Journey Word 3: Chosen Family
With the new beginning, which was after the flood, sin and corruption reigned in the world and waxed daily. God wanted to bring His Plan of redemption, but people would not let Him. God began forging it through one family, Abraham and Sarah.
Abraham and Sarah’s family
Abraham and wife Sarah (eventually called Abram and Sarai respectively). Originating from Ur in Mesopotamia, a place of business commerce, and Abraham’s family was semi-nomadic. This means they chose to move where they found food and pastureland for their livestock.
Soon, God would call Abraham to migrate from Harran to the land of Canaan, and assured him with a covenant that God would bless him and his family. God reaffirms this covenant seven times over the course of his life.
The following promises are included in the Abrahamic Covenant:
Abraham and Sarah would have a son (Genesis 18:1-15) All nations would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:1-3) The land that God would show Abraham would belong to his descendants (Genesis 12:7; 22:15-18) Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and also the sand on the seashores (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:17). By faith, Abraham would make his home in the Promised Land just as a stranger in a foreign land would. Abraham and Sarah though were old and childless. A miracle was necessary if they were to succeed in God’s expectations. Sarah thought it would be a wise idea to have Abraham mate with Hagar, which would birth a son named Ishmael. He was the illegitimate child and not the child of promise either.
God was faithful, and birthed a miracle through Sarah, and that name was Isaac, the son of promise. This was 25 years after God made the covenant with Abraham. Now, Abraham’s faith in God increased after Isaac’s birth, as God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac – and Abraham was willing. Abraham believed God could raise the dead, but instead of letting Abraham sacrifice Isaac, God sent a ram in for slaughter in the thicket instead to prevent Isaac’s death.
After Abraham and Sarah died, we see the Bible focus on Jacob and Esau. Later in Jacob’s life, God changed his name to Israel. “One that wrestles with God” is how it is mostly explained. One time Jacob and his mother Rebekah tricked an aged and blind Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing that belonged to Esau.
Jacob fled when Esau wanted revenge, and it would be 20 years before they see each other again. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, even though Jacob wanted to marry Rachel. Jacob married both sisters. Leah and Rachel were always competing for Jacob’s affection, and both had as many children as possible. This ended in twelve sons and one daughter in the end. They went as far as giving their slave women to him for more children.
Jacob would eventually glimpse into the heavenly realm, the dream of a stairway to heaven (Jacob’s Ladder). The Lord would reaffirm His Promises. After being 20 years away from his brother, Jacob would see Esau. Jacob was afraid of him and prayed for his life. However, Esau did not want revenge, but instead embraced and forgave him. Then, the Lord renewed his covenant promises of blessing with the family and chose to work with their broken lives by rescuing them from doom. This blessing would continue for many generations. Hallelujah!
Joseph in Egypt
We see the story of Joseph unique, especially being from a broken family. Joseph chose to rely on God, even if the future seemed hopeless. Joseph’s brothers resented him, but Jacob favored him. His brothers decided to trap him and sell him to slavery, but then lie to Jacob that he had been killed by wild animals.
As a slave, Joseph was in Egypt with no status. However, he knew the Lord was with him. He was eventually placed in charge of Potiphar’s house, and one of Pharaoh’s officers. However, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of adultery, and was sent into prison. Nonetheless, he made it out of prison when Pharaoh had been notified that Joseph could interpret dreams. All it took was interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, and Joseph was made a high ruler in Egypt.
During the famine, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to gather provisions, and Joseph chose to forgive them. Eventually, Jacob and family migrated to Egypt by Joseph’s help. God’s Promises shall be faithful from thereupon.
The Book of Job tells the story of this upright man whose life was completely overthrown. God permits satan to take everything from Job, and he loses his riches, children, health, and more – but he never let his loyalty to the Lord slip.
Through the book, we see his friends try to empathize with him and try to help him diagnose his suffering. God never answers Job’s questions on his suffering, but in the end Job comes to trust that God still loves him and cares for him. With all of Job’s questions, God finally told him what he needed to know, and then God ended up restoring Job’s health with riches and blessing him with better health and more children. Job persevered and is a great testimony of the work of the Lord (James 5:11).
Timeline of events
2100 BC – The story of Job. James mentions Job’s story as the example of persevering in God, and of God’s Compassion (James 5:11).
Abram’s father moves his family from Ur to Harran (Genesis 11).
Abrahamic Covenant – God called Abram to move to Canaan (Genesis 12:1-9)
In Egypt, Abram told Pharoah that Sarai was his sister, so God intervenes and rescues Sarai (Genesis 12:10-20).
Abram rescued Lot from captivity (See Genesis 13-14).
Abram gave a tenth of his money (tithe) to Melchizedek – the king and priest (Genesis 14-15). We see also in the Book of Hebrews how Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec/Melchizedek (Hebrews 5-7).
Hagar bore a son with Abram, and named him “Ishmael” (Genesis 16).
God renamed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah respectively (Genesis 17). They were listed as people who had faith in the most trying of circumstances as they trusted God would fulfill His Promises (Hebrews 11:8, 11).
God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but spared Lot (Genesis 19).
2066 BC – Isaac is miraculously born to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21).
2050 BC – Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away with God’s provision (Genesis 21).
God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Isaac. God provides a ram to be sacrificed instead (Genesis 21). That attempted sacrifice was on Mount Moriah near the outside of Jerusalem – similar as to where Jesus was sacrificed (Genesis 22:2; 2 Chronicles 3:1; John 19:17-18).
2005 BC – Rebekah bears twins: Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:19-26).
1991 BC – Abraham died at age 175 (Genesis 25:1-18).
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:27-34).
Isaac lied about his wife saying she was just his sister (Genesis 26).
Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing of the firstborn (Genesis 27).
Esau wanted revenge, so Jacob fled to Harran. Then he has a dream about the stairway to heaven (Genesis 28). Jesus referred back to this stairway when He declared Himself to be the path between Heaven and Earth – Jesus bridges the gap also from time and eternity (John 1:51).
Jacob married Leah and Rachel (Genesis 29).
Leah and Rachel compete for Jacob’s affection by having many sons (Genesis 30-31).
Jacob is renamed Israel while struggling/wrestling with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32). This occurred on his way back to Canaan.
Jacob and Esau reconcile after being apart for 20 years (Genesis 33).
1900 BC – Rachel died after giving birth to Benjamin (Genesis 35).
Isaac died at age 180 (Genesis 35).
Joseph’s jealous brothers sold him to slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37). Stephen martyr told the story of Joseph in Acts 7:9-16.
Judah sleeps with Tamar (Genesis 38).
Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph, leading him to be thrown into prison (Genesis 39). Joseph interprets dreams in the prison (Genesis 40). Joseph is then made a top official in Egypt after interpreting Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 41). Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt to buy grain during the famine, and Joseph pays kindness to them (Genesis 42-45). Jacob’s family then came to settle in Egypt (Genesis 46) in about 1876 BC.
Joseph supplied food for the masses during the seven year famine (Genesis 47). God had worked through Joseph to save many lives. He did the same thing through Jesus Christ to offer Salvation to many people (Genesis 50:20; 1 John 2:2).
Jacob blessed his sons before he died (Genesis 48-49). Jacob is shown as an example of faith for blessing his descendants (Hebrews 11:20-21). Jacob’s blessing to Judah was that “the scepter will not depart from Judah”, which would indicate the everlasting Kingship (Genesis 49:10; Luke 1:33).