blessing was never intended to stop with you or center on you or me. God’s blessing is intended to spread through you, to spread through me. God intends you and me to be a conduit of his blessing to the nations, which is why global mission to the nations is not, definitively not, a compartmentalized program in the church for a select few people over there. It’s for every single person blessed by God. We have been invited by God, ordained by God, designed by God to be a conduit of his blessing to all the nations. This is why we would pray continually for the spread of the gospel to all nations and lay our lives down and our families down and our churches down, our resources down and say, “God, use us. God, use us to accomplish your purpose. We praise you, oh God, for your blessing in our lives. We praise you for your salvation. Oh God, thank you for saving us from our sin. Thank you for saving us from hell. Thank you for restoring us, redeeming us, reconciling us to yourself.

“Bring us into relationship with you. All glory be to your name for your grace and your mercy in our lives. And as we praise you for your blessing in our lives we pray that you would make us conduits of your blessing in others’ lives. God, we pray that you’d help us to lead people around us, to know your blessing, to know your grace, your mercy in Christ. God, we pray that you’d help us to make disciples right where we live. And God, in light of Genesis Chapter 12, Verse Three, we pray that through your blessing in our lives, all the families of the earth shall be blessed, all the nations and tribes and clans and peoples and languages of the earth shall be blessed. God through us, God, may it be so. God help us to connect your blessing in our lives with your purpose in the world. We pray that you would spend us for your glory among the nations a little bit of time we have on this earth.

“In our lives, we’re in families and we’re in churches, God, we pray that you would forgive us for how we so often neglect the nations who’ve never heard of your grace and your mercy and your love, how we have compartmentalized missions into an optional program in the church. God, help us to pray and to give and to live to see your glory known among all the nations. Whether that’s going, much like you call Abraham to step out and go here, or whether that’s sending supporting brothers and sisters who are going to places where the Gospel hasn’t been heard, God, we pray that you would spend our lives here making the Gospel known right around us, wherever you lead, until all the nations know your grace and your mercy and your blessing according to your purpose.” In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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