The Power of Blessing

Genesis 12:1-3

            The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”


  1. Background on Genesis – Genesis is the first book of the Bible. It was written about 500 years before the birth of Jesus. – Tradition says it was written by Moses – but there is a lot of questions about the accuracy of that statement. Genesis is the first book of the Torah — the law of the Jewish people. 
  2. Genesis tells us — the beginning – Genesis means the beginning and the book of Genesis consists of stories about creation, humanity, Adam and Eve – Abraham, Noah and the movement of the Jews into Egypt.
  3. Today we are working with Chapter 12 — the story about God calling Abram to move to a distant country – taking all of his family, servants, livestock. – to pull up all roots and move. This is a big deal for Abram – to convince his family that he has heard the word of God – to move to a distant country – not just change jobs, not just make new friends – but to move totally.
  4. Listen again what God is saying to Abram.
  5. The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
  6. Before we dive into the text, let’s review what “blessing” means.
  7. For some of us a blessing is like a grace that is said before a meal. We do this in the Social Hall when there is a funeral meal or a large gathering that includes a meal. Ann and I say a blessing when we have meals – especially family meals.
  8. However, that is not what is being said in this part of Genesis.
    1. This blessing is God pouring out God’s favor and protection on an event or person.
  9. For example, last Wednesday, one of the men, Luke, from the Mission was finally finished his nine-month recovery program — as Dave Morrow, Greg Loque and I finished the Wednesday Chapel, we led the men in blessing Luke who was leaving. We called upon God to continue to pour out God’s favor on Luke and especially God’s protection as Luke went back into the world – a world of temptation for the addict.
  10. God’s protection for Luke. – a blessing!!!!
  11. Just so we do not become confused about this part of Genesis — it is Abram and Sara (without the h) — Only when Abram and Sara moved to a distant land — they moved from present day Iraq to the promised land of Israel — but hundreds of years later, the Hebrews moved again to Egypt – at the time of Joseph – in the end of Genesis.
  12. Because they were faithful – God changes their names to Abraham and Sarah (with the h)
  13. Abram and Sarai were the father and mother of nations. Through them came Jewish, Islamic and Christianity religions.
  14. Our text, Genesis 12:1-3, has to a large extent been only partially understood. When we grasp the full meaning of this passage, we see this passage as one of the central texts of the Bible, because God says much more to Abram than just, “I will bless you”. The so you will be a blessing to all the families of the earth” is the crucial, often neglected and central aspect in understanding the purposes of God.
  15. God’s Desire is to Bless “I will Bless You” Genesis 12:2
  16. It does not matter where you live, you will find the common desire of all people is to be blessed.
    1. Parents want their children to have more than they had. They want education and food and clothes and good health for their family.
    1. There is this universal desire to be blessed and it is found among all people everywhere.
  17. The blessings of God however include much more than good health, food, shelter and a good job.
    1. God’s blessing includes our Salvation and our future heavenly home.
    1. God desires to bless us in ways that are spiritual and eternal.
  18. In Genesis 12:1-3 God clearly tells Abram that God will bless him. However, God did not immediately pour out his blessing on Abram.
    1. God first tested Abram and found him obedient. Abram moved, but there was more to Abram’s testing.
    1. God required something of Abram, something that was in line with his purposes.
    1. Abram demonstrated his obedience and his call to faith in his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  19. We have a responsibility that goes hand in hand with our blessings. When Abram obeyed God, we read how God responded. Genesis 17:18 “And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.”
  20. Today as believers in Christ we are Abraham’s offspring.
    1. We are called to obedience and faith.
    1. Obedience is part of Abraham’s call.
    1. This obedience goes right along with Abraham’s blessing.
      1. We didn’t get where we are today without obedience and faith.
    1. God has tested each of us over the years as he tested Abraham.
  21. God had said to Abraham as are the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea, so this numerous will your offspring be!
    1. It would not be possible to number the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea.
    1. God promised Abraham to have so many offspring that you could not even count them.
  22. We can never orchestrate God’s blessings to us. We can only cooperate with God’s way.
    1. When we try to bring God’s blessing through our own efforts, we will not accomplish what God has in store for us.
    1. It will require faith on our part to trust God and his ways.
  23. What is the road ahead? God’s desire for each of us is to go from strength to strength. We must align ourselves to the purposes of God to move forward to the greatest days yet.
  24. I firmly believe that God is blessing us as a church and individually as we move forward seeking to start a second worship service.
  25. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 4:48). God has blessed us so that, the blessing of God may be extended to many unchurched or nominally churched people in our greater community. God has blessed each of us to be God’s emissaries of Christ to the unreached peoples.
  26. PAUSE
  27. So many times, I hear people say that they are blessed.
    1. Feeling blessed is in vogue, but I wonder just what they mean.
  28. A quick look at Facebook and Twitter shows how many people today feel #blessed. In our social-media world, saying you’re blessed can be a way of boasting while trying to sound humble.
  29. We ask ourselves is the blessed life synonymous with the successful life?
    1. Is it the Christian version of the good life?
      1. A loving marriage, obedient children, a vibrant ministry, a healthy body, a successful career, trusted friends, financial abundance — if these are the characteristics of a blessed life, then having all of them should translate into an extraordinarily blessed life.
  30. But does it? If someone had all those things, would they be extraordinarily blessed?
    1. Rather than turning to God, they might feel self-sufficient and proud.
    1. Perhaps a bit smug and self-righteous.
    1. After all, their hard work would be yielding good fruit.
  31. Moreover, they wouldn’t need to cry out to God for deliverance; everything would already be perfect.
    1. They wouldn’t need to trust God; they could trust in themselves.
    1. They wouldn’t need God to fill them; they would already be satisfied.
  32. My desire for God is greatly fueled by my need. And it is in the areas of loss where I feel my need most intensely. Unmet desires deepen my prayer life. Make me ransack the Bible for God’s promises.
  33. Earthly blessings are temporary; they can all be taken away.
    1. Job’s blessings all disappeared in one fateful day.
    1. Have you had a comfortable life that was stripped away within a span of weeks? Marriage dissolved. Children rebelled. Health spiraled downward. Family fell apart. Dreams were shattered. Many of us have had some of these symptoms of the disappearance of the comfortable life.
  34. And yet, in the midst of those painful events, many experience God’s richest blessings. A stronger faith than they had experienced before.
  35. Finally, this revolutionary idea of blessing is also firmly established in Scripture. Remember Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes.
    1.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit. . . . Blessed are those who mourn. . . . Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake . . .
  36. There is no hint of material prosperity or perfect circumstances in any New Testament reference. On the contrary, blessing is typically connected with either poverty and trial or the spiritual benefits of being joined by faith to Jesus.
  37. What is blessing, then? Scripture shows that blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in him.
    1. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus.
    1. Anything that helps us relinquish the temporal and hold on more tightly to the eternal.
    1. And often it is the struggles and trials, the aching disappointments and the unfulfilled longings that best enable us to do that.
  38. God’s greatest blessing always rests in God himself. When we have that, we are truly blessed.
  39. Please close your eyes, slow your thoughts down to what God has blessed you with.
  40. The woman whispered “God, speak to me”
  41. And a meadowlark sang.
  42. But the woman did not hear.
  44. The man yelled “God speak to me!”
  45. And the thunder rolled across the sky.
  46. But the man did not listen.
  48. The woman looked around and said “God let me see you”
  49. And a star shone brightly.
  50. But the woman did not notice.
  52. And the woman shouted “God show me a miracle”
  53. And a life was born.
  54. But the woman did not know.
  56. The woman cried out in despair.
  57. “Touch me God and let me know that you are here!”
  58. Whereupon God reached down and touched the woman.
  59. But the woman brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
  61. Moral:
  62. Don’t miss out on a blessing because it isn’t packaged the way you expect.