Today’s reading was from Genesis 46-47. I struggled to frame my thoughts for this post, wrestling with the language and the parallels in the story. So I have a niggling feeling that there might be inaccuracies, which I can’t quite pick out at the moment.
It’s worth sitting up and taking note when God names Himself. In Genesis 46:3, God appears to Jacob in a ‘vision of the night’, and says, “I am God, the God of your father.”
Why does God introduce Himself as the God of Isaac?
Well, in fact, God also introduces Himself to Isaac as the God of Abraham, Isaac’s father. And it was with Abraham that God established His covenant (promise – binding in God’s case), to make him the father of a multitude of nations. That he would be God to his offspring just as He was God to Abraham. And it is by this that Isaac and Jacob know who God really is. The knowledge of God was woven into their family history. Therefore when God appeared to Jacob, and Isaac before him, He would identify Himself as God of their father, and they would instantly understand who He was. And furthermore, they would look at the covenant God had established with Abraham and marvel at God’s faithfulness to His people.
Today, if God was to name Himself before His followers in Jesus, He would no longer need to say “I am the God of your father.” He would say “I am your father.” This is the new covenant, bought with the blood of Jesus, shed for the propitiation of our sin. As Romans phrases it, “we have received the Spirit of sonship”, and we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”. It is an eternal covenant, that despite the many generations of Christians that have lived and died, we are all still considered children of God – we’re not grandsons or granddaughters, inheriting our faith from our parents, but we inherit our faith from God Himself. God establishes this covenant with each one of us through Jesus Christ, if we are faithful to keep it.
If Isaac, Jacob, and all who followed them took pride in their identity as sons of Abraham, inheriting the covenant of their forefather, how much more pride should we take in being sons of God, inheriting the covenant from God himself – the promise that He will be our God?