Summary: How can we see the greatness of God’s grace? 1. Look at the torment of our sin (vs. 10-11). 2. Look at the treasures of our Savior (vs. 12-15). 3. Look at the transformation of our salvation (vs. 16-22).
Old Testament Encounters with Christ
Part 11: Face to Face with God’s Great Grace
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 1, 2012
*We have been exploring Old Testament encounters with the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the Lord God Almighty, who appeared at special times in the Old Testament.
*Last time we were in Genesis 18, where God appeared face to face with Abraham and Sarah. The Lord came down to confirm His promise of a coming son. And to tell Abraham about His decision to destroy Sodom and her wicked sister-cities. When we last saw Abraham, he was praying for God to spare Sodom, if even 10 righteous men could be found in the city. And Abraham taught us a lot about prayer.
*Tonight in Genesis 28, we skip ahead almost 150 years to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. Over these years, God surely spoke to people, but we only see two reports of the Lord appearing.
*Both of these appearances were back in Genesis 26, and both times the Lord reconfirmed His covenant promises to Isaac. Listen first to Gen 26:1-6:
1. There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.
2. Then the LORD appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.
3. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
4. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
5. because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
6. So Isaac dwelt in Gerar.
*Later on, Gen 26:23-25 says:
23. Then he went up from there to Beersheba.
24. And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake."
25. So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac's servants dug a well.
*Now in Genesis 28, the Lord appeared to Jacob in a dream. And here is some essential background: Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. They struggled even in their mother’s womb, and this struggle was loaded with all kinds of meaning: personal, historical and spiritual meaning.
*Mom Rebekah was troubled by the struggle in her womb, so she took her trouble to the Lord. Gen 25:22-23 says:
22. The children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I this way?'' So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23. And the Lord said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.''
*On a personal level, this meant that the brothers would struggle all of their lives. Dad favored Esau. Mom favored Jacob. Jealousy and tension ruled the day.
*On a historical level this struggle previewed the bitter battles between the Israelites and their enemies the Edomites.
*But there were much deeper spiritual meanings in this brotherly struggle. First: God in His infinite wisdom had chosen Jacob to be the link in the line that would lead to birth of our Messiah Jesus Christ. John Phillips tells us that the struggle between Esau and Jacob also symbolizes the believer’s struggle between our old and new natures. (1)
*In Genesis 28, the brothers are grown, and their father, Isaac, is concerned about blessing them before he dies. This passage of Scripture took place under a dark cloud of sin. The father Isaac was stubbornly rejecting God’s choice of the younger son, wanting to give the blessing to his favorite son, Esau.
*Mother, Rebekah, has led her favorite Jacob to lie and deceive his father. And following His mother’s advice, Jacob used lies and tricks to deceive his old, feeble and blind father, Isaac.
*God intended for Jacob to have the blessing in the first place, and the Lord would have made a way. I don’t believe that God intended Jacob to get the blessing through lies. But that’s what he did.
*Since the blessing was ordinarily intended for the first born son, Esau was greatly offended with his brother. He hated Jacob so much that he planned to murder him just as soon as their father passed away.