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How to Walk in the Blessings of Abraham

Hagbah-Torah-Scroll

Lifting the Torah scroll

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”  (Deuteronomy 30:19)

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses gives his final words to the Israelites, cautioning them to follow and obey God rather than turn to false idols.

He calls them to be deliberate in their actions.  They have a choice, he tells them, between life and death, blessings and curses.

He urges them to choose life and the blessings that come from obeying God’s Word and serving Him.

The Blessings and the Promise of the Jewish Homeland

The choice seems simple, but in time the people of Israel turned away from God’s laws and teachings and, as a result, were scattered throughout the nations.

Still, even as these blessings and curses were being outlined, God foresaw that this would happen and promised that He would bring His people home:

“Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.  He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it.”  (Deuteronomy 30:4–5)

Orthodox Jewish man-Western Wall Plaza-Kotel

An Orthodox Jewish man at the Western (Wailing) Wall

The physical redemption of the Jewish People back to their land is a strong theme in the Bible and this promise is repeated many times in Scripture.

Here are a few other instances:

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”  (Isaiah 61:4)

“For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of My people of Israel and Judah.  I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again.  I, the LORD, have spoken!”  (Jeremiah 30:3)

“I will bring My people Israel back from exile.  They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.  They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.”  (Amos 9:14)

It is exciting to live in the day when such dramatic promises are being fulfilled!

Jerusalem-Holy Land

Just as God has promised countless times in Scripture, the Holy Land is being rebuilt by the Jewish People.

In fulfillment of hundreds of Bible prophecies like these, God is now returning the remnant back to their Land.

As He promised, the nation of Israel has indeed become a blessing to the nations with her technological, scientific, medical, and agricultural advances.

But over and above these modern blessings is the everlasting blessing of God’s written Word and gift of salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).

Those blessings originate in the faith of the patriarch Abraham, the father of the Jewish People.

God's Promises to Abram-James Tissot

God’s Promises to Abram, by James Tissot

Obtaining the Blessings of Abraham

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”  (Psalm 32:1–2)

Even though Abraham’s entire household was dedicated to worshiping idols and false gods, when the unseen Creator of the Universe spoke to him, Abraham chose to obey and follow.

Abraham believed God’s promise that He would make him into a great nation even when his body was old and his wife Sarah was barren.

God rewarded Abraham’s faith by giving him a long life and great prosperity.  In fact, Abraham was one of the wealthiest men of his time.

God also rewarded him with the promised son born to him in his old age.  From this seed came the people of Israel, whom God promised to bless.

He also promised to curse their enemies:  “The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you.”  (Deuteronomy 30:7)

Through the Jewish people also came Yeshua (Jesus), through whom the spiritual seed of Abraham has spread throughout the world.  (Galatians 3:7–16)

Mahane Yehuda-Market-Jerusalem-Israelis-shopping

Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Walking in God’s blessings is not without its challenges.

When God told Abraham, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2), even Abraham could not imagine how this could come about.

Even before Isaac was born, God showed Abraham the stars of the sky and promised that his offspring would be just as countless.  (Genesis 15:5)

Abraham was not feeble-minded.  He was perfectly aware of his physical circumstances.  He knew that he was an old man, to put it plainly, and that his wife Sarah was barren.

He might have been tempted to question God’s promise, just as many of us today are tempted to question His promises of healing or provision when we contemplate our circumstances.

Orthodox Jewish-Jerusalem-Psalms

An Orthodox Jewish man prays in Jerusalem

Abraham contemplated his own flesh and that of his wife, understanding that God’s promise was impossible to fulfill in the natural realm.

Nevertheless, he continued to believe God and act on those promises regardless of his circumstances.

For that reason, God’s blessings and promises came to pass and Abraham’s faith was attributed to righteousness:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  This is why it was credited to him as righteousness.”  (Romans 4:18–22)

Bible-study-prayer-men-multi-cultural

Through Yeshua, people of every nation can experience the blessings of Abraham.

Abraham’s faith stands as an example for everyone, so much so that Paul likens a Believer’s faith that Yeshua (Jesus) was raised from the dead to Abraham’s faith:

“The words ‘it was credited to him [Abraham]’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in Him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead.  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”  (Romans 4:23–25)

In Galatians 3, Paul explains that through Yeshua’s death on the tree, we are freed from the curses of the law caused by sin and rebellion against God.

Of course, that is not a license to continue in sin and rebellion, but an invitation to receive God’s Spirit through faith, as well as the blessings of Abraham.

“Messiah has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Yeshua HaMashiach; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  (Galatians 3:13–14)

Those who put their faith in Yeshua have inherited the blessings of Abraham.  Jew and Gentile inherit those blessings through God’s plan of redemption.

For—“Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the Good News in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”  (Galatians 3:8–9)

God shows Abraham the stars, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

God shows Abraham the Stars, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Having Abraham’s Faith

Abraham’s brand of faith is the key to walking in God’s blessings.

For those blessings to manifest in our lives, our faith cannot waiver because of the things we think we see in the physical realm, “for we live by faith, not by sight.”  (2 Corinthians 5:7)

What we believe, in other words, must originate in God’s promises, and not in the circumstances or realities that seem physically evident.

As well, Abraham’s faith was not passive.  It was active: walking in God’s blessings is linked to action.

The way we live and the things we do impact whether or not we receive the blessings God has intended for us.

Fishing-Sea of Galilee-Kinneret- Lake of Gennesaret-Lake Tiberias

Fishing in the Sea of Galilee

God calls us to put faith into action.  For example, in Genesis 12, when God first appeared to Abraham, he did not simply believe what God promised.  He acted on it.

He uprooted himself from his comfortable, predictable life in the country in which he was born and followed God to the Promised Land.

In other words, to receive the promise, he had to move:

“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.”  (Genesis 12:1–2)

Abraham’s obedience forever changed the entire world, since because of it, the nation of Israel was birthed, through which the world would be blessed.

“And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing.”  (Zechariah 8:13)

Through the Jewish People came the knowledge of God and the written Word of God, the Bible.  Through them, as well, came Yeshua HaMashiach, through whom came freedom from the curse of the law due to sin and rebellion.

Israel-family-Jaffa Gate-Jerusalem-street

Jerusalem

The Power of Words

“Rabbi, look!  The fig tree you cursed has withered!”  (Mark 11:21)

When Yeshua (Jesus) taught His talmudim (disciples) about faith, He emphasized the importance of the words we speak, as well as prayer:

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  (Mark 11:23–24)

Many times our blessing, such as healing or prosperity, is blocked because we are speaking words of unbelief.

We should not be counteracting our own faith with faithless speech.  Such speech is self-sabotage and can cause us to delay or lose the blessing.  Many times God wants to grant us the desires of our heart, but our unbelief blocks this.

If we pray for God’s blessings and know from the Word that He wants to bless us, then what we say should reflect that.

conversation-Kotel-Wailing Wall-Jewish-tallit

Jewish men converse near the Western (Wailing) Wall, a huge open-air synagogue next to the Temple Mount.

We do not need to beg God for His blessings.

He wants to bless us; however, receiving His blessings often involves meeting a condition: if you do this, I will do that.

For instance, before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses presented them with blessings and curses, telling them that if they obey God, the blessings would overtake them:

“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings [berakot] will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed [barak] in the city and blessed in the country.”  (Deuteronomy 28:1–3)

Obedience is a direct path to receiving God’s blessings.

Jewish-woman-mother-prayer-Western Wall- Wailing Wall

A young mother prays at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.

The Promises of Blessing

Blessed [barak] is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”  (Jeremiah 17:7)

The Bible is full of verses that reveal the path of blessing.

To take hold of them, we must meditate on the Word of God.

We can think of that as keeping good company.

Indeed, Psalm 1 indicates that real happiness or blessing comes from delighting in God’s law and avoiding the companionship of the wicked:

“Blessed [esher] is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers [tsalach].”

Reading-Torah scroll-men-Bar Mitzvah

Two Jewish men read the Torah.

By meditating on God’s Word day and night, we experience the blessing of prosperity.

The Hebrew word for prosperity in Psalm 1 is tsalach, which means advance, break out, push forward, or have success.

The word translated blessing is esher, which means happiness or blessedness.

So to be blessed or happy, our hope and confidence must be in God.

Blessed [esher–happy] are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.”  (Psalm 146:5; see Jeremiah 17:7)

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An Israeli family

Love: The Evidence of Faith

If we want to live a real life of faith and walk in the blessings of God, showing His glory and the victory that comes from serving Him, then our lives must be characterized by love that is genuine and not hypocritical.

As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

That faith must manifest itself as love at home.

In fact, the first commandment with a blessing is Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).  If we honor our parents, we will have a long life and things will go well with us during that life.  (Ephesians 6:2–3)

Shabbat- family-gathering-Sabbath-father-mother-son

A Jewish family gathers for the traditional Shabbat (Sabbath) meal on Friday evening.

Isaiah 58 addresses the issue of having a hypocritical kind of faith that delights in outward shows of religion, while still being given to quarreling, striving, and exploiting people.

The blessings of answered prayer, enlightenment, healing, strength, and the supernatural protection and guidance of God follow those who have a sincere change of conduct.

These are the people who oppose injustice, are generous with the poor and needy, are mindful of their own families, and put away malicious talk and slander.  (Isaiah 58:6–10)

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  (Isaiah 58:11)

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Being a Blessing

God blesses us for a holy reason.

We are called upon to share our time, talents, wealth, and energy in order to fulfill God’s purposes to make the world a better place—serve the poor, spread the Good News, and bless Israel.

In the Book of Esther, when Mordecai asks Esther to use her position of influence to save the Jews of Susa, he emphasizes that God has blessed her for a reason:

“Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:14)

Each of us should consider, as Esther did, the reason for the blessings that we daily receive from God.  Let us use them to help the poor and bring the Word of Truth to Israel and the nations.

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