Summary: The Christian has two spiritual fathers: God and Abraham. The blessing and promises of God to Abraham become our inheritance in Christ!
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers…
Why do you hear this line so often in the Bible? Who are these men of God, and what makes them so important that their names are scattered all over the Bible in both the old and new Testaments?
They are all forefathers of Jesus Christ, and they uniquely fit into the beginnings of the nation from which Jesus came to be the Savior and Lord of all nations.
Jesus’ genealogy goes back to these key characters. To the rest of the world at that time, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were nomadic shepherds, leaders of a large band of family and servants wandering about mostly in the land of Canaan, but sometimes to Egypt to get away from famine, and sometimes to Mesopotamia to get wives from relatives that lived there.
Of all the people in the world that God could have called to become his chosen people, these are the ones. God selected them and called them and entered into covenant with them and gave amazing promises to them and guided and blessed and protected them and struck bargains with them and sometimes even wrestled with them. God appeared to them. He spoke to them.
If you are reading along with us then you know what I am talking about. This weeks readings (Genesis 20 – 46) take us from the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, through Isaac’s adventures with Rebekah, to Jacob and Esau and all that Jacob did to his brother and how his brother wanted to kill him (sound familiar), through Jacob’s wanderings and wives and 12 sons and a daughter, to Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph, the coat and the dreams, to his brother’s jealousy, selling him into Egyptian slavery, his master’s wife who falsely accused him, his imprisonment and finally his exaltation to power in Egypt and the rescue of his family from famine. It’s quite a story! It’s the history of Jesus’ human ancestry. God recorded and preserved it for us.
But what does this have to do with me and you today? Listen: When we come to Christ and become Christians by faith and obedience to the gospel, this becomes our story, too. We join in the line with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s right!
Being a Christian is not just about being an individual who comes to God out of nowhere and starts from scratch to build a new life with God. No, no, no! Being in Christ is entering into God’s family! God’s forever family! With Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus said, Matthew 8:11 "And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;
When Jesus describes what happens after you die, in Luke 16, for the saved Jesus describes it as going to feast with Abraham. (This is before the day of Judgment and so Jesus depicts paradise and torment in this way). There is clearly a separation between those who are found faithful and those who are not. The faithful join with Abraham in celebration, the wicked are placed in the flames of torment. The message is hard to miss. Being with Abraham in paradise is where we all would want to end up. Our lives here and now make a critical difference in not just where we go, but whose family we are in.
Paul wrote speaking of how God credits us with righteousness and brings us into this family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Romans 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
17 (as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU")
And similarly he tells the Ephesians: Ephesians 2: 11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands--
12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one,
Are you a Christian today? Then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are your forefathers too! God puts us into this forever family of faith together. It is by cleansing through Jesus blood and our rebirth into Christ that we enter this family. God makes us into children of Abraham by faith through his gracious calling and adoption into the family of Jesus Christ. Don’t you want to know more about your family and spiritual history? That’s what we are reading about as we go through the Old Testament.