Abram—Evangelist of Yahweh (Gen 12:1-3)

In every generation, God choses men to be His missionaries to the sinful world. For example, Seth (in Gen 4:25-26), as well as Noah and his sons (in Gen 9:1) were chosen in their own days. We see that Noah’s family failed in that task (Gen 9:18-27). Because of this, another is chosen by the name, Abram, a descendant of Shem, Noah’s son (Genesis 11:10, 25-27).

In Genesis 12, God makes His message to Abram:

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

1 Now the Lord had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,

From your family

And from your father’s house,

To a land that I will show you.

2 I will make you A GREAT NATION;

I will bless you

And make your name great;


3 I will bless those who bless you,

And I will curse him who curses you;


God is intimating His universal plan of salvation to Abram. We may refer to this as “the Great Commission” in the Old Testament. He wants to use Abram to “bless” the families of the world! God says this three times to Abram (Gen 12:3, 18:18 & 22:18). He wants to fill the Earth with His goodness—EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, enjoying His life and presence!

Observe vs. 2 again

2 I will make you a great nation;

I will bless you

And make your name great;


The phrase “and you shall be a blessing” is actually an imperative in the Hebrew, which means it is a command. It may be thus read: “I will bless you and make your name great; and you SHALL BLESS!” Or “BE A BLESSING!

So not only does God bless Abram, He also instructs him to bless others. This presents a form of reaching out or evangelism. After God gives Abram a missionary task, God says in vs. 3: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you”

What does He mean? Recall that Abram was to become God’s evangelist. So what would it mean to curse or bless Abram?

The words “bless” and “curse” are quite interesting in the Hebrew. The word “bless” translates the Hebrew word “barak” which has to do with adoration when referring to man. It involves some form of reverence, usually by kneeling down. The word “curse” translates the Hebrew word “qalal” which means to dispise or dishonour; to see someone or something as small or insignificant in one’s eyes. Observe its usage in 2 Samuel 6:21-22.

2 Samuel 6:21-22 (NKJV)

21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. 22 And I will be even more UNDIGNIFIED (“qalal”) than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” 

The phrase in Gen. 12:3 may thus be understood: “those who despise you or esteem you lightly, I will curse.” Interestingly,  God uses another word for “I will curse.” It is not “qalal” but the Hebrew word “arar” which was used for abominable things, what is avoided or stayed away from.

If Yahweh is choosing Abram to be His evangelist on the Earth, then all who bless Abram as he evangelizes, will be blessed. That is, all who reverence/accept his message will receive God’s blessing. However, all who curse him (while he is evangelizing) will be cursed. That is, all who treat his message lightly will have no part in and would be separated from God’s blessings.

To curse Abram, therefore, would be to reject his message, to treat his testimony of God lightly. To bless him would be to accept his message. Those who bless Abram (receive his message) will be blessed (with God’s presence). Those who curse Abram (reject God’s message through him) will be cursed, that is, excluded from God’s promise.


(For a more comprehensive explanation on this, you may consult the sermon-series “God Wants The World!” by Pastor Josh Banks)


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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