Tuesday, June 12, 2012

There are gods...and then there is the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob

Just once, I'd like to see a celebrity receive an award like a Grammy, Oscar, Emmy or Espy and raise their hand up toward heaven and say, "I'd like to thank the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for this award!"

Now that would mean something instead of the generic, non-offensive offering up of thanks to "god" whoever he, she or it may be.

There are gods and then there is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This distinction separates the Almighty God from any other god, including the god, Allah. The fact that God identifies himself with 3 Hebrew patriarchs is very significant because it identifies Him as the God of history. He creates, guides and changes the course of history and uses individuals and nations to accomplish His will.

In Acts 6-7, Stephen was one of seven chosen to wait on tables and administer funds and supplies to the widows. Stephen was a man who was said to be full of faith and the Holy Spirit (How often do you hear that description used of someone today?). Stephen is doing signs and wonders (for insight in a modern-day context, see my post on Mama Heidi in Mozambique). Because of these signs and his gifted ability to speak with much wisdom, he had his detractors who wanted to destroy him and to do so, they fabricated lies. Stephen is arrested and brought before the Jewish leaders. This is a kangaroo court if there ever was one with the men who are trying Stephen in league with his false accusers, probably being paid for their efforts as liars.

Just before Stephen is stoned to death, he lays out the history of the Jewish people starting with God's call to Abraham in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). This is the longest recorded message in the book of Acts (I suggest you go and read it right now--it's really a summation of the Old Testament). Luke includes it because it succinctly describes God's past workings with Israel and how everything He did led to the ultimate fulfillment of the promised Messiah, Yeshua.
Stephen recounts Moses hiding out in the desert of Midian for 40 yrs, and he comes upon a burning bush. Upon closer inspection, he hears the voice of the Lord saying: "I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." 
There were plenty of gods then, and there are plenty of gods now. But there is only One who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This even sets him apart from Allah because according to the Qur'an, Allah is the God of Abraham and Ishmael. In their twisted, fabricated theology, they don't believe that Isaac was the firstborn child of promise, they instead believe it was Ishmael, the child of Hagar the bond-slave to Sarah.

I'll leave you with this. One of the reasons why God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that he is the God who cares about individuals. He chooses them to help raise up a small group of people who would become nation that would spread the glory of God throughout the entire earth.

God also is the God of place. He met Abraham in Mesopotamia when Abraham was totally clueless and had no idea who this God was, and He met with Moses in Midian. He is the eternal, almighty God who meets us right where we are. That's why I can humbly say that because He found me years ago at the age of 14 sitting in the L.A. Coliseum listening to some preacher named Billy Graham. Because He found me way back then at a certain time and place, He is my God as well. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Dale. And He will meet me right where I am today. For that I am truly thankful and praise His Holy Name.

No comments:

Post a Comment