Human nature tends to put a self-centered gloss on God’s words. When God calls us or imparts vision to us, we interpret it based on personal costs and benefits. Our imagination struggles to see beyond our own lives and limitations. However, God’s purposes are greater than we think. Let’s consider the classic promise of God to Abram (who became Abraham):
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And 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 will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3)
Abram obeyed. He packed his people and possessions off to Canaan. When he arrived in Shechem, God said, “This is the land.” (v. 7) Later, God provided more details about the extent of the territory and the vast number of descendants Abram would have.1 Wonderful words, but the elderly Abraham spent decades trying to trust God for just one miracle son.
Self-centeredness focuses either on our own limitations or on what we stand to gain. The elderly Abraham struggled to believe that God could bypass human impotence and frailty. Often we compensate by imagining our capabilities are sufficient to accomplish God’s purposes. Typically, we daydream about future greatness and bountiful blessings. However, God’s promises are bigger than we ever imagine.
God was faithful to Abraham; He made his name and his nation great. But God did much more than found a tiny, troubled nation that has only intermittently occupied their Promised Land. The greatness of the children of Abraham always lay in their relationship with the God who made the promise. Their greatness was most fully realized when they blessed the world. The greatest blessing through them was Jesus, the son of Abraham and Son of God. Through Him, God’s purposes continue to ripple out from the classic promise, lapping on the shores of every people group on earth, drawing them into His much greater nation—the kingdom of God.
By all means get excited about God’s promises to you and His calling on your life, but remember, He is able to surpass your wildest imagination, not only for your sake but for His glory. Our greatest blessing comes as we pass His blessings on.
- Gen. 13:14-17 [↩]