I'm currently going through a study on Genesis, following the lives of the first three Patriarchs, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, from whom the nation of Israel emerged. Many find it easiest to identify with the New Testament because it's more recent and its culture is more relatable, and that's true in ways, but the human heart and the human condition has not changed. We still fear, have a sense of humor, worry, love, manipulate, care, envy, and all that as much then as we do today. Some write off the OT completely, saying that the NT nullifies the OT, but the NT is really the fulfillment of everything that has been building up in the OT.
Man is created to be in a relationship with and to glorify a holy and just God, but man, in his freedom to choose, chooses to sin against God, and in doing so, creates a rift between himself and the holy God. Sin results in suffering caused by the sin itself and the nature of its depravity, but it also necessarily incurs the wrath of the just God, who could rightfully wipe out man in just punishment. However, God is merciful as well as just, and in his mercy, he provides hope for reconciliation with himself by providing the only sinless one to bear the punishment for our sins - himself, in earthly form, through his Son, fully man and fully God. Only the sacrifice of one such as that could bear the burden and overcome sin and death. History foreshadows this in event after event, in stories of God's redemption of his people from the bonds of sin. Jesus fulfills the prophecies and offering himself as a sacrifice, triumphs over death, offering all who believe in him reconciliation. After returning to be with the Father in heaven, he sends us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in our walk towards sanctification, which is to become more like our Lord and Savior, and to help us in our daily struggle with sin while we are still in this earthly body for the purpose of bringing him glory in all that we do, in being more like him in how we live and love others, and in making the good news of a hope of salvation known to all.
So that was going off on a bit of a tangent, but it breaks my heart to see people, Christians or not, not recognize that the same God has been working throughout history. You need the whole picture to see what has been doing and is doing.
Anyway, to the topic of this post...
It puzzled me earlier today how the last part of Genesis 12:3 says "... and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (NIV). Surely, eternal separation and eternal punishment for those who don't choose to repent and believe cannot be called "blessed", so why does it say "all peoples on earth will be blessed"?
Not thinking about the whole story, I couldn't understand it. I was just thinking about the OT. My friend from Bible Study started getting at it when she noted that everyone has a choice. As I was driving home, I had an ah-ha moment and remembered something that I must've heard before. Later on in Genesis 22:18, the same idea is repeated, but clarifying things - "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice" (NASB). It's because Jesus comes through Abraham's line, and in Jesus comes man's hope of salvation, our opportunity to be reconciled.
He is a caring God who knows the hurts of each one and feels for us in our condition. He is a merciful God who hears and answers us in our time of need. He is a powerful God who is mighty to save.
We have been blessed with the opportunity to be reconciled with the one who loves us with the undying love of a father who would give up that which was most precious to him so that we can be with him once again. He is the hope of salvation.
I know some people disagree with me. I don't hold anything against you if you do. I just ask you to consider what I've said, friend to friend.