The Blessing of Abraham (Galatians, Part 28)
This week we continue exploring the book of Galatians using a question-and-answer format.
12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
What is the “the blessing of Abraham” (v. 14)?
When God gave the law to his covenant people (Israel), there were two possible ways they could respond. They could either keep his covenant and obey the law, or they could break his covenant and disobey. Depending on which way the people chose to go, they would experience either blessings for faithfulness or curses for disobedience. These blessings and curses are described in some detail in several passages in the Old Testament.
Leviticus 26 is one of those passages. It begins with a list of blessings for faithfulness. The Lord says to Israel in Leviticus 26:3-13, “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then…”:
- “I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (God would provide for Israel’s needs by granting them successful farming and giving abundant food.)
- “You shall…dwell in you land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid.” (God would protect his people from any kind of violence, invasion, aggression, and conflict with other lands.)
- “You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.” (God’s people would get the decisive victory over any evil adversaries that threatened to disrupt the peaceful existence they enjoyed under God, their King.)
- “I will…make you fruitful and multiply you.” (God’s people would flourish and thrive and extend his rule to the ends of the earth, as God had intended for them to do from the beginning of creation.)
- “You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new.” (God’s people will always have more than they need, and will never have to worry about having their basic needs met. God will take care of them all.)
- “I will make my dwelling among you, and I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (God will be fully and completely present with his people. This is the greatest part of the blessing, since as Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So in this part of the blessing, God is promising to fill his people with endless and unlimited joy and delight by giving them himself.)
All of this God promised to do if his people would be obedient to him and keep his covenant and his laws. Next week we will look at the curses that he would bring upon them if they broke his covenant.