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Volume 9 - Page 45 of 138 Index | Zoom | |
"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our
God is in all things that we call upon Him for; and what nation is there so great that hath
statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day"
(Deut. 4: 7, 8).
Israel's greatness is here shewn to be the nearness of the Lord, and gift of His revealed
will in the law. To be entrusted with the oracles of God was the chief of their claims to
pre-eminence (Rom. 3: 1, 2). Not only was Abraham to be the father of a great nation,
but he himself receives the promise, "I will make thy name great". The greatness of the
"name" is connected with the greatness of "inheritance" as Heb. 1: 4, 5 shows. Abraham
became "heir of the world", father of the great nation and of many nations; Abraham was
called "the friend of God". The record of Gen. 12: seems to have been purposely placed
in contrast with Gen. 11: There we have the whole earth of one speech, and inhabited by
one family, they dwelt in the plain of Shinar or Mesopotamia; Abraham is called to leave
that very land, and to separate himself from home and kindred. "Let us make a name",
said the builders of the tower of Babel; "I will make thy name great", said God to
Abraham. Judgment falls upon the people in Gen. 11:, and they are scattered abroad to
form "the families of the earth" who are to be blessed in Abraham, God, while leaving
the nations to walk in their own ways, had not forgotten them or given them up for ever.
His concentration upon Israel was for the Gentiles ultimate blessing.
No promise in this wonderful covenant is conditional to Abraham. Israel must be a
great nation, Abraham must be a blessing, all the families of the earth must be blessed in
him. God has said so, the only conditional element in the whole passage is that of
"I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that maketh light of thee."
They that pray for the peace of Jerusalem shall prosper. National histories bear record
to the truth of these words.
Where is Babylon? where is Assyria? gone, yet Persia that helped Israel in the
rebuilding of the temple remains to this day. It may be that the national prosperity of
Britain is related to its attitude toward the people of Israel. The Jew, outcast and despised
as he is, is a sacred object by reason of the covenant with the fathers:--
"As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the
election, they are beloved for the father's sakes, for the gifts and calling of God are
without repentance. . . . for God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might
have mercy upon all" (Rom. 11: 28-32).
These opening verses in Gen. 12: are of prime importance, for they are the
foundation of the gospel of the apostle Paul, the teaching of such epistles as Romans and
Galatians, and the ministry of the reconciliation.