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philologos
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 Abraham, My Friend_08



Abraham, My Friend
The Making of a Praying Man

Chapter Two: The Blessing

Be thou a blessing.

It is wonderful to consider the way in which God, who measures the cosmos with a single span, is able and willing to focus on a single individual. I sometimes think of it as one of those ‘zooming in’ sequences we see in films and adverts. This is one of the wonders of the Bible revelation of God. Some religions have a god who is so transcendent that nothing on earth touches Him; one worldwide religion teaches that if the whole world were saved it would give God no pleasure, and if the whole world were lost He would shed no tears. Some religions teach that god is constantly ‘under our feet’; he is everywhere, in every stone and stream and must be placated with careful sacrifice and ritual. The Bible teaches that God is, at one and the same time, Transcendent and Immanent. (immanent means ’permanently everywhere’, imminent means ‘about to happen’.) Although the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, He holds all things in His hands, and, at the same time, He is here. Go on, tell yourself some truth, speak the words, “He is here”.

Abraham was a descendent of Shem and hence Semitic. He was also a descendent of Eber and hence Hebrew. [Gen 11:10,15, 26] However, there was nothing inherently remarkable about Abraham, until God chose Him. It seems that when God embarks upon a campaign of reclamation He always chooses a human beachhead. My dictionary tells me that a beachhead is ‘a military term for a fortified position established on a beach by landing forces’. When God was about to reclaim the human race in the days of Genesis 6, He chose ‘a fortified position’ who we know better as Noah. In Noah, God had landed. God re-peopled the earth from this ‘fortified position’ and the immediate danger of a world taken over by a race graphically described in Gen 6:5 was averted… the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. What a terrible description… only evil, continually. Invariably, unendingly evil. The flood was an act of mercy for our race.

There is an important truth to grasp from the story of Noah and the Flood. God’s covenant of salvation was made with Noah. Read Genesis 6-9 again, if possible in an archaic translation that will let you see the personal pronoun ‘thou’. God’s dealings were all with Noah. God’s covenant of salvation was with Noah personally. All those who enjoyed that salvation are described by their relationship to Noah himself; Noah, Noah’s wife, Noah’s sons, the wives of Noah’s sons. Everything hinges on Noah. God’s promises are to Noah but those who are rightly related to Noah benefit from them.

God’s purpose with Abraham was different, but he too would become God’s beachhead. In Abraham, God had landed. God’s promises to Abraham were all made to Abraham personally. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. [Gen 12:2,3] We notice again that the blessings are all personal to Abraham and the relationship of others to Abraham will determine their destiny and their own blessing, or otherwise.

I wonder what Abraham made of the first part, I will make of thee a great nation. We need to put ourselves into Abraham’s sandals and think what did he understand from this. How did he understand nationhood? How do we? In the 3rd Century BC the Old Testament was translated into Greek. For the Hebrew word ‘nation’ the Greek Septuagint translation used ‘ethnos’. Ethnos can mean a nation state, but it can also mean a people bound together by a culture and history. I doubt that Abraham was thinking in terms of nation states and dynasties, but here was a promise that Abraham would not remain alone. Others would be added who would share his culture and history, and his destiny. Abraham’s people ultimately would be identified by their trust in God and their abandonment to Him.

And what a wonderful word this is; I will bless thee. People can bless people; Melchizedek will bless Abraham, Jacob will bless Pharaoh, but what a promise this is that God would take personal charge of Abraham’s blessing. We shall see Abraham later, turning from those who would bless him in earthly ways, lifting his hand and rejecting all riches that did not come from God. This is a challenge to our day. What do we want? Do we want blessing or do we want God’s blessing? In some circles we hear that kind of language, “have you received the blessing?” What are we seeking, blessings or the Blesser?

The blessing continues with promises that God will make thy name great; literally I will cause it to grow. With God, growth is always more important than size. Growth is a sign of life, size is not. Consider the lilies, see how big they are? No, consider the lilies, how they grow. How do they grow, by the way? They abide in the place of their planting, and God brings everything necessary to them, in the place of their abiding. Strange, isn’t it, that some people will cross oceans to get a blessing, when all they needed to do was abide in the place of God’s choosing?

And the last personal word of the blessing? The KJV says and thou shalt be a blessing, but the ASV translators spotted something that they were able to capture in their version. They noticed that the mood of the verb was imperative; that is to say not a promise but a command. I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing. Abraham would be blessed. There was no doubt about it, but the ultimate purpose of Abraham’s blessing was not his own personal benefit, but that he, in turn, would become a blessing... in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

He was to be God’s beachhead; a fortified position established on a beach by landing forces. He was just the starting place for an amazing campaign of reclamation; so are you. The blessings that God brings into your life are not intended to make you a shining museum trophy. You are God’s point of contact with those men and women around you. In you, God has landed. You are the way in which God has determined to bless men and men around you. It’s the way we faith-sons of Abraham (of either gender), do things. It is part of our culture and history; it’s the way we do things in our family.

be thou a blessing… in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/22 8:30Profile
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Posts: 202
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

 Re: Abraham, My Friend_08

Ron, In the United States, and some parts of Canada the message Abe#8 would be coloquially called a HOMERUN!
When you said:
"The blessings that God brings into your life are not intended to make you a shining museum trophy. You are God’s point of contact with those men and women around you. In you, God has landed. You are the way in which God has determined to bless men and men around you. It’s the way we faith-sons of Abraham (of either gender), do things. It is part of our culture and history; it’s the way we do things in our family.

be thou a blessing… in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. "

The above is, the definative statement about why God doesn't normally take us straight away to heaven, after He makes us His.
Clutch ;-)


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Howard McNeill

 2004/1/22 10:18Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Hi Clutch
I have absolutely no idea what a HOMERUN is. I presume it is baseball related? We have a game with some similarities over here called cricket. It's sort of baseball on valium. :-P
His/Yours
Ron


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/22 12:30Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

Quote:
How do they grow, by the way? They abide in the place of their planting, and God brings everything necessary to them, in the place of their abiding. Strange, isn’t it, that some people will cross oceans to get a blessing, when all they needed to do was abide in the place of God’s choosing?


Thats an awesome point Ron! Every single believer can access God's blessing where they are.God is here with me [i]right now[/i], what an awesome truth.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/1/22 17:16Profile
Clutch
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Oak Ridge, Tennessee

 Re: Abraham, My Friend_08

Hi Ron,
Based on the truth that you pointed out:
"The Bible teaches that God is, at one and the same time, Transcendent and Immanent. (immanent means ’permanently everywhere’, imminent means ‘about to happen’.) Although the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, He holds all things in His hands, and, at the same time, He is here. Go on, tell yourself some truth, speak the words, “He is here”."
There is no distance in the spirit. He is here, He is there, He is here and there. When we pray for one another, regardless of the distance between us,; that prayer in Jesus name has the same authority, as if we were in the same room together.
Clutch ;-)


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Howard McNeill

 2004/1/22 17:53Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi Clutch
The Family of God is a wonderful thing. I am really enjoying by fellowship with many on this site. It is impossible to define but I have a growing sense that we 'belong to one another'. In our home church here in Reading UK we sing a lot of old Wesley hymns. We have a favourite that was originally a wedding hymn but which we sing as a celebration of 'the fellowship of the saints'. I have posted it in Great Quotes.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/22 23:18Profile
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Joined: 2003/11/10
Posts: 202
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

 Re:

Hi Ron,
That'll preach! Sounds like Eph.4:11-13.
Clutch :-P


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Howard McNeill

 2004/1/23 7:55Profile
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 Re:

Hi Clutch
Do you mean the hymn?
It will certainly preach. I can be a bit ruthless with hymns. Some are a bit sugary. I work on the prinicple that if I can't preach from it I don't really want to waste my time singing it. Perhaps, I am getting old? Spiritual nursery rhymes don't do much for me these days. :-P


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/23 9:33Profile
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 Re: Abraham, My Friend_08

Once again, outstanding Ron!

Quote:
Abraham would be blessed. There was no doubt about it, but the ultimate purpose of Abraham?s blessing was not his own personal benefit, but that he, in turn, would become a blessing... in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.



This is something that hits home with me as I've been praying in earnest that the cross would make a deeper channel in my life through which blessing would flow to those around me.

When speaking of being a blessing to others, my pastor sometimes uses the negative illustration of the Dead Sea. That sea is fed by the Jordan but it has no outflow. This results in a high concentration of minerals in the water which prevents any marine life from prospering, hence the name.

Thank you Ron, for challenging and blessing us in our walk.

Ron-the-younger (only 41) :-P


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Ron Halverson

 2004/1/23 10:43Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi All
Thanks for all your encouragements. I am having a great time just meditating on Abraham and passing it on.

I am so challenged by this man and thrilled by the way God took him and shaped him. You realise of course that he would have passed none of our credal standards and would have failed most theological tests for orthodoxy. Most of our churches wouldn't have accepted him into membership, and our mission boards would have frowned on his eschatology.

In fact, the only thing he had going for him was that he learned to recognise when God was speaking to him, and did as he was bidden.

All that we know more than he knew has its rightful place in our understanding of God, but if we know all that we know but still don't know what he knew we don't know what we need to know and we will never amount to much in God's purpose.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/23 13:24Profile





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