For Lord’s Day, March 4, 2012
As we move on in our Genesis sermon series to Isaac and now Jacob, I would like to share a few last thoughts about father Abraham that did not make it into the sermons but are helpful for us to meditate on in our own walk of faith in Christ, “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
Victor Hamilton notes that Abraham is a bridge figure between primeval and patriarchal history, “between the origins of the nations of the earth and the origins of the chosen nation.” And that chosen nation will be the beginning of Christ’s conquering of all the nations (God’s promise to Abraham and the meaning of his name change).
Dillard and Longman write, “ … the focus of the narrative [of the Abrahamic story] moves from the entire world to one person who will found a nation.” Paul House also notes that “ … this father of the Israelite people begins the process of initiating a single nation and salvation for all people.” That’s important. What we continue to see in Genesis is God’s sovereign choosing of certain people. A narrowing down of genealogies from within a chaotic world that always seems like it is about to engulf and devour the “puny” Church in each age — even the true church within the visible church (such as at the time of the Reformation). This is why Paul refers to Abraham so often in Romans and Galatians to prove that true Israelites are those who have the faith of Abraham in God’s righteousness (Gen. 15:6), and not faith in their own righteousness before God.
This week, we will see that God will narrow down His promised lineage even to within one womb (He chooses Jacob only) instead of between two wives. We will see that Paul has a lot to say about this story in Romans 9 relating to election. God is in sovereign control of His redemptive history. And we should simply stand in awe of Him for it and be thankful to have been chosen by His free grace according to His own purpose in election that stands in every age.
A.W. Pink gives us some meaningful nuggets for further consideration of how Abraham and his life with God should inform and motivate our own:
“Surely we shall be richly repaid if we devote our most diligent attention to the prayerful study of the life of such a man.” We do need our mentors and models to follow in the faith.
“It was not until the utter depravity of man had been fully demonstrated … that God dealt with Abram in sovereign grace.” God uses all things for our good and the backdrop of His glory.
“The Lord’s commands are rarely accompanied with reasons but they are always accompanied with promises, either expressed or understood.” He adds that God’s promises replace and improve loss involved with obedience to His commands. You will never regret refusing to live like slaves by serving King Jesus.
As sons of Abraham by faith, may you totally rely on God and His promises, beloved. Your hope in Him and obedience to Him will be greatly rewarded in this world, but especially rewarded with gifts that last in the heavenly city built by God.