Summary: Though this message focuses on Joseph being sold into Egypt, it also takes a quick look at his father, grandfather and great grandfather to show how God treated each of them in unique ways.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob … Joseph … and You
CHCC: January 20, 2013
Today is week 3 of a 17-week sermon series called "The Story" that will take us through the Old Testament. Last Sunday, Ronnie talked about Abraham. This week we’ll focus on Joseph --- but first I want to examine what we learn about God from His dealings with Joseph’s great grandpa – Abraham; his grandpa – Isaac; and Joseph’s dad – Jacob.
The Old Testament often refers to God as Yahweh or Jehovah. But when Jehovah introduced himself, he told Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Exodus 3:6
Thousands of years later, Jesus described God the same way. He said, Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:31-32
This is an interesting introduction of God. It shows us that we have a God who defines Himself by his relationship with his people. For one thing, it tells us that our God is a God who seeks relationship with flawed people. That is something we see all through the Bible – and it’s as true for you and me as it is for Bible characters.
1. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who seeks a UNIQUE relationship with you.
We can see that God had a UNIQUE relationship with each of these three men. With ABRAHAM, God gave a challenging call to new beginnings. Abraham was a pioneer who explored new destinations and took great risks. Last week Ronnie talked about some of the challenges he faced and how his faith in God was tested.
God dealt with Abraham’s son, ISAAC, in a very different way. Isaac was not called to be a pioneer. His call was to maintain the inheritance passed on to him by his father. He was called to stay home and lead a peaceful life. Isaac didn’t even leave home to look for a wife. Instead he accepted the choice of a servant who went out looking for him.
Then we come to Isaac’s son, JACOB --- Jacob the schemer --- Jacob whose name means “the usurper” or “the grabber.” God used all kinds of difficulties to perfect Jacob’s character --- because Jacob needed a lot of improvement. You can’t say God doesn’t have a sense of humor. For about 30 years, Jacob worked for his Uncle Laban who was 10 times the schemer Jacob ever tried to be! At one point Jacob even wrestled with God (Genesis 32:22-32) and God gave him the new name, Israel, which means “one who contends with God and prevails.”
These men illustrate three very different personalities, and God related to them in three very different ways. You see, God is not tied into a cookie cutter or one-size-fits-all means of interaction. Have you ever gone to a store and bought clothing that says “one-size-fits-all”? There’s no way that one size can fit all! And we don’t have a one-size-fits-all kind of God.
The stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, give examples of how God works in the lives of his people. Which of these three men is most like you?
• Maybe you’re like Abraham – your life has been full of challenges and changes that have required great faith. Maybe you’re the first in your family to come to know the Lord and you’ve sort of blazed a new trail of faith.
• Maybe you’re like Isaac and you’ve grown up in a Christian home. Your life has been one of growing in the Lord and continuing the heritage of faith you were given.
• Maybe you identify more with Jacob. Maybe God has had to work on you a lot before he can bless you --- because you have a stubborn streak like Jacob where you really want to do things YOUR way. Maybe you feel like sometimes you’re wrestling with God.
Maybe you see a little of all three of these men in your life. But the point is that God’s relationship with YOU is not exactly the same as His relationship with anyone else in all of history. If you find that hard to believe, remember this is the same Creator who made every snowflake unique. Or think about your relationships with your children --- are any two alike? Or think about marriage --- which is a symbol of our relationship with Christ. People always say ... no one knows what is really going on in a marriage except the two people. That’s because no two marriage relationships are exactly alike.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob defines himself as a God who relates to each person in a unique way. These three men were entirely different in personality and circumstance. But there is one thing all three have in common: and that’s FAITH.