God’s Saving Mission: Patriarchs

Genesis tells us fascinating things about how God created us, how we fell into sin, how God responded to our sinful condition, and how God put into place His plan to redeem us through the seed of woman. Genesis 3:15 states that a clash between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman is coming. This will bring about the defeat of the serpent, but also will mortally wound the Savior. What follows in Genesis is the beginning of an unfolding of God’s saving plan for us.

This saving plan will always involve the seed of the woman and the seed of the deceiver. Sometimes, as in the situation before the flood, it appears that the plan of God to save us is on thin ice. Whew! Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord! Right? If it were not for Noah, humanity would have ended right then and there with the flood, right? Is that the point of the scripture there? Let me offer another possibility. To do so let’s ask some helpful questions:

Is God is still in charge? Can His word fail? Did God not say that the seed of the woman will ultimately crush the serpent’s head? Does this not show us that things can indeed become very dark before the saving dawn? Also, think about this: Who was there to overhear God’s discussion about this? Who was present in heaven to take notes on God’s grief and remorse that He had even made man? How would we know this if God himself did not reveal it to an inspired writer and record it for us to read and reflect on? No one would know the contents of Genesis 6:5-8 if God had not revealed it, and inspired it to be recorded and preserved for us. Right?

Also, why is it in our Bibles anyway? What purpose does this information serve?

What’s clear here is how human sin brings grief and sorrow to God. It appears that God wants us to know that. Also, we see here that God’s response to sin is to stop it. God wants us to know that too. God is in complete control of us, even though we have freedom of choice. We do not have freedom of consequences of our choices.

When we fast forward to our readings of this week and consider that God is unfolding His Saving mission through the seed of woman, we find God’s biblical revelation focusing in on individuals that carry forward His ultimate Saving plan. Some, today, wonder if God was working among the other nations at this time. How would we know? While we don’t have a lot of biblical information about this, we do hear from God’s word about prophets, priests and kings from other nations who intersect with the biblical track here and there. Melchizedek, Jethro, and Balaam come to mind. And later in the prophets we find God’s concern for Egypt, Assyria, even Babylonia, Medo-Persia, etc.

But the account of the Bible is most focused on the Saving Seed, which leads to God’s greatest Saving work in the world.

And so we read of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the seed line of the Savior, and this family’s adventures with God. It is appropriate that after Genesis we go to Job’s life. His story reveals a great deal about God’s care for our righteousness and Satan’s hatred for those closest to God.

For the balance of our study today, let’s consider Jacob’s life. And a brief analysis of this from the New Testament.

God’s word gives us snapshots of Jacob’s birth, parents, brother, how he got the birthright and the blessing that belonged to Esau as firstborn, and how he got his wives and children and wealth from his father-in-law. Interspersed with these snapshots of Jacob are also snapshots of God.

That’s intentional.

God appears to these forefathers and blesses them. He protects them. He wrestles with them. God is working in this family. He loves them. He treats them with special treatment, not because they deserve it, but because He has a Saving Mission plan of which they are a special part.

Jacob was chosen by God to be over his older brother Esau, even before they were born. Why? Who was doing the choosing here?

Let me invite you to turn to Romans 9 with me. Here we will get a glimpse of how the Bible interprets itself. We get to see what God’s word in the New Testament says about God’s word in the Old Testament!  Paul writes to the Roman church and speaks of his love for his own nation, Israel. Let’s just read and I will save my comments till the end of the reading.

Romans 9:1-21

What on earth is Paul saying here? Well, he’s saying a lot of things. But what grabs your attention in these words? Is it not that God is in complete control, is that not true? God is in complete control so much that hearing these words, we can bristle with objections to Paul’s statements here.

But let’s consider. Did God choose Jacob over Esau? When? Was it when they proved themselves worthy or unworthy? When? Remember God’s word to Rebekah in Genesis 25:23? What does this imply about God’s Saving Mission and the story of Jacob?

In Romans 9, Paul jerks our attention off of ourselves and our control over things eternal, and, it’s like Paul takes our faces and turns them upward. Upward to God’s throne. Upward to God’s purposes. Upward to God’s Saving Mission plans. What we see there puts us in our places. This is God’s work.

Jacob is not the center of Jacob’s story, God is. That’s what Paul sees here in Romans 9. When we really get this and it sticks, we begin to change. No… God begins to change us. The Saving Mission of God works in us and for us, not because we are able in and of ourselves, but because we have become, by God’s grace, Abraham’s seed.

Turn with me to Galatians 3:26-4:7. Follow along with me in reading this if you will.

What does this say about God’s Saving Mission in us? How are you a child of God? When did this happen? What were the benefits?

Lastly, turn with me to 1 John 3:1-11. Who has the seed? Who belongs to the evil one? How can you tell?

God works in those who are His. God chooses those who are His. God saves those who are His. This stands in contrast to another clear truth of scripture: God desires all to come to Him. God knows most will not.

God has placed in us the gift of His Saving Grace and commissioned us to share it with others. Are you one of His chosen ones? Will you share His Saving gospel with others?

God’s Saving Mission: Patriarchs