To understand this story, let us read it in its proper literary context. Let us go all the way back to Genesis 12, when Abraham and Sarah, then known as Abram and Sarai, first received their call to ministry. In summoning them to ministry, God was both blunt and specific. God said:
“Go . . .
I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you,
and make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing. . . .
In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:1a, 2, 3b).
God will bless Sarai and Abram, but not for the purpose of making them famous, or rich, or comfortable. God will bless them, but not because they are smart, or beautiful, or charming. No, God will bless them because they have important work to do. The purpose blessing them is to equip them for the ministry of blessing others in the world. God will show them the blessing of unmerited grace, so that they in turn can show others the blessings of that same unmerited grace.
- Genesis 18:16 - 33