Grace: Source of Blessing and Curses.

July 1st, 2009

Genesis 12:1-3

12:1. Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.
12:2. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
12:3. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.''

God is good. He has a plan. Maybe Abram didn't fully know what it was to be, but he knew that God was about to use him, and bless him in a big way. I like the way it appears in the original Hebrew grammar. Using double words to show the emphasis on the actions that Abram is to do, and the actions that God will do.

GEN 12:1 And said, Yahweh to Abram, "to walk to walk from your land, and from your birthplace,
and from house of your father, unto the land which I show you.
GEN 12:2 And I'll make you into a nation great, and I'll bless you,
and I'll enlarge you, your name, and you'll be a prosperity.
GEN 12:3 And I'll bless you, and from blessing you, and from you acutely curse,
and please to bless them, in you, all, families, of the earth.

Now you can appreciate your nifty, easy to read, English translation a little better.

Because of the context that this incident takes place, and the grammar style, the English version comes out slightly different. Here's why. Abram was told to leave, or walk and walk, away from his country and family. Literally the word can mean birthplace, but the land where Abram was living was not the place where he was born. Several years earlier, he and his entire family transplanted themselves there. So the correct sense this word means is to leave the country that he was living, and to leave the family who he was born among. Abram was being commanded to strike out on his own. Abram was to leave his father's household because God wanted his entire blessing to be channeled through Abram alone.

For that total dedication, God would do a few things for Abram. He would be made into a great nation. The word nation is actually a borrowed word. It was normally used to indicate a foreign nation, because the Hebrew people at the time were so small, it was inconceivable that they might have numbers so large as some of the neighboring, foreign nations. Abram was to become a great name, and be blessed. The words for great and enlarge come from similar root words. Also the words for bless and prosperity come from similar root words. But wait, there's more words about blessing.

Although the actual phrase reads, "And I'll bless you, and from blessing you, and from you acutely curse," the thing that God is really saying here is that he is bestowing a tremendous blessing on Abram, one that will spill out from him and bless all those around him. Then if anybody should hold a grudge and deserve a curse poured out on their head, it is given to Abram to have authority to do so. The follow up phrase, "and please to bless them," shows that it is actually Gods pleasure and desire to bless all the families of the earth.

When we follow the will of God, we also are granted blessings, even to the point of being a blessing to those around us. The source of those blessings come from God.

Have you ever been in a situation where your world seemed to be falling apart, yet your life reflected joy? So much so that other people noticed and had to stop and ask, "How do you do it? With all that is happening to you, you don't seem to let it ruffle you. I'd be falling to pieces if it were me?" Maybe you have never been the joyful person in that scene. Maybe it's been you who have asked that question to someone else. The answer is simple. That joyful person isn't doing it. They aren't strong. There is no joy except what comes from God. You follow and do his will, and he carries you. You focus on him and he outshines the troubles of the world. It's his joy pouring into you, and overflowing out of you to others.

There's one more concept here. I'll be as brief as possible. In English versions it seems to state that God will bless any others who bless Abram, and curse any who would curse him. The original language seems to be saying that God is a one way channel of blessing. A source from where only blessings can come. The mention of cursing others seems to make Abram the source of the curse that might come. It is almost as if God is saying, "I'm going to bless and bless, and there will be so much overflow that others will be blessed. But if in all this blessing, if somebody crosses your path who you feel deserves a sharply bitter curse, go ahead and I'll back you up." The source of curses towards other humans comes from other humans.

Using Abram's example, he found himself in various conflicts. After traveling to his promised lands he continued to Egypt where his wife was taken from him. He never broke down and claimed a curse upon the land or people. He had conflict with his nephew Lot and between their shepherds. Abram chose to resolve the conflict in a peaceable way and not to place curses. Take time to look for other events in Abram's life and notice the lack of curses when he might easily have done so. God gives us that same set of blessings, curses, and the choice to make our own decisions.

Just because a power is within our ability, doesn't mean we have to act that way. Show grace and choose to not curse others. God's preference is to be a blessing to all the wworld, keep his preference and keep extending grace and blessing to others.

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