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When God calls Abraham into His story He promises to bless him and make his descendants a blessing to the nations, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). To whom God makes a promise He obligates His activity.
Abraham believes God and to him and his barren wife, God gives Isaac. When Abraham sees his son he sees what God sees—a great nation. After Sarah’s death, Abraham purchases a burial plot in Canaan. That burial plot bears witness to Abraham’s faith in God’s promise regarding the land of Canaan. Abraham’s faith commits him to invest in the future. When he sees the burial plot he sees a vast inherited land.
When God confirms His promise to Abraham regarding his descendants and their inheritance He describes their multiplication as, “the stars of the heaven and the sand which is on the seashore” and their blessing to the nations, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:17,18). When Abraham sees the stars light of the night, he sees a mighty nation lighting the darkness of the world in need of redemption.
More than 1,000 years pass between God’s promise to Abraham and Solomon’s reign which is “from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:21) and over Israel and Judah who are as, “numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude” (4:20). It is only after God grants Solomon wisdom and Solomon completes the Temple that Israel experiences the national blessing promised by God.
Under Solomon’s leadership Israel becomes the first-world nation among second-world nations. Israel has her Temple (as He announced in Deuteronomy 12), the place where God’s glory resides, and a highly developed system of vibrant worship where sacrifices inaugurate each new day, week, and month. The celebration of the three annual feasts (Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles) remind Israel of her past, her need of redemption, God’s promise and provision of redemption, and Israel’s inheritance and stewardship of the promised land.
Like a magnet, the wisdom and presence of God in Israel’s midst attract the nations, “And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (4:34).
Genesis lays the foundation for the story of the Bible; upon that foundation Solomon lives and reigns. What God purposes early in the story He fulfills later in the story. Three hundred years after Solomon’s reign the prophet Isaiah describes Gods' activity, “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Hope finds a resting place in the heart of those who understand what God has spoken in the past and trust Him to fulfill His Word both in the present and in the future.