‘And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.’ Genesis 12:2
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Ephesians 4:17–5:21
And thou shalt be a blessing: blessed in thyself and a blessing to others. Believers indeed are by the world accounted a burden, as Lot was in Sodom, yet each one is a public blessing. Thus they are compared to light, to salt, and so forth. Consider:
(i) their usefulness. The grace of God teaches them benevolence and usefulness. If any professor [of the faith] lives to himself it is a bad sign. I hope we have not so learnt Christ.
(ii) their example. They cannot do all they would, yet their example has some good effect, to restrain the boldness of sin and to draw others to seek after the Lord likewise (1 Peter 3:1).
(iii) their prayer. If Sodom had not been dreadfully abandoned, the prayer of Abraham would have saved it; and had there been ten of these blessings found in it, it would have escaped destruction.
(iv) [their protection]—by their interests and concerns being interwoven at present in the world. They are the wheat, for whose sake the tares are so long spared. If the world could have its wish and the people whom they hate were quite removed, they would not be suffered to go on long with impunity.
FOR MEDITATION: Tempus fugit very fast indeed. I am already more than three months in my seventy-second year. So the almanac tells me, otherwise I should scarcely perceive it. I preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, and tell my hearers that if they love him for his great love to them, they ought to love one another. I have nothing to do with controversies. Church folks, dissenters, methodists of all sorts come to hear me, and they are all welcome, and all sit very quietly. I am waiting for my dismission, which I trust I shall receive at the best time. I have some longing (though I am not impatient) to be at home—there to see my dear Mary and Eliza—and above all to see him, whom having not yet seen, I trust is the Lord and beloved of my heart. To see him as he is, and to be like him. This is worth dying for, and worth living for, till he shall say, Come up hither.
John Newton to John Ryland, 26 November 1796
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 23 [3/3], GENESIS 12:2