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Are we really blessed because of Abraham?

Shabbat Thought

In last week’s Torah portion, we noticed how Abram built altars to G-d as a sacrifice for special moments. He marked the physical places with worship. This week we see Abraham take worship to a whole new level. Beginning in chapter 18 of Genesis, Abraham is greeted by three “visitors.” These three guests of Abraham are fed a wonderful meal by their host and then they give a grand proclamation. One of the guests is most certainly the L-RD Himself. The text is overwhelmingly clear on this. He announces that Sarah will be with child next year and give birth to a son. From there the three-guest set out to Sodom, but Abraham wants to tag along. G-d himself stays back to speak with Abraham and what ensues is one of the greatest negotiations in history. The other two angels go to Sodom and arrive at Lot’s house. Lot attempts to protect the angels from the evil that is living in Sodom. However, the angels end up protecting Lot and his family. The next day they leave, and Sodom is destroyed along with Lot’s wife. The birth of two evil nations comes from the next days events. As the Torah moves forward, we see the miracle G-d promised. Isaac is born to Sarah. He is circumcised on the eighth day and then raised by Abraham and Sarah. Abraham dwells in the land of Abimelech and we read about several fascinating events. Many years later Abraham receives the test of all test. He is told to sacrifice his only son of promise. He is told to give up that which is most precious and could not be replaced. Abraham has followed G-d for many decades, and he knows His voice well. Without hesitation he obeys. The covenant with Abraham is an amazing foundation for all of scripture and mankind. In Genesis 12:3 we learn that G-d will bless those who bless Abraham. We are also told that all the “families” will be blessed. This Hebrew word is mishpachah and refers in scripture to the kindred family or blood relatives typically. Going forward to our Torah reading this week we see in Genesis 22:18 a very powerful moment. Abraham has passed the test and G-d says to him “18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” The word translated as nations is the Hebrew word “goyim.” This word is used to typically refer to those that are not of kindred or blood. This covenant of Abraham became broader after his obedience. The nations have received this blessing through Abraham’s mishpachah, Yeshua (Jesus). There is a family blessing of land for the Jewish people and an eternal blessing for all the nations including the Jewish people. A few questions to consider: 1. How has the Abrahamic covenant affected your life? 2. In what ways do you believe the New Testament is connected to Abraham? 3. What is the significance of Abraham and Lot’s relationship? 4. Describe a time when your faith was tested and how you responded.

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