God's Grace for the Nations (Genesis 17:5) - Radical

God’s Grace for the Nations (Genesis 17:5)

“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.”
– Genesis 17:5

Genesis 17:5 is so significant to understand in the story of scripture as we think about God’s grace in Abraham’s life, the father of the people of Israel, the Israelites, who would come from Abraham’s line. But we hear from the very beginning that it wasn’t just about the biological descendants of Abraham, the Israelites, the Jewish people. It wasn’t just about this bloodline. God was blessing Abraham to make him a father of faith that would transcend bloodline, that would transcend biological line to include a multitude of nations. This is where it’s so important to realize.

God wants His glory to be made known among all the nations. May we be faithful to pray for the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth.

So when we think about the word mission or missions, like the spread of the Gospel to the nations, we almost think about that like it’s like a program over here, kind of a side thing in the church. The people who are really passionate about that, yeah, they talk about missions, but for the rest of us, Christianity really isn’t too focused on missions. We’ve got to realize that totally misses the point of the Bible. From the very beginning of the Bible, God, and he’s been saying it up until now, “I want you to multiply and fill the whole earth, subdue it.” Genesis 1, we saw the same thing in Genesis 9, Genesis 12, God blesses Abraham, saying, “I’m going to bless you so that all the peoples of the earth will be blessed.”

This Verse Shows That God’s Grace Should Spread Through Us

And here it is again. “You’ll be the father of a multitude of nations.” God is making clear from the very beginning of his word and it’s where his word ends and it’s everywhere in between that he wants all nations, all peoples to know and enjoy his blessing and exalt his glory like Abraham, and God’s blessing on the people of Israel was not just intended for the people of Israel and Abraham’s biological line. And the same way that God’s blessing is not just for you or for me. Like it’s not intended, God’s grace is not intended to stop with us. It’s intended to spread through us to all the nations, which is why we in our Christian lives, like on a daily basis in our churches, we must think about mission as much more all encompassing, and this side thing for a few people.

Genesis 17:5 Prays For The Uzbek People

No, this is the purpose of God from the beginning of time, throughout all his word and in every one of our lives. He wants his glory made known among all the nations, which is why we need to be praying. Like, all of us need to be praying for the spread of the Gospel to the nations. Like specifically I think about the northern Uzbeks today in Uzbekistan. Over 25 million of them, .01% gospel-believing. You can do the math. That’s just a relative few number of believers and 25 million Uzbeks in northern was Uzbekistan.

So this isn’t just a side thing. We all pray for the spread of the Gospel among northern Uzbeks. And we all say, “God, how might you use our lives to get the gospel to them? And this has been your purpose ever since Abraham, and we are joined in it now. So use our lives and our churches toward that end.” God we pray. Forgive us. Forgive us for thinking of mission, missions as some compartmentalized program in the church for a select few people. God, deliver us from this kind of thinking. We pray that we would all see our lives in the context of mission. You have given us a blessing. Every single one of us blessed by you for the spread of your blessing to all the peoples of the earth.

Genesis 17:5 Wants To Bring Faith To The Uzbeks

So God use us toward that end. Use everyone of our lives toward that end. God raise up, send some out to the Uzbeks in northern Uzbekistan. Please, oh God, please, please. There’s 25 million of them, oh God. So God, please cause them to hear your gospel and to believe it. Bring them into the line of the faith of Abraham, those who are trusting in you, your grace for righteousness.

So God, please cause it to happen among the northern Uzbeks in Uzbekistan. God cause it to happen in people’s lives all around us as we share the Gospel and wherever you might lead us. Peoples around the world, please, oh God, bring in the nations. Bring in more and more nations. All the people groups in the world. Bring them to know your grace and your love. In Jesus, we pray. So this faith to spread to every corner of the earth and use every one of our lives and churches toward that end. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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