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The God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob

Moses bush

by Dennis Pollock

When you read the Bible you discover many names and titles given for our Creator God. Many of these titles refer to His attributes, such as The Lord our Healer, the Lord who sees, God Almighty, The Lord our peace, and so forth. In this devotional study we shall look at one of His chosen titles which refers to three specific men, by which He identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Every Bible reader is familiar with this title, but sometimes we are too familiar – we rarely stop and think about its significance and its relevance for us today.

The first and most famous use of this title occurs during Moses' encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses' days as Egyptian royalty are long past and he has been living as a simple shepherd for the last forty years. Although there were no written records of God's dealings with Abraham in those days, by this point Abraham had become legendary both among the Jews and many other Semitic people throughout the Middle East. This strange man who talked with God and fathered a son in his old age was revered by many, and stories of his life and walk with his invisible God had become the subject of many a campfire meal and late night discussion under the stars. But now centuries had passed and this God had fallen silent. Abraham's descendants, through his promised son Isaac, were slaves in Egypt, and his invisible God of miracles seemed far, far away. Nobody even knew His name.

And then Moses saw that mysterious bush, burning with divine flames. As he drew near to observe this strange sight, he heard a voice. The One who addressed Moses did not take long to identify Himself: "I am the God of your father --- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." The Scriptures tell us that "Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God." This was no angel or heavenly messenger – this was God Himself, Creator of all there is or ever was. The same God who had called Abraham to leave his family and his nation and "come to a land that I will show you," the same God that had enabled Sarah to conceive a son in her old age, and the same Divine Person who blessed Jacob with twelve sons who would father the twelve tribes of Israel – this God was now speaking with Moses, calling him to go to Egypt to bring the Jews out of bondage and lead them to their promised land of milk and honey.

Identification

Identification is something with which we are all familiar. We have been asked to produce our driver's license countless times in many different situations, to prove that we are the person we claim to be. When I travel overseas my wife and I keep our passports always available for ready access. Officials will often look them over carefully, usually glancing at us to see how closely we resemble our pictures. There is no government on the earth which does not provide ID for its citizens. Life would be chaotic if there were not at certain times a fairly reliable means to prove exactly who we are.

In Bible days, ID was established by the father's name or the village name. People did not have "last" names in those days, so you declared your father's name along with your own. You were not just Joshua, but Joshua, the son of Nun (that was really his dad's name!). When God told Moses whom He wanted to oversee the production of temple instruments and furniture, He said: "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah." He wanted Moses to get the right guy – not just any Bezalel (which probably was a pretty uncommon name in itself) but the Bezalel whose father was Uri and whose grandfather was Hur, and who was of the tribe of Judah. When Philip went to Nathaniel, excited to tell him about Jesus, he said, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote --- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Not just Jesus, but Jesus of Nazareth. Nazareth was a small village, so calling Him "Jesus of Nazareth" was a pretty good means of identifying the specific Jesus Philip had in mind.

In the same way God was eager for Moses to properly identify Him. He was the One who appeared to, befriended, and entered into covenant relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was not a new thing Moses would be experiencing as God called him to His service – this was a continuation of something God had begun hundreds of years earlier when He appeared to and made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was the very same God Moses had been hearing about around his campfires for decades.

It was this same Moses who would later be the biographer of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the book we know as Genesis. In these stories we find God calling one man out of the idolatry that virtually enveloped the entire world, into a covenant relationship with Himself, the invisible, one true God. This God instituted the practice of male circumcision as a sign of this covenant, promised the descendants of Abraham the land of Canaan for perpetuity, and declared that through this man, Abraham, and his seed, God would bless all the nations of the earth. Contrary to the current religious notions, there were not many different gods; there was only one true God, and He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This became God's personal ID. It was a means by which you could differentiate between the true and living God, and the many impostors and false gods which were so often worshiped among various groups, nations, and cultures.

Throughout the Scriptures we frequently find this title for God. When Moses is sent to Egypt, God tells him to inform the Hebrews: "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you." When Elijah confronted the Baal worshipers on Mount Carmel and called upon God to burn up his sacrifice, he prayed: "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word" (1 Kings 18:36). In the book of Acts, after Peter healed a lame man and the crowds gathered around in amazement, he boldly declared: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus…" (Acts 3:12,13). Peter was announcing, "The same God who told Abraham to leave his country, the same God who told Moses to go back to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let the Israelites go free – this very same God had healed the lame man through the name of Jesus Christ. This was not a new god, not a false god, not a sub-god – this was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Creator of heaven and earth."

Knowing who you worship

Jesus considered a true understanding of God to be of the utmost importance. We see this in His conversation with the Samaritan woman He met at the well. His words must have stung a little: "You worship what you do not know." This is the case with all false religion. Their intentions may be good, their desire to worship God commendable, but they worship in total ignorance. In our world there is a great pressure to accept all religions and faiths to be of equal value. We are told, "There are many roads to heaven," "we all worship the same God," and so forth. But Jesus Christ clearly did not buy into this idea. He went on to tell the Samaritan lady, "We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).

In essence Jesus was saying that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the only true God. All others are pretenders and impostors. The only salvation for any person on our planet is through the revelation God has made of Himself, first beginning with Abraham, and culminating in the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Making sure the God you worship has the correct "ID" is no small thing. This is only possible by reading, studying, and believing the revelation God has given of Himself through the Jewish people, and we find this revelation in the book that we call the Bible. The Bible is not a study of the American people, or the Russians or the Africans or the Chinese or the Mexicans – it is the history of a small nation of people known as the Jews. Here we find the true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus tells us, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Accuracy in our perception of God is not optional for worshipers; it is compulsory!

We find in the Bible an emphasis upon God as the true God, which surely implies that there are false gods. Paul writes, "You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Jesus prays, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3). This is the God who has revealed Himself to men and women through the Holy Scriptures. This is the One whose powerful and mysterious voice told Abraham long ago, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).

Another title

Yet in the New Testament we find another title for this invisible God, used more commonly than the one of which we have been speaking. We find the inspired writers now referring to the Creator of all things as: "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." To the Ephesians Paul writes: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). Peter declares: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3). The apostles are not speaking of a new and different God – they are rather declaring that the God which Jesus Christ reveals to us through His death and resurrection is the same God that spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses long ago. To come to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Jesus is to come to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and it is the only way we can come!

The same God that spoke to Abraham and gave His laws to Moses has sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us and give us eternal life. This is the one true God. John writes: "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).

As we understand the value of an accurate perception of God, we recognize the incredible, immeasurable value of the Bible. All other religions and "holy books" are based on faulty and feeble foundations– the imagination of men's minds and the deception of men's hearts. The true God has revealed Himself through a people we know as the Jews. The history of their experiences with God has been recorded in the Scriptures. As we open the pages of the Bible and read with a prayerful, open heart, we will discover the true God, and His Son Jesus Christ. With this discovery we shall have everything we need for now and eternity. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ shall become our God.

For a full listing of all devos (written and audio) go to our Devos Catalog Page.

     

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