Old Testament reading: Genesis 10-13
I believe Abraham is the singular most important character of the Old Testament. Today’s reading introduces God’s dealings with Abram, whom God later called Abraham. Abram means “exalted father,” while Abraham means “father of many nations” (Gen 17:5). In Genesis 12:1-3 we find the great promise God made to Abraham. This promise would eventually lead to the establishment of the nation of Israel, the giving of the Mosaic Law, the giving of Canaan to Israel, a succession of kings, and ultimately the appearance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1). Paul repeatedly emphasized God’s promise to Abraham, particularly in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians, noting the promise was greater than the Mosaic Law because it included all men and not only the nation of Israel. Those who have been baptized into Christ are said to be Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise God made to him (Gal 3:26-29). Of no other man is said what James said of Abraham, namely, “he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23). 2 Chronicles 20:7 describes him as God’s “friend forever.”
New Testament reading: Matthew 10-12
Matthew 10 begins with what is sometimes called the Limited Commission. It is identified as “limited” because it only included the nation of Israel (vv 5-6). This is in contrast to the Great Commission, which includes all men (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15). The purpose of the Limited Commission was to inform Israel of the imminency of the kingdom they so desperately desired, even though they did not understand its nature or purpose (cf John 6:15; Acts 1:6). Preaching the coming kingdom to Israel served as a shadow of the preaching of the gospel to the whole world (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8), beginning first with the Jews (Romans 1:16), then the Samaritans (Acts 8),and finally to the rest of the world (Acts 10).