God sometimes calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:6) being the manifestation of God to the generational trio of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob based on his name Almighty God.
What I now want to examine are some ways that God showed himself as mighty, nay as Almighty (i.e. El-Shaddai in the Hebrew language) in the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in a way show a parallel, between their experience of God and ours who now have a relationship with God in the New Testament order.
Whatever difficult these three progenitors of the nation of Israel were confronted with, God usually showed himself to be more than capable of handling.
As Almighty, God made it possible for Abraham to have a child through Sarah, both of them being beyond the productive age. What we see from the bible later in the New Testament was that their bodies were dead, in the reproductive sense (Romans 4:16-21).
They waited for years and when eventually God said it would happen within a year, Sarah almost “suffocated” in laughter (Genesis 18:9-15, Genesis 17:15-19). She probably saw herself as being the embodiment of the “joke” of the century at that time, becoming pregnant and giving birth to a child at almost century years of age (pun intended) (Hebrews 11:11-12, Genesis 21:6-7).
The mirror image of what they experienced in the natural is what we experience in the spirit, those of us who have come to know Christ. The bible says that we were dead in trespasses and sins (in a spiritual sense) but in Christ we are made alive (Ephesians 2:1, 5). It was an “impossible” situation, to change the sinful nature of man, to bridge the gap between man and his creator, as a result.
The disciples once asked Jesus how anyone can be saved? The answer He gave was, “with man it is impossible, but not with God, for with God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:25-26).” Else he won’t be God. There is no knotty situation that he cannot unravel, there is no one too far gone in sin that cannot be reached and revived by His saving grace.
The situation of Sarah was that no “life” could grow in her. So also was the situation of sinful man- incapable of containing the life of God; but how did Sarah “achieve” being pregnant with Isaac? The bible says it was by faith. How do you become born again, changed from being sinful to being righteous (2Corinthinas 5:21)? Also by faith (Ephesians 2:8), that what God promised- to provide salvation in his Son (Acts 4:8-10) and that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13), are true.
You believed in the promise of new life through Jesus Christ (2Timothy 1:1, Romans 6:23). Jesus said flesh gives birth to flesh (through a physical process) while Spirit gives birth to spirit (spiritual life) (John 3:3-4, 6-7) in the once spiritually dead who have now embraced salvation in Christ and with that we experience of the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which sets us free from the Law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).
As the God of Abraham, God also manifested himself in the great exchange on a Mount in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:1-18) (a ram was slaughtered instead of Isaac his son), being a prelude for the great exchange that took place on Golgotha (John 19:16-18, 1Corinthians 15:3) (where Jesus as the Lamb of God was sacrificed, taking the punishment on sinful humanity [John 1:29]).
Abraham had obediently decided to go on with the demand of God to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son (does that ring a bell?). That willingness to sacrifice his son, made God put a stamp on the promise to multiply Abraham and make him a great nation.
So also God (following Abraham’s example, if I can put it that way) in another example of the natural mirroring the spiritual, by giving up his Son (Luke 1:35), Jesus, to the death on the cross, had the returns of multiplied sons all across the globe. Jesus said except a grain of seed falls to the ground and dies it abides alone but afterwards it brings forth more fruit (John 12:24). The sacrifice of the Son of God brought many sons into glory (Hebrews 2:9-10, John 1:12).
Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, (being the carrier of his hope of being the father of many nations by the word of God himself); which was his thought while obeying the command to sacrifice his son (Hebrews 11:17-19).
There was a manifestation of God’s power in the life of Isaac after he harkened to the voice of God not to go down to Egypt (Genesis 26:1-6, 12-13) but to stay where he was. Though it was in famine (that was the reason he wanted a journey to Egypt in the first place), he sowed in that land and reaped 100 fold, against the dictate of the weather forecast, ancient practices and probably experience. Both Abraham and Isaac epitomise the importance of faith and obedience in experiencing God as the Almighty.
A life of obedience is also what we are called to embrace as followers of Jesus Christ (John 14:21) to experience the manifestation of God.
For Jacob, he had to move from place to place: he ran from his Father’s house in fear of his brother Esau in Canaan to his Uncle Laban (Genesis 27:41-45, 28:1-22), then again from his uncle back to Canaan, against the backdrop of fear of being cheated (Genesis 31:30, 35:1-6). Through all these, Jacob experienced God as almighty
In the most challenging of situations, he experienced the protection and the provision of God for him and his household.
And one thing that was a common denominator in all the journeys of Jacob was a place called Bethel. He discovered it on his first transition between Canaan and the house of Laban. On that journey, he slept overnight in a place, using a stone as his pillow, and in a dream he saw a ladder that goes to heaven with angels going up and down it. On waking up, he called the place Bethel, meaning the house of God.
That was the decisive experience for Jacob, the experience of the House of God, which was also the key to him experiencing God as Almighty. To him, God has a specific address and that was the House of God. That trilled him to no end and he poured oil on the stone he used as pillow on that first journey from his father’s house.
What would you give to know the address of God, the very place where meeting him was sure?
The ultimate House of God is Jesus Christ (John 2:19-22), so perish the thought of connecting with God without him. (Also perish the thought that this means a physical address on this earth, it is a spiritual location called “in Christ (Colossians 1:2)” that you enter by faith in Him and through His finished works at Calvary). With him you are guaranteed to meet God, but without him you are lost forever without “an option of fine.”
- Levirate Smackdown – November 10, 2013 – Luke 20: 27 – 38 (prissiesissie.wordpress.com)
- By Faith (moreprecious.co.uk)
- Like father, like son? (dredwilliams.wordpress.com)
- Are You Willing to Sacrifice Your “Isaac”? (peacefulwife.com)
- The keys toward attaining God’s standard of obedience (witnesswell.net)
- The Will of God (prayercommunicationwithgod.wordpress.com)
- Genesis 22 – The offering of Isaac (myjoyandcrown.com)
- So Far…the Fourth Patriarch (spbiblestudy.wordpress.com)