Abraham is one of the most interesting people in the Bible. Out of all the people on the earth, God approached this one man and made a covenant with him. Why him?
The only reason we know of Biblically as to why God chose Abraham can be found in the following verse.
(Genesis 18:19 KJV) “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
God saw in Abraham a family man and a committed man. Because of these qualities, God saw that He could bring the plan of salvation to pass through Abraham’s seed. Remember, Abraham came within a moment of sacrificing his only promised son in obedience to God. This man had a backbone.
God blessed Abraham.
(Genesis 12:1–4 ESV) “Now the LORD said to Abram, “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, and 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.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”
The purpose of blessing Abraham was to make him a blessing. God was thinking way beyond Abraham as a sole individual. God was thinking about all the families of the earth. God still blesses people who will endeavor to be a blessing to people. Unselfishly wanting something to have to give to someone else always partners with the purposes of God.
With God speaking to him, Abraham came to know God. God brought Abraham into relationship with Himself through a covenant. Abraham just believed in what God said. In his day, Abraham was the only one on earth walking with and talking with God. At that time he was the only one that knew God. James, in the New Testament, tells us that Abraham was called “the friend of God.” (James 2:23)
Eternal life is knowing God. Jesus told us this in the book of John.
(John 17:3 ESV) “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
I can’t think of any greater blessing from God than eternal life. Eternal life is what God has had in mind from the beginning. The entire purpose of covenanting with Abraham and of sending Jesus was to provide eternal life to people that would receive it. God wanted “all the families of the earth” to know Him, and that began with Abraham.
Very soon after Abraham’s obedience to God in leaving and going to the land that God would show him, we find that he was very rich.
(Genesis 13:1–2 ESV) “So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.”
There are some things that we do not find in the Bible about Abraham. We cannot find that he sowed a seed so that he could gain riches. We also do not see him asking God for wealth and riches - so he released no specific faith for riches. The only seed we can find that Abraham sowed was his obedience. It appears that God made Abraham rich simply because he obeyed God. That almost sounds too easy, but we can’t find another reason for his wealth.
If you are going to walk with the One that owns everything, you will end up with a lot of His stuff. Abraham’s riches came through his relationship with God and not because of a specific blessing for material things. Your relationship with God will affect everything!
The Bible tells more about the blessing of Abraham in the book of Romans.
(Romans 4:1–9 ESV) “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.”
When the Bible interprets itself we need to just leave it alone. The above scripture plainly states what Abraham gained from God blessing him. This scripture speaks of “the blessing” repeatedly. “The blessing” is that Abraham was declared in right standing with God by faith in what God said to him. This led to Abraham receiving eternal life once Jesus was raised from the dead.
Understanding this becomes critical when reading what Paul said to the Galatians about the blessing of Abraham.
(Galatians 3:8–10 ESV) “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
The core of the gospel is right standing with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Notice, the gospel was preached to Abraham - more than 2,000 years before Jesus came. The gospel preached to Abraham was that “In you shall all nations be blessed.” In other words, the blessing of right standing with God through faith would be made available to all people.
The above scripture also tells us that to rely upon the works of the Law for right standing places a person under a curse. The curse is that there is a penalty for not keeping any and every point of the Law. No one could keep the Law.
(James 2:10 ESV) “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
Now, that’s a curse! It is impossible for a human to keep all the Law. If you break one little point of it you are condemned by the whole Law and therefore unrighteous. The Law did not bring a blessing to people because it brought the knowledge of sin and therefore of death - even though the Law is holy and righteousness.
(Romans 7:7 ESV) “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Since the Law brought the knowledge of sin, the individual then knew that the penalty of death was due him. If you study it out, a curse is a penalty for doing wrong. The curse of the Law was not simply specific punishments for specific wrongs, it was that the penalty of death was due everyone because no one could keep the Law. Look was Paul tells the Hebrews:
(Hebrews 2:14–15 ESV) “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
The Law brought bondage and fear to man because it pointed out that man was not holy and deserved death as a result. That was lifelong slavery, and slavery is a curse - or punishment.
Thank God, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law.
(Galatians 3:13–14 ESV) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Christ redeemed us by becoming a curse - a penalty for sin - for us. This is the basic doctrine of substitution. He paid it so we don’t have to.
The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham could come to everyone. The blessing of Abraham is right standing through faith. Remember, God preached the gospel to Abraham and Abraham believed God and God counted his faith as righteousness. The blessing of Abraham produced a relationship between him and God. That relationship brought life to every area of Abraham’s existence.
Beyond the Blessing of Abraham
Abraham had right standing with God through faith and that is a tremendous blessing. However, our blessing goes beyond what Abraham experienced. Abraham was not born of God. He was a friend of God but not a son of God. We are not only born of God but we have received the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance. Abraham could only dream of the day when he could become born of God and receive the Spirit. Jesus told us:
(John 8:56 ESV) “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
To preach the blessing of Abraham today would be to preach something less than what has been made available to us. Abraham would have preferred to live in our day! We should preach the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Righteousness by faith did not originate with Abraham. We see righteousness by faith (the gospel) as early as the sons of Adam. Faith for righteousness has been around a long time.
(Hebrews 11:4 ESV) “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”
However, a covenant of righteousness by faith began with Abraham and came to us through Christ. Abraham was not “the father of faith” but rather “the father of them that believe.” (Romans 4:11) Abraham was the father of a group of people that would believe for righteousness in the covenant that was made with Jesus Christ, his seed in the natural.
We should keep our attention where it belongs - on Jesus Christ and Him alone. There will never be a greater blessing than that of Jesus Christ.