The Land of Promise

A seemingly small addendum to God’s original promise to bless Abraham is “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you” (Gen. 12:3). It is no small addendum, and it is not to be taken lightly or, perish the thought, forgotten. Hebrew is a picture language. The word “bless” is barakah. It means literally “to bend the knee” or to “show honor.” God was saying that He would honor those who honor Abraham’s people. To curse, on the other hand, means to “treat with contempt.” God will treat with contempt those who treat Abraham’s people with contempt.

I want to make the case that this blessing/cursing part of the promise has not been revoked or set aside – even today.  Let’s go back and start where the promise starts – “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Translation: get away from everything that you hold dear in this life and go to a place that you have never seen before….a foreign land.  God assured Abraham that it was a material land; all the land which you see (Gen. 13:15).

After Lot had chosen the beautiful parts of the land, God told Abram to walk through the parts that remained (the sand, the rocks, the scorpions) and said that it would all belong to him, even the parts that Lot had chosen (Gen. 13:17). Not only did God promise Abram that He would give him a land, but He said that He would give it to him and his descendants forever (Gen. 13:15). This is an unconditional promise based solely upon the decree of God. God gave it to Abram and his descendants with no hidden attachments or addendums. It was not based upon human merit or failure. God gave solely on the basis of who He is, not on the basis of who Abraham was.

Unconditional covenants from God are always marked out with the words “I will.” “I will” means that what God says, He will do. From that point forward, the land belonged to Abraham and to his descendants through his wife, Sarah. Abraham had other children through Hagar and Ketura, but the promise did not include them. The promise was reaffirmed to Abraham’s son, Isaac (Gen. 26:3–4). The land was occupied for a time by the Canaanites, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and others, but God passed the land promise down to Isaac’s son, Jacob (Gen. 35:12). It did not stop there. The promise was passed on to Moses (Ex. 6:2–8). After the death of Moses, God renewed the promise with Joshua (Josh. 1:2).

But hold it. God did not have in mind the land that Abraham saw with his physical eyes during this life. Remember he waited for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Paul’s words come into play here (2 Cor. 4:16-18).  We are not to lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day. Our light, momentary affliction is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. Things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

God’s original call to Abraham was to go to a land that could be seen, but Abraham was to learn to take his eyes off the gift (the land) and place them squarely on the Giver. This visible land is tied to our spiritual heritage in Abraham which is Jesus Christ, our coming King, and His kingdom – a land that goes way beyond that which is seen with the eyes. This was a magnificent truth that God wanted Abraham to see through the eyes of faith. It went far beyond the seen. It would be a land that will one day blossom like a rose (Isa. 35:1). It will be a land restored to its original garden of Eden look. “Creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20-21). Stay safe and stay tuned