Friday, May 5, 2017

4 characteristics of the God of Israel

Read Genesis 48.

Seventeen more years went by and Jacob, at 147 years of age, lay dying.  Key to his account here is the covenant God made with Abraham and was passed on to Isaac and then to Jacob (v.4).  In blessing Joseph's two sons, Jacob fully included these boys in that unconditional covenant from God though they are half-Egyptian by their mother.  In the future, there is no tribe of Joseph mentioned; only the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh.

On his deathbed Jacob gave a testimony of his journey with God in verses 15-16.  
1.  The LORD is "my shepherd."
This is the first mention in the Bible of God being a shepherd.  Like a good shepherd, the LORD cares for, leads and feds those in His flock.  The LORD was not on the God of his fathers but Jacob had a personal relationship with Him.

2. The LORD is "the angel."
Surely, this is a reference to God Himself as He appeared to Abraham.  In these preincarnate visits of Christ, the LORD made known His plans for this family's future.  Jacob wrestled with Him in Chapter 32.

3. The LORD "has redeemed me from all evil."
This is the first use of this word in the Bible.  It means "to buy back".  As one may be destitute, a near relative would come to that person's rescue and assume full responsibility for them.  Jacob praised God for being such a Rescuer in protecting him and his family.

Even an older reference maybe the one found in the book of Job as he declared, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth." (Job 19:25)

4. The LORD hears and answers prayer.
Jacob looked to God to "bless" his family, to protect the legacy, and fulfill His promises.

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd." (John 10:11a)
Jesus said, "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11b)
Jesus said, "I know my own and my own know me." (John 10:14b) 

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