Genesis 11:27-13:4; Matthew 5:13-26; Psalms 6:1-5; Proverbs 3:7-8
OT: “The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 CSB)
Just one chapter before, mankind said, “Let us make a name for ourselves,” And they were resisted by God. In Chapter 12, we see God approach Abram. Juxtapose this story against the story of Babel. Here, God tells Abram, if you will let go of everything you know and follow Me, I will make a name for you, and through you all the peoples that disbursed from the incident in Babel and all future peoples (families, tribes, races, genders, socio-economic stratifications, nations) will be blessed through you. What a difference between making a name for yourself and allowing God to make your name great. God’s call to Abram was never intended to be exclusive. God intended to use Abram as a conduit to bless everyone.
NT: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-20 CSB)
Jesus’ sermon on the mount was directed primarily at the Jews: the descendants of Abraham through whom all the peoples of the earth were to be blessed. Yet the Jews had become more focused on the mechanics of worship and the rituals of righteousness than the purpose of their calling. So Jesus reminds them that through Abraham they are to be a blessing – they are to be the salt of the earth (bringing out the fullness of lie in God, preserving people from corruption, and healing wounds) – they are to be the light of the world (helping people to see the truth in the midst of darkness and leading them to the source of life and light). However, there are conditions to being blessed. Just performing the mechanics of worship or strict adherence to religious rituals won’t make you a blessing to the world. To receive God’s blessing and be a blessing, you have to go beyond external ritual to become righteous in heart. Jesus came to fully fulfill the promise made to Abram millennia ago and to provide a way for people to be truly righteous and fulfill their promised destiny.
Proverbs: “Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7-8 CSB)
Don’t follow the example of the people of Babel and trust in your own wisdom. Follow the example of Abram: let go and put behind you the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of your limited flesh. Turn to God and walk in His wisdom. This will bring healing and strength to your life, and in turn, you will bring healing and strength to others.