Summary: At a time of his greatest trial, God revealed to Abraham the greatest blessing which the world would ever know.
Preparations for Christmas # 2
“Jesus, the One Who Will Bless All Nations”
CLBC November 16, 2003 a.m.
Theme: Jesus Christ, the means of Salvation
Passage: Genesis 22: 1 - 18
Text: Genesis 22:18
As I have moved about in the community this summer, I have been reminded once again
that no matter how many Christmas pageants are presented, no matter how often the Christmas
story is told, a majority of people still have no real understanding of why we celebrate Christmas.
They have never understood who Jesus is, nor why he was born in Bethlehem, nor why his birth
was necessary. Many people have no idea how Christianity differs from Buddhism, or Hinduism
or Islam. On the other hand, we who are Christians may feel that we know the answer to all
these questions, but we too need a refresher course from time to time, and so as we draw closer
to Christmas I want to go back and replay the story - the old, old story of why it was necessary
for God to send His Son from heaven as the only means of salvation.
Our story today begins at a place of sacrifice, the strangest sacrifice you could imagine.
Last week, we told the story of Satan’s temptation of our first parents and their fall into sin. Now
move forward through 2000 years of history in which sin grew worse and worse until “the earth
was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” Genesis 6:11. At that time, God
destroyed the world with a flood, but saved Noah and his family. You remember that Noah had 3
sons, Ham, who appears to have become the father of the coloured races; Shem who became the
father of the Semitic peoples and Japheth, who became the father of the white or occidental races.
Move forward a few generations, and you read about God calling Abraham and moving
him to the land of Canaan. Now Abraham was a man who believed God, and God promised that
“I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great and you shall
be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curses you, and in
you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12: 2,3
But how could God make Abraham a great nation or bless all nations when Abraham had
no son? Twenty five years went by before the promise was fulfilled, and Isaac was miraculously
born to an elderly couple. You can imagine that Isaac was the apple of his father’s eye. Here at
last Abraham could see how God would fulfill his promise. Oh, how much he and Sarah must
have doted on this young man.
But then, God gave Abraham the most unbelievable command. He told him that he was to
take that special son to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice to God. Surely there must have
been a mistake. Perhaps he had gotten the message wrong. But no, this is what God told him to
do and Abraham obeyed. Do you remember that I said Abraham believed God? Hebrews 11 says
that he believed that God was able to raise Isaac up, even from the dead, and so he took the
young man and prepared to take his life. Now if you know the story, you know that God stopped
him and showed him a ram caught in the bushes, which he could offer in place of his son. If you
don’t know the story, then you should read Genesis 22: 1 - 19.
But right here, growing out of this amazing experience, God repeated his promise of
blessing. Listen to it once again, 16 "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have
done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — 17 "blessing I will bless
you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the
sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My
I call you attention to verse 18. "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be
blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
Now, let’s try to understand that verse. That word “seed” may cause trouble for us, but it
simply means “offspring” - children, great grandchildren... Through the family of Abraham God
promises to bless all nations: not just Jews but Gentiles; people of Canada, people of Africa,
people of China, people of the islands of Indonesia, and Borneo. In other words, God planned