Perseverance of Faith: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
Perseverance of Faith: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
J.C. Thompson |
Perseverance of Faith: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
Believing God – Message 7
August 2, 2020
A. Introduction: (Genesis 12:1-3; Philippians 1:6. C/R: Romans 8:30)
- We are continuing our series on Hebrews 11, Believing God.
- Today we will be talking through the lives of not 1, not 2, but 3 men listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.
- There are a number of things in the life of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph that are noteworthy that I would think would be up for consideration.
- But the Apostle, the author of Hebrews, only mentions these men exercising their faith as they are facing death.
- What is it specifically that the author of Hebrews wants to highlight about these men's faith in the light of death?
- Their faith centers around the covenant that God established with Abram in Genesis 12:1-3:
- The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curses those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3 (NLT)
- God's covenant with Abram included possession of the land of Canaan, that his descendants would create a great nation, and that his descendants would provide blessing to the entire world.
- Each of these men trusted God with this promise made to their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Their faith proved true even until the end of their life.
- The principle in Philippians is a worthy focus for us today.
- And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
- While we cling to the promise of this verse, we must also understand that a faith that perseveres is a faith that can be trusted. These men had faith until they passed from this life.
- We must persevere in our faith as God continues His work in us.
- What does a faith that perseveres look like? How can we have this type of faith?
B. A faith that perseveres...
1. Embraces the will of God. (Genesis 26-27; Hebrews 11:20. C/R: Proverbs 16:9)
- It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. Hebrews 11:20 (NLT)
- Like Sarah, Rebekah was also barren, but Isaac prayed for a son and God blessed them with twins.
- God spoke directly about these children to Rebekah, when she was struggling with her pregnancy: 22 But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked.23 And the LORD told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” Genesis 25:22-23 (NLT).
- This prophecy was true in many ways as Jacob and Esau constantly struggled against one another.
- 27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25:27-28 (NLT)
- No doubt that Isaac would have known this prophecy about his two boys, but his physical, flesh caused him to favor Esau, while his mother favored Jacob, the younger.
- Esau, despising his birthright, as he was a man who lived in rebellion to God, as we see when he marries women from the Hittites, who made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.
- This rivalry finds its climax in the scene that the author of Hebrews describes.
- Isaac felt he was near death, so he gathers his children to give them their blessing. FYI – he lived for 43 more years after this interaction with Jacob and Esau and the blessing –
- This incredible scene shows the sinfulness of Isaac, who intended to bless his firstborn, and Jacob and Rebekah, who while having faith in the promise, did not have enough faith to trust God to bring it about and thus deceived Isaac.
- Isaac’s faith is seen here in a few ways. His blessing centered around the covenant promise of His father Abraham.
- While Isaac meant for the blessing to be given to Esau instead, it still came from inspiration from God which Isaac applied in faith.
- Isaac blessed both of his sons, Jacob with something that neither he nor his father had possessed and that neither Jacob nor his sons would possess. But Isaac trusted that God would not forget His promises and would be faithful to Isaac and his family.
- He blessed Esau with temporal blessings here on earth and that must have been a result of prayer for his son Esau.
- While we do not affirm Isaac’s passivity, nor the means that Rebekah and Jacob utilized in deceiving their father, God’s will prevails.
- APP: What has God promised to you? Are you willing to wait on God to accomplish it?
2. Establishes blessing to the future generations. (Genesis 25-50; Hebrews 11:21. C/R: Deuteronomy 6:4-9,20-25)
- It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. Hebrews 11:21 (NLT)
- Jacob was the son of Isaac and was quite similar to his father in ways.
- His faith was most certainly up and down.
- He negotiated with God (Genesis 28:20-11) and he also acknowledged God’s blessing on his life (Genesis 31:5).
- He praised God when he received the dream of the heavenly ladder (Genesis 28:16-17) and so driven to receive God’s blessing that he wrestled with Him all night long. (Genesis 32:24-26)
- Instead the author of Hebrews mentions 2 things that Jacob did by faith
- Firstly, Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons. This story is found in beginning at the end of Genesis 47 through the start of Genesis 49.
- I want to make a few observations about this blessing.
- We get a special insight into someone, who is a follower of Jesus nearing death. His dying is both a summary and a reinforcement of the priorities of his life.
- He expressed the covenant that God had made with Abraham and reinforced that to his children.
- He spoke of God’s gracious provision in his life daily while also recounting the difficulties and trials of his faith.
- He especially reflects on his encounter with the Angel or Christ that he wrestled with kept him from evil.
- Jacob blessed both of Joseph’s children, but gave the greater blessing to Ephraim, the younger.
- Joseph was frustrated by this and attempted to reverse his hands, but clearly Jacob had spent time with the Lord and knew how to share the blessing. Even when we are nearing death, God can still reveal new things to us.
- Secondly, Jacob “bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff”
- Picture a man who will die in a few days, in one last act of worship. One hand on his bed, the other on his staff bowing to worship God.
- This is an outward posture of an inward attitude of heart. Jacob couldn’t get fully on the ground to worship, but he still did what his body would allow.
- I think we are beginning to see a bit of why the author of Hebrews grouped these men together.
- God had promised them that they would possess the land and God fulfilled His promise, just not before these men passed on from this life.
- These men were not bitter for not being able to enjoy the promises that God had given to them, instead they believed so strongly in these promises that they shared that with the Next Generation.
- The idea of a blessing is one that is not really practiced in our culture.
- A blessing is a combination of our prayers for our children and our predictions based on our time praying for our children and God’s revelation of them to us.
- [Picture of the Pathway] But it is something we encourage parents to do. In fact, we start the process in Parent Child Dedication, continue it in Middle School through an event we call Burly Girly.
- In fact, we believe parents passing on faith to their children is so important we released over 2 years ago a resource called “The Pathway” which you can find on brookwoodchurch.org/pathway
- It’s our role as parents and adults to pass on faith to the next generation. The promises of God are never meant to pass away with our lives. We are supposed to pass them on to the next generation.
- We do this through loving God with zeal, training our children with the truth of God’s Word, and sharing our personal story of God’s blessing to us with them.
- Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph did this.
- While Isaac did this by finally submitting to the will of God, Jacob was able to see his son that he thought was dead, whom he recognized the special call on his life, rise to power in a foreign land, experience the grace and provision of God and forgive his brothers.
- APP: How are you sharing the promises of God with your children or grandchildren? Are you sharing your story of faith in Christ with them?
3. Entrusts our future to Christ. (Genesis 37-50; Hebrews 11:22. C/R: Matthew 6:19-21)
- It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22 (NLT)
- As we mentioned earlier. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers. Why?
- Well, it was a response of frustration with the dream that God had given to Joseph and also Joseph, more than likely eagerness to share the outcome of that dream with his brothers.
- After that God was gracious and present with Joseph as he faithfully fulfilled his role, earning promotions and trust, resisted temptation from a promiscuous woman, endured in prison, utilized his gift in interpreting dreams, and faithfully stewarded the possessions and responsibility given to him by Pharaoh
- While Joseph gained power and influence in Egypt, his heart remained focused on the promise given to his great grandfather Abraham.
- Joseph spoke confidently, through faith, that the Israelites who would soon find themselves in bondage, would leave Egypt and inherit the Promised Land.
- He confirmed his faith in this promise by commanding them, as he was rightfully in charge of his brothers, to take his bones to Canaan and bury them there.
- Even if physically he couldn’t possess the land, Joseph would rather his remains be there.
- One pastor put it this way, “If Joseph couldn’t possess the land, at least the land could possess Joseph.”
- Through all that Joseph had accomplished and attained, he chose the promise of God rather than the fruits of his production.
- Not only was Joseph for his own heart’s fulfillment. He was also doing this in leadership in both opposition of the Egyptians and also in support of the future suffering of the Israelites.
- First, he wanted to make sure that even though he had acquired great power and influence and material wealth through his position of leadership and authority in Egypt, he did not want to be recognized as an Egyptian. So this was a final move to be removed from that possibility.
- Second, he wanted to provide hope for his brethren to receive the fulfilled promise and his bones would be a reminder to hold fast to the promise.
- Lastly, this would have been an honor to his father who bought a portion of the land given to Joseph’s sons as an inheritance from God. This would have been a nod to God’s faithfulness and provision for him.
- App: Is the life of God so meaningful, so concrete that we truly lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven?
- We must do this not only on at the time of our death, but daily exercising our faith in Christ, being obedient to Him.