Be a Blessing

Published by DonDavidson on

In Genesis chapter 12, God tells Abram—whose name would soon change to Abraham[1]—to leave his country and his relatives, and go to “the land which I will show you.”[2] Several promises follow these instructions. God ends those promises by saying “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”[3]

The Israelites went through many adventures, trials, and tribulations in the years after Abraham’s death, but they were seldom a blessing to others. They were instead often disobedient and disloyal to God.

When King Solomon’s empire split after his death, the northern kingdom of Israel immediately fell into idolatry and wickedness. After many years of unsuccessful efforts to get them to change their ways, in the 8th century B.C. God allowed Israel to be conquered and its people deported by the Assyrians. Those Israelites are lost to history—the Ten Lost Tribes.

The people of the southern kingdom of Judah were sometimes devoted to God, but more often they were idolatrous and evil. They eventually wore out God’s patience, so in the late 7th century B.C. and early 6th century B.C. he allowed the Babylonians to conquer Judah, destroy Jerusalem and the temple, and carry the Jewish people into exile in Babylon, where they remained for about 70 years.

When the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon and allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem, God sent two prophets to them with messages of encouragement—Haggai and Zechariah. They urged the people to rebuild God’s temple, promising that God would one day make it even grander than the fabulous temple built by Solomon.[4]

Then God adds a promise that is reminiscent of what he told Abram:

And it will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. 

—Zechariah 8:13

God’s plan was that Abraham’s descendants would be a blessing to all peoples of the earth. Zechariah confirmed that this was still God’s plan despite everything that had happened since the time of Abraham. And it’s still his plan today.

God saved you and me because he loves us. But part of his plan is that we who have been saved are to be a blessing to others. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he said that the 2nd greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves?

So go and be a blessing to others. It’s part of God’s plan for your life.

If you would like a better understanding of the Old Testament, please consider The Old Testament Made Simple, Parts 1 and 2, in which I summarize most of the Old Testament in 194 short chapters, with discussion questions for each chapter. It’s ideal for self-study or for a Sunday school class or a Bible study group. You can find links to a description of the books, a list of contents, and a few sample chapters here.

[1] Genesis 17:5

[2] Genesis 12:1

[3] Genesis 12:3

[4] King Herod the Great, who ruled Judah from 37 to 4 B.C.—subject to the good pleasure of the Romans—would fulfill this prophecy by renovating and expanding the temple during his reign.


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