God blessed Abraham five times between Genesis 18 and 28. The final blessing in 28:14 is the capstone: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” Through Adam all the peoples of the earth were cursed. Through Abram, they will be blessed.
Abram is God’s answer – at least the beginning of God’s answer – to Adam’s sin. The first eleven chapters of Genesis pose a simple question: What is God going to do to fix things? Sin and evil and death threaten the planet. Will God do anything? And, if so, what will he do? The rest of the Bible is the answer to that question (and it’s a very long answer), but it starts here. It starts with one man. It starts with Abraham.
We need what film directors call a deep focus. A deep focus requires a lens that can keep an image in the foreground sharp while at the same time bringing an image in the background into focus. In the foreground we have Abram. He is about to launch out into uncertainty and change. He is an ordinary man, with family and career responsibilities, with hopes and fears. He does not know where he is going. He does not know what awaits him when he gets there. He is sometimes harried and afraid. Yet this man is the beginning of the cure of all creation.
He is the beginning of the cure because he is the beginning of a line, a very long line that run through the Bible. It runs through men of great repute, like David the king, and through women of ill-repute, like Rahab the harlot. It runs through religious leaders like the high priest Joshua and through pagans like the Moabite, Ruth. It runs through forgotten people like Obed and unforgettable people like Solomon. The long line runs through a young woman – almost a child – named Mary. Then the line becomes a point: a point of contention for some, the point of no return for others, but the point of it all for us who believe. It is through him that the promise comes to fulfillment: all the nations of the earth are blessed, and creation itself will be cured.