Last week we left off last week speaking of legacy.
We remember the promise made to Abraham way back in Genesis 15, a covenant to make him into a great nation:
And that covenant was affirmed in Genesis 17:
And Abraham had a child with his wife Sarah, and they named him Isaac.
Isaac then through his wife Rebekah has twins, Jacob and Esau, and there’s a prophecy that is told about them that the older will serve the younger.
What we watch then is that Esau, sells his birthright to Jacob for some soup after a bad day.
And later as Isaac is dying, at a time when it is traditional for the father to place his blessing on the oldest son to bequest his inheritance to him, Jacob deceives Isaac by posing as Esau.
And Isaac places the blessing on Jacob.
It is important for us to note at this point that God does not bless Jacob because he is a good person.
The Apostle Paul refers to God’s blessing upon Jacob while he was in the womb, recalling Genesis 25:23:
Paul writes to the Romans:
Note it is not because of works - obviously as none of us has done anything while we’re in the womb - but instead it is “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue.”
And so as the promise was made to Abraham, and Isaac, that promise is now conferred upon Jacob.
So often we hear it said, “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” reminding us of the promise.
The covenant God makes with Abraham is established not only with Isaac, but with Jacob.
We’ve seen the Abrahamic promises repeated to Isaac:
And repeatedly to Jacob:
and in Genesis 35:11-12, and 46:3-4.
Now we see the lineage of Abraham.
Abraham and Sarah had Isaac.
Isaac and Rebekah have Jacob and Esau, Jacob being the chosen one.
In chapter 32 Jacob’s name gets changed, much like Abram became Abraham, Jacob becomes Israel.
Jacob means “He takes by the heel” or “He cheats.”
Remember he had taken Esau’s birthright for some soup, and then he deceived his father for the blessing.
Israel means: “He strives with God.”
What has happened is that Jacob had sent his family away, and we read this account:
Scholars point to this being a change in Jacob where now his father’s God has become his God.
Now for clarity, I’m going to continue to use Jacob to speak of the individual and Israel to refer to the people, because from Jacob and his descendents the 12 tribes of Israel are formed.
On the front of your bulletins you will see the lineage:
Jacob, remember fell in love with Rachel, but her father Laban gave him her older sister Leah with whom he had Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
Then, through Rachel’s servant Bilhah, he has Dan and Naphtali.
Then, through Leah’s servant Zilpah, he has Gad and Asher.
Then Leah’s womb is opened again, and he has Issachar and Zebulun.
Through Rachel, he would have Joseph and at her last Benjamin
The family legacy of deception continues - as we’ve said in the past these are not necessarily “good” people, but somehow God is working his plan of redemption.
Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and through a variety of events he finds himself in the service of the Pharaoh himself in Egypt.
In fact he is put over all of Egypt, and it is through Joseph that his family survives a great famine that occurs in the land.
He says to his brothers,
Now what we see happen is God’s redemption and protection of Israel as all of Jacob’s sons move down to Egypt.
This is where Genesis ends with all of Jacob’s sons living in Egypt, outside the land that was promised.
But remember they were told that they would be enslaved outside the promised land for 400 years.
Though Joseph is soon to die, he affirms that God will care for his brothers and that they will get back to the promised land in fulfillment to the covenant made with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
So we see how our understanding of Genesis is foundational to our understanding of God’s redemptive story throughout the Bible.
As we look forward to Thanksgiving, what is in your heritage, your legacy where you can see that perhaps you thought was “the worst thing ever” that ended up being a blessing.
Where do you see God working in your life?
God is not silent.
God continues to work.
Wrestling with God
Too often we think of our struggles with our faith to be a bad thing.
The father that brought his son to Jesus in Mark chapter 9, wanted so badly for his son to be healed.
And lets read that story together quickly here as we wrap up.
It comes from Mark 9:17-29.
If you’re struggling with God over something: forgiveness, unanswered prayer, hope, a decision - know that the struggle is a good thing.
Especially if it is driving you to prayer.
We’re all on that spectrum of belief and unbelief at any given moment.
Still, God is there, and God meets us there as he met the father in the midst of his struggle.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, continues to redeem, and their God is our God.