You are a Gate of Blessing

The Blessing of Abram

There’s a story in the Hebrew scriptures about a fellow named Abram. We’re told that God calls to him and says:

“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

And so Abram packs up everything and hits the road.

(Because that’s apparently what you do when you hear a voice speak to you from the middle of nowhere to do something absolutely insane like leave everything you’ve ever known behind to walk into the unknown).

But Abram does this and then later on God says to him, “Lift up your eyes and look around you – all the land you see I’m going to give to you. And your children and grandchildren? You’ll have so many you’ll never be able to count them” (my paraphrase, Gen. 13:14-17).

(And… ignore the fact that he doesn’t have any kids yet).

What we can learn from Abram’s blessing

But there are a couple of cool things we can learn from this little story.

First, if you know anything about the Christian tradition, then you know it goes all of the way back to Abraham — this guy that God blessed.

Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed” (Gal. 3:6-9).

Let me translate that for you: If you believe Jesus is the Christ, you share in the promise God gave to Abraham. In other words, when God tells Abraham, “All the nations shall be blessed in you,” that means it’s true for you too.

Second, the whole, “I’m God and I’m going to bless you” thing isn’t for Abraham’s own gain (sorry, Creflo). Quite literally, the Hebrew here translates as: All the families of the earth will bless themselves through you.

In other words, Abraham’s blessing has a purpose. His blessedness is dependent on him being a blessing.

Now, hold that thought.

The Evolution of the Blessing

A couple generations later, another guy came along named Jacob. He was a descendant of this Abra(ha)m fellow.

Nothing in the Bible really happens without reason. These stories build on each other. Everything evolves. We see that take place in this story with Jacob.

He was kind of a trouble-maker, one who tricked his father into giving him the blessing reserved for his older brother. Jacob’s brother was unhappy about the whole thing, so Jacob ran away. Tired from his flight, Jacob laid down to get some rest.

But while he was asleep, he had a dream/vision/revelation thing.

Sitting right beside him was a ladder that stretched from Heaven to Earth. Angels were ascending and descending on the ladder going about their business. Suddenly, a voice spoke to Jacob and said:

“Jacob, I am the LORD, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth… and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring” (my paraphrase, Genesis 28:13-15).

Immediately after, Jacob woke up and said, “Whoa! This place is awesome! This place is like a gate of heaven and I never realized it!” (my paraphrase, Gen. 28:16-17).

You are a Gate of Blessing

Waitaminute.

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But why would God say the same thing to Jacob that he said to Abraham?
Did that vision really occur?
Was it a dream?
Or was it a revelation?
What was it… exactly?

How does it evolve the blessing given to Abraham? Have you ever thought about that?

I have an idea.

I think that, like Jacob, the gate of Heaven to Earth has been sitting right beside us this entire time and “we never realized it.” In many ways, we are the gate of Heaven; we are the place where Heaven meets Earth.

We are the conduit of blessing. Why?

Because we share in that blessing uttered to Jacob and Abraham.
We share in it because we’re children of the promise.
We’re children of the promise because we live by faith (Galatians 3:6-9).
And if we’re children of the promise, then we’re to be stewards of the promise.

“The families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” Like Abraham, our blessedness is dependent upon our ability to be a blessing.

Like Abraham, like Jacob, like hundreds of generations in the hall of faith before us, we are a gate of blessing.

YOU have been a gate of Heaven this entire time — have you realized it?

MS

About Matthew Snyder

Matt is a thirty-something writer and young adult minister. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Merridith, and their dog, Finn.

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