Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
In this passage God institutes a covenant with Abraham. This covenant has three major promises and is important not only for the nation of Israel, but for the human race as a whole.
The first promise was that Abraham and his descendents would be given a land (vs. 1). The boundaries of the land are explained in more detail in Genesis 12:6-9 and 15:18-21. Abraham is told that this land would be given to his seed and would be an “everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8).
The second promise was a seed for Abraham (vs. 2a). Abraham’s wife Sarah was barren (Gen. 11:30) and they were both beyond the normal age for conceiving a child (Gen. 18:10-12). However, for God’s promise to be fulfilled, they would have to have a son through whom an entire nation would come.
The third promise was a blessing through Abraham upon all the families of the earth (vv. 2b-3). This tied together the three promises. This ultimate fulfillment of this would be through Jesus Christ Who came from the nation of Israel–Abraham’s descendents (Acts 3:25-26).
This covenant marks a continuation of God’s plan of salvation which called for a seed of the woman coming to crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:14-15). That seed came from the nation of Israel which came from the seed promised to Abraham. The theme of the Bible is God’s redemption of mankind. God’s promises to Abraham are a critical part of that theme.