Summary: Just like the spices in your cupboard God intends that life should be spicy and we see that in the lives of the Patriarchs.
Hearts United by Love
Today we close out our brief series of Pass the Patriarchs Please. So far we have discovered who Abraham is and learned about how he was called by the Living God to start a new life and a new nation through his family line.
Abraham was 86 when first son Ishmael was produced with a surrogate mother Hagar. Both Abraham and Sarah could not wait for Gods blessing so they tried to bring things about by their own plans. God waited until Abraham was 100 and his wife Sarah was ninety before giving them Isaac the promised son of the covenant. Abraham was willing to give Isaac back to God as a sacrifice but God intervened and a substitute sacrifice was offered by way of a ram. (This is a picture of how Jesus became our substitute)
Ishmael had 12 sons and they became 12 nations or tribes who are the Arab peoples of today.
Isaac grew up and was given Rebekah in an arranged marriage which Abraham set up. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons named Esau and Jacob who were already fighting with each other in the womb.
Jacob bought his older brothers birthright for a bowl of stew and then with the help of his mother Rebekah he stole the blessing from Esau as well by tricking his father into thinking he was Esau.
Jacob fled in fear and hid out for twenty years until God told him it was safe to return. Jacob had a wrestling match with God and had his name changed to Israel and finally made peace with his brother Esau.
Jacob would father 12 sons and one daughter through four different women. His two favorite sons were born from Rachel. They were Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob would become known as Israel and his 12 sons became the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel.
Looking back we can see that Ishmael had an entire generations head start in building up his 12 tribes who are the Arab nations of today and that Jacob got started later with the tribes of Israel.
Have you ever heard the saying what goes around comes around, or the chickens have come home to roost or every dog has its day. These are idioms or sayings that we use to reference peoples character or events that are played out in the lives of others or even in our own lives.
I called this series Pass the Patriarchs Please because the people we are studying are like the spices on a kitchen table. The lives of the three Patriarchs are full of things that we can all relate to.
The narrative or story line is much like watching an episode of Dallas where J.R. Ewing is laying down plans to seize the family fortunes. But in this case everyone is trying to scheme to get the best of what God has promised the family.
Human desires replace spiritual desires and we see time and time again that this brings about heart ache and pain and misery and broken fellowship with God and with our own family.
What we walk away with are lessons about faith and trust and patience and hope. These pillars of personal and Christian character are all displayed on the big screen of life that is the lives of the three Patriarchs.
Today we come to the finale of the storyline as far it concerns Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The story will and does continue right into our lives but the main lesson have been displayed and put forward for us in the final chapter of Jacobs life.
Like father like son is another good idiom we could use here. Since looking at Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we have seen these founders of our faith use lies, deceit, deception, costume, theft, science and members of their own family as tools to avoid or achieve a specific set of circumstances in the hope of having more possessions, or blessings than any one else before them.
These are our Patriarchs these are the fathers of our faith and yet we find they despite all their human failings they sometimes stand taller, and straighter than we sometime do. They occasionally display real courage, real faith and real trust as they encounter the events of everyday life while placing their overall trust in the Living God.
We looked at the life of Jacob and we last found him running away from his brother Esau because Jacob stole the blessing from Esau given by their dying father Isaac.
God confronts Jacob and they get into a wrestling match that lasts all night. Jacob gets his named changed to Israel by God and Jacob has his hip touched by God and now he limps.
We pick up the events of Jacobs life at this point and find he has reconciled with his brother Esau and he is growing a family. Jacob becomes the father to 12 sons and one daughter. Like his father before him Jacob has a favorite son Joseph whom he makes a coat of many colors. Joseph is despised by his older brothers for this.