Genesis 32 …Consider Him Who Wrestles

Jacob is following God’s command and returning to the land of his father, and God sends His angels to meet and encourage Jacob of His presence [32:1-2]. Jacob makes his plans to appease his brother, but is absolutely terrified of what the end result may be. “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed,” [32:7]. Jacob acknowledges his unworthiness and God’s lovingkindness, prays for deliverance, and once again admits his fear [32:9-11]. Then he reminds the LORD of what He said, For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered,’ ” [32:12].

Up to this point, all his actions and even prayers are driven by fear. But then, Jacob comes face to face with God and wrestles with Him all night, refusing to let go until he receives His blessing. Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed,” of his brother, a mere man, but bold enough to grab hold and wrestle with God. “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved,” [32:30]. Desperation sometimes generates bravery!

God had demonstrated His lovingkindness to Jacob; He had prospered him and had communicated His purpose for Jacob and his descendants. Jacob experienced His lovingkindness through what the Lord had accomplished and what He had promised. But Jacob was still walking in fear. In his desperation, he grabbed hold of God and God allowed Jacob to strive with Him all night. Why did God touch Jacob’s socket to leave him with a forever limp? Perhaps, as a result, Jacob understood that with just one touch he could have been annihilated, but was spared. Was the Lord reminding Jacob through this wrestling match, that His lovingkindness is tangible; that since God not only allowed him to survive, but also blessed him, Jacob had no need to walk in fear? We may be left with some questions, but as we consider Him in Genesis 32, may we be changed and strengthened by the encounter.

Consider Him Who Wrestles

  1. He allows us to strive with Him. Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak… Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” [32:24, 26].
  2. He touches us, so as to impart a perpetual impact that is far reaching. “When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him… Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip,” [32:25, 31-32].
  3. He changes us. “So he said to him, ‘What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed,’ ” [32:27-28].
  4. He blesses us. Then Jacob asked him and said, ‘Please tell me your name. But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there,” [32:29].

How do we respond to Him Who Wrestles?

  1. Let us deliberately strive to recount the tangible displays of His lovingkindness. Reminding ourselves of His promises strengthen our weary and fear-filled souls. We are invited to come and cling to Him. He will not turn us away. Situations, circumstances, pain, loss, illness; all these threaten to loosen our grip. It’s a wrestling match to cling, to refuse to let go until He blesses. But because of Jesus, we can have the confidence to do so. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” [Hebrews 4:16].
  2. Striving sometimes hurts; we sometimes get put out of joint. And though we strive to love Him and become more like Him, this life leaves us with scars. I love what I recently heard from my Bible Study Fellowship teacher, “Scars are our family resemblance.” And if we resemble Jesus, His impact through us will be far reaching. Let us not let go, even when it hurts!  “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” [Philippians 1:29].
  3. Jacob’s name was changed. In the Hebrew culture a name represented the one bearing that name. Jacob was changed from one who supplants and deceives (even in his preparations to meet up with Esau, we see him conniving and scheming) to one who strives with God, one who refuses to let go until he’s blessed. If we have placed our faith in Christ, He has changed us. Let us hold on by faith, striving against the voice of the accuser, and cling to the truth that we have been changed! “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come,” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
  4. He blesses us. When Jacob asks His name, this answer comes, “Why do you ask my name?” Was He saying like He said to Philip, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” [John 14:9]. What greater possible blessing is there than to know the Father by faith, to see Him as He has revealed Himself in His Son and in His Word? Let us take hold of His truth and not be swayed by doubt. Let us strive to stand strong on what we know; that which He has promised and accomplished. And may we be content to leave our questions with Him, trusting, that in His time and way, we will receive all the answers we need. In the meantime, may we walk in faith; faith always prevails over fear!

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 31 …Consider His Providence

Providence: “the foreseeing care and guidance of God over the creatures of the earth; God, omnisciently directing the universe and affairs of humankind with wise benevolence; a manifestation of divine care or direction.”

Distrust and deception underscore much of the action in Genesis 31. Jacob’s brothers-in-law are suspicious of him, [31:1]. His father-in-law mistreats him. Though serving him for twenty years, Jacob is swindled ten times [31:4-7], and Jacob once again resorts to his default mode of deception. “And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing,” [31:20]. Jacob, convinced he was trapped, responds out of fear. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee … 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force,” [31:26]. And Rachel steals her father’s idols, perhaps convinced if she take matters into her own hands, all will go well, [31:19].

Our circumstances can often leave us fearful and wondering if God is even there. All too often we find ourselves feeling trapped and tempted to take control by whatever means. But His Providence is Perfect! His guidance and direction are ever-present and ever-benevolent.

Consider His Providence

His Providence was revealed through Jacob’s circumstances, both the good and the bad. “So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah… and said to them, ‘I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me,’ ” [31:4-7].

His Providence was revealed through His Word, with commands and promises. “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you… for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth,’ ” [31:3, 12-13].

How are we to respond to His Providence?

No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, let us trust His Providence, in the good times, and the bad. He is faithful and ever with us, providing His guidance and care.

  • “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other…” [Ecclesiastes 7:14].
  • “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” [1 Corinthians 15:57].
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;” [Psalm 23:4].

While His Providence is there in our circumstances, let us not allow our circumstances, whether good or bad, to direct our lives. Let us intentionally seek His direction from His Word.

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” [Psalm 119:105].
  • “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you,” [Psalm 32:8].
  • “Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me,” [Psalm 25:4-5].

Let us grow in our love for Him and our resolve to obey His commands.

  • “You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments,” Deuteronomy 11:1]
  • “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” [John 14:15].

Let us trust His Providence towards us, refuse to take matters into our own hands, and leave the results, outcomes and judgments to Him.

  •  “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night,” [Genesis 31:42].
  • “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” [Romans 8:31].
  • “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations,” [Psalm 100:5].

Let’s Grow Together!

 

Genesis 30 …Consider His Constancy

Constancy: “the quality of being faithful and dependable; the quality of being enduring and unchanging; steadfastness, as in purpose or affection; faithfulness.”

Did Genesis 30 stir up more questions than answers about behavior and motives? Just in the first three verses we see jealousy, anger, pride and manipulation. Just a few verses later the sibling rivalry is out of control. And ultimately Jacob is hired out in the bedroom! It certainly doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of the condition of man. But God’s Word is never intended to flatter; His Word is truth and when we place our faith in Him and His Word, we are changed. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth,” [John 17:17].

It’s truly impossible to explain how the LORD works through the free will of sinful man. But He does. Though the world around us is unstable and unpredictable, He is not. He is faithful and dependable. He is enduring and unchanging. He is steadfast in His purpose and His affection.

Consider His Constancy

His Constancy is conveyed through His Nature. The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?” [Psalm 113:4-6].

His Constancy is conveyed through His Name. “But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations,” [Psalm 102:12].

His Constancy is conveyed through His Word.So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it,” [Isaiah 55:11].

His Constancy is conveyed through His Will. “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure,’ ” [Isaiah 46:9-10].

How can we respond to His Constancy?

In this world, it is easy is to become fixated on events rather than fixing our eyes on Him. At times, the chaos and confusion, the evil and injustice threaten to consume not only our thoughts, but also our hope. Sometimes it is challenging to see Him in the midst of it all. We see our fears rather than His Faithfulness; our mess rather than His Might; our worry rather than His Wonder; our stuff rather than His Sovereignty; the evil one rather than the Exalted One. When life seems to be hurling out of control, remember His Constancy. When we don’t understand, when overwhelmed by life’s insanity, we must hold on to Who He is: His Nature and Name, and what He has promised: His Word and His Will. We will find comfort and clarity in His Constancy.

Let us consider, contemplate and cling to His Constancy:

  • Conveyed through His Nature: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” [Hebrews 13:8].
  • Conveyed through His Name: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe;”  “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever,” [Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 113:2].
  • Conveyed through His Word: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away,” [Matthew 24:45].
  • Conveyed through His Will: “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; … ‘Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth,’ ” [Psalm 46:2, 10].

Let us pray that we are strengthened and changed as we cling to and rest in His Constancy; He is faithful and dependable; He is enduring and unchanging; He is steadfast in His purpose and His affection.

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 29 …Consider Him Who Opens

“Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb…  Leah conceived and bore a son,” [29:31-32]. The LORD, moved by Leah’s pitiable condition, opens her womb. Many questions flooded my head as I considered Genesis 29, but one thing resounded loud and clear, it was the LORD Who opened, and as a result, Leah conceived and bore a son. When God opens, it is certain that His handiwork, His will, His purposes will bring forth results.

Consider Him Who Opens

  1. He Opens eyes and ears blinded by sin: “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped,” [Isaiah 35:5].
  2. He Opens eyes to the Way of Salvation; “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness…18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me,’ ” [Acts 26:15-18].
  3. He Opens the Gates of Righteousness: “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord,” [Psalm 118:19].
  4. He Opens eyes to behold His Truth: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law,” [Psalm 119:18].
  5. He Opens minds to understand the Scriptures: “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,” [Luke 24:45].
  6. He Opens eyes of faith to witness His Miraculous Provision: “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’  And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha,” [2 Kings 6:17].
  7. He Opens prison doors to set the captives free: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,” [Luke 4:18]
  8. He opens doors that we might share the Gospel: “praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ…” [Colossians 4:13].
  9. He Opens the blessings of obedience: “and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows,” [Malachi 3:10].
  10. What He Opens, no one can shut! “He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut,” [Revelations 3:7].

How then shall we respond to Him Who Opens?

Today, let us be intentional to carefully consider what He alone Opens, and personally and honestly examine ourselves for the evidence of our surrender.

  1. Have our eyes and ears been opened to our need of salvation? If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us,” [1 John 1:8].
  2. Have we taken His Only Way of Salvation through His Son, Jesus?  Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,’ ” [John 14:6].
  3. Are we relying on our own righteousness to enter His presence, or solely depending, through faith, on His provision, His righteousness? and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,” [Philippians 3:9].
  4. Do we have a hunger to behold His Truth? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” [Matthew 5:6].
  5. Are we depending on His Holy Spirit to give us understanding? “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth,” [John 16:13].
  6. Are we more influenced by what we see with our physical eyes then with our eyes of faith? Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage,” [2 Corinthians 5:6-8].
  7. Do we attempt to free ourselves from bondage, or depend on Him to set us free? “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” [Romans 7:24-25].
  8. Are we asking for boldness to share the Gospel? and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,” [Ephesians 6:19].
  9. Are we surrendering to Him in obedience and experiencing His blessings poured out? All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God…” [Deuteronomy 28:2].
  10. Are we walking in confidence that what He opens, no one can shut? “Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut,” [Revelation 3:8].

The above is by no means an exhaustive list, and perhaps the LORD will open our eyes to see even more! Whatever He reveals, let us be moved to respond in obedience, and be filled with awe and gratitude for Him Who Opens!

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis …Consider His Words

Jacob, running for his life, to a place he does not know, alone in the wilderness, lies down with a stone for his pillow, and perhaps a shroud of bleakness as a blanket. And the LORD, God Almighty, visits the fugitive in his dream, to speak His Words. Words that would bring His blessing, as Isaac had prayed, “May God Almighty bless you…” [28:3].

12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’ ” [28:12-15].

Consider His Words

His Words declare His Deity. “I am the Lord.”

His Words confirm His Covenant. “The God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.”

His Words initiate His Intention. “The land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.”

His Words bring His Blessing. “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

His Words promise His Presence “Behold, I am with you.”

His Words communicate His Care. “And will keep you wherever you go.”

His Words reveal His Restoration. “And will bring you back to this land.”

His Words give His Guarantee. “For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

How can we respond to His Words?

  • Let us come to His Word with an all-consuming attitude of awe and reverence. “…my heart stands in awe of Your words,” [Psalm 119:161].
  • Let us come to His Word with prepared hearts. May we daily examine our hearts and confess our sins, so that He will hear us when we call. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear,” [Psalm 66.18].
  • Let us come to His Word expecting Him to speak His great and mighty Words. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know,” [Jeremiah 33:3].
  • Let us come to His Word in humility. “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening,” [1 Samuel 3:9].
  • Let us come to His Word to obey, not merely to hear. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does,” [James 1:23-25].
  • Let us allow His Word to harvest Hope in our lives. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” [Romans 15:13].
  • Let us love so fall in love with His Word that it becomes all we can think about! “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day,” [Psalm 119:97].

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 27 …Consider His Predetermination

Genesis 27 is filled with the bitter fruit of a fallen world: parental favoritism; sibling rivalry; conniving; elaborate underhanded scheming; cheating; stealing; the plotting of revenge; planning the getaway. And I confess, much of it is very perplexing. God had clearly communicated to Rebekah while the twins were jostling in her womb, that it was to be the younger, Jacob, who would receive the blessing. So why did it come by way of deception? Could it not have come through way of cooperation and obedience? These answers remain a mystery to me, but I am thankful He has extended an invitation to approach His Word with one focus: to Consider Him in every chapter, to see Him increase, [“He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30].

While intentionally seeking Him, we will also realize traits about others, and yes ourselves, but the main objective is that we see and consider Him. (Remember the definition of consider is “to think carefully about, especially in order to make a decision; contemplate; reflect on.”). Considering Him should always generate a decisive response.

Consider His Predetermination.

His Predetermination established all the days of Isaac’s life before his birth. Isaac could not predict the day of his death. “Isaac said, ‘Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death,’ ” [27:2]. But while Isaac was still in the womb the LORD had predetermined his stay on earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them,” [Psalm 139:16].

His Predetermination elected the recipient of the blessing. “The LORD said to her (Rebekah); “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger,” [25:23].

His Predetermination expressed the blessing, according to His Word. “May peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you,” [27:29]. Compare Isaac’s spoken blessing to that of the LORD’s Word when He called Abraham. “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed,” [12:2-3].

How can we respond to His Predetermination?

  • Although we, like Isaac, do not know the day of our death, we do know our days are numbered. Let us ask Him, like Moses, the man of God did, So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom,” [Psalm 90:12]. May we be wise and intentional with the days He allows, to make the most of our time and every opportunity “because the days are evil,” [Ephesians 5:16].
  • Let us examine ourselves to see if we are of the elect, the recipients of His predetermined blessing. We may have many questions about the doctrine of election, as it is beyond the ability of our tiny, finite minds to fully comprehend. When we don’t understand what we do not know, let us emphatically trust what we do know! We know, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” [John 3:16]. The “whoevers” that believe in His only begotten Son, are the recipients of His blessing of eternal life; a blessing we receive by faith! “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]. When Jesus Christ is in us, His presence in our lives will be detectable. Let us honestly assess the condition of our spiritual lives; do we recognize Jesus Christ in us?
  • His Predetermination expresses His blessings, according to His Word, not our opinions, feelings or wants. We live in a world system that emphatically rejects His truth and finds His Word offensive. Whether we fully understand His ways or not, He is the standard of truth. Let us acknowledge Him as the One to whom we must answer; He does not answer to us. “…who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? [Romans 9:20] And let us not be persuaded by a climate that takes umbrage with His Word. We must adjust our mindset by His Word so that our thinking is aligned to truth. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” [Romans 12:2].
  • Let us find comfort and security in His Predetermination, for He is Good and Righteous in all He is and does. Let us pray, and accept, in complete assurance, that His plans are always to accomplish His good and perfect will; and may we pray without reservation, like Mary, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word,” [Luke 1:38].

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 26 …Consider Him, the God of Abraham

Abraham has died, and the patriarchal mantle has been passed on to Isaac. What a tremendous responsibility! The LORD had been preparing him; surely, Isaac had heard from his father copious details of the LORD’s numerous appearances to make Himself and His covenant known. Isaac was there, after all, when the LORD called to Abraham and said, Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me,” [22:12]. Isaac witnessed the substitute offering provided on the Mount of Provision [22:13]. And again Isaac heard the LORD confirm His promise to Abraham, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice,” [22:16-18].

But a second-hand encounter with the God of Abraham is not sufficient. Isaac needed to experience the LORD himself.

Consider Him, the God of Abraham

The God of Abraham appeared to confirm His covenant.

“The Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws,’ ” [26:2-5].

The God of Abraham appeared to encourage Isaac’s faith.

24  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 the sake of My servant Abraham.’
25  So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there;”
[26:24-25]

How are we to respond to the God of Abraham?

  • The God of Abraham is the One Who establishes and keeps His covenant, His covenant, not ours. He is encountered and experienced through faith in His truth, His truth, not ours. His New Covenant is established through the sacrificial spilling of Jesus’ blood on the cross, “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood,’ ” [Luke 22:20]. When we place our faith in His finished work on the cross for our sins, we enter into that New Covenant by faith, His work, not ours; it is His amazing gift! “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” [Ephesians 2:8].
    • Our faith, not our parents. Each of us must come into relationship with the God of Abraham on His terms, not ours. Let us be diligent to know and study His truth, so as not to be deceived by the godless and poisonous objections of man. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene…” [2 Timothy 2:15-17].
  • The God of Abraham is to be the source of our strength and courage. Lets us be encouraged from the manner in which the God of Abraham dealt with His son, Isaac. Unfortunately, Isaac followed his earthly father’s example and chose the path of trickery and deception to counter his fears [26:6, 9]. Some things that we absorb from our upbringing are difficult to unlearn, even when blessed with parents of faith. And though God had already appeared to Isaac to confirm His covenant, [26:2-5], the LORD still came again with encouraging grace-filled words, “Do not fear, for I am with you”[26:24]. And Isaac built an altar and called on His name, because he himself encountered the LORD. When we fear and fail, let us be quick to confess and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9. With hearts cleansed, we are enabled to encounter Him by faith and embrace His grace-filled presence and provision for strength and courage.
    • “Behold, God is my salvation,
      I will trust and not be afraid;
      For the Lord God is my strength and song,
      And He has become my salvation,”
      [Isaiah 12:2].

Let’s Grow Together!