Where’s Jesus – From Shem to the Call of Abram (Genesis 11:10-12:9)

If we recall from Genesis 9, Shem is blessed by Noah and the one whom all his brothers will serve.  He will rule over them all.  As we come to this week’s reading, Moses relates another genealogy.  This time it is a listing of the sons from Shem until Abram and when we arrive at Abram our attention is drawn to the blessing proclaimed over him by God.

Abram is going to be great, and those aligned with him will be blessed and those aligned against him will be cursed, but all nations will experience some of the benefit of this blessing.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:2-3)

While we know this blessing was practically fulfilled in the Jewish people, as they became numerous and filled the land of Canaan, the ultimate truth can only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the one who will rule the world and receive God’s honor.  Psalm 2:8 -9 tell us,

Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. you will rule them with an iron scepter, you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

Jesus has been given a name greater than any other name as Philippians 2:9-11 tell us,

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In Christ, people are blessed and those who curse Christ and refuse his offer of life eternal are themselves cursed and under judgement.  For the Word declares,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)

remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12)

And finally, in Christ all the nations of the world are addressed for he invites people from every nation, tribe, tongue and language.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Gal. 3:14)

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Rev. 7:9)

Praise the Lord that just as God declared in his word, from Shem would blessings flow, and from Shem comes Abram whose name is later changed to Abraham and it is from this very same Abraham that Jesus descends in his earthly person (Luke 3:23-37).  All Scripture points to Christ.  Amen!

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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