“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.”
Ann Voskamp has resources on her web page for The Greatest Gift. Many people are celebrating Advent with hanging an ornament on the tree. She suggested making a Jesse tree. Many are lighting candles. Did you know that the first candle is the Shepherds Candle? Ann calls it the Hope candle and there is a video to watch if you would like to do so at A Holy Experience.com
As I light the shepherd’s candle or the candle of hope, I reflected that the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 begins with Abraham. When we meet Abraham, the Lord had told Abraham in verse one of Genesis, ““Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Abraham and his nephew Lot did exactly what God told them to do. They traveled went to Egypt, then to Negev. The scripture in Genesis 13 shares that the two very wealthy. When the land wouldn’t support both men’s animals, Abraham gave Lot first choice of the land.
The story of Abraham continues with his running ahead of God’s plan and he had a son with Hagar. He loved his first son but this was not the promised son that carry on the family lineage to the baby Jesus. Abraham trusted God implicitly because God did open Sarah’s womb and a child named Issac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham believes that God will give the sacrifice or resurrect his son.
Genesis 22 9-14 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.11But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Abraham was called the friend of God in 2 Chronicles 20:7. Abraham was generous, faithful, obedient, and loyal. According to the commentaries, we never find Abraham rationalizing and attempting to avoid God’s commandments.
Beloved, we are blessed. Ann says, “Only when you unwrap the gifts of blessings to you can you be wrapped up as a gift of blessings to others. Only when you are overwhelmed with the goodness of God can you overflow with the goodness of God to others.”
I love it when she says, “The present is His presence, and the greatest present you can give is His presence.” She goes on to say, “We give the gift of His presence when we look into someone’s eyes and we listen really listen to what that person is saying. Any place can be the Promise Land when the blessing of His presence becomes the gift we receive–and give.”
My post is late because my mother-in-law was sick last night and I cared for her. What ways can you be a blessing to someone today?
Just as Abraham is called the friend of God, we are a friend of God and He calls us friend.