January 12 – Today’s Readings – Genesis 34-36 and Psalms 12
The more I read about the “Patriarchs” the more I realize how God chose these people despite their messed up their lives. We find Abraham and his son Isaac both lying about who their wives were in order to save their own skins (Genesis 26:7 and Genesis 20:1-3) – Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi slaughtering all the men of an entire city (Genesis 34:25) – Jacob’s son, Reuben sleeping with his father’s wife (Genesis 35:21) – how weird is that! It’s so easy for us to look back on history and ask, “What were these men of God thinking”?
Before we judge these guys too severely however, remember that they didn’t have the benefit of the abiding presence of The Holy Spirit. The reality they lived was different than ours but the revelation of God they did possess was earth-shattering for their time.
They saw God as alive – as one who spoke to them – as one who wanted to bless them. This was in stark contrast to all the nations who worshiped gods of wood and stone.
Hebrews 7: 22 says we have a “better covenant” because Jesus came to adopt us as sons and daughters of God. The patriarchs would have been speechless at the revelation we have now, but especially at the intimacy we enjoy with God. These people lacked both insight and anointing and lived with very little knowledge of the Lord. They knew God as if they were observing Him through a veil. It’s no wonder Jesus had to come. The Patriarchs had little revelation about God’s true nature and character.
We can do better than the ancients. We have a better revelation – we have a personal loving Saviour who has specifically instructed us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We have a compassionate Father who has told us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation. We have been given the garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness. The Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us power to live righteously. I can only imagine what Abraham would have done had he known Jesus as we do. The truth is that he saw only types and shadows and we have seen God Almighty in the face of Jesus Christ. It’s true – the Patriarchs walked by faith and in the revelation they had been given but I wonder what they would think of us and our lifestyles knowing the immense revelation we have been blessed with in Jesus.
1. If the patriarchs had so many “issues” in their lives, what set them apart as God’s special men and women?
2. What are some primary differences between the faith that the Old Testament patriarchs had and the faith that we have?