Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Jacob

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

We are all blessed, not so we can hang on to the blessing but, rather, so that we may bless others.

Jacob is the third father of the Patriarchs of the Faith. Remember Rebekah, the wife of Isaac? The Word says that Rebekah had twins as a result of the fervent prayer of her husband. The first born was Esau, but the second, who was born at the same time was Jacob…which means “heel” because he was grabbing on to the heel of his older brother as they were born.

Twice Jacob does what he must in order to gain the edge over his brother. Esau was a wilderness man. He loved hunting and the outdoors. Jacob not so much. But all his growing up years Jacob was jealous of the birthright of his older brother.  Genesis 25 tells the story.  One day Esau came in from the field and saw that Jacob was cooking stew.  The hunter asked for some and Jacob would only give him something to eat if Esau would give Jacob his birthright as a first born.  Esau shrugged off the importance of being the first born, and because he was very hungry, gave away his rights.  Some have suggested that Jacob stole the birthright or tricked him.  That was the first step in getting what he wanted.

Later, with their father old and blind and dying, Jacob tricked his father into giving his blessing, something that was deeply significant in the Ancient Days.  Isaac indeed blessed his sons… but gave the blessing of the first born, to the second born, and the blessing of the second born to the first born. And there was nothing Esau could do about it, because earlier he had given away his birthright for a bowl of soup. And, so there is a parallel in this generation similar to that of the generation of Isaac and his half brother Ishmael.

The blessing Jacob receives:

Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,

And of the fatness of the earth,

And an abundance of grain and new wine; 

May peoples serve you,

And nations bow down to you;

Be master of your brothers,

And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.

Cursed be those who curse you,

And blessed be those who bless you.”

                        Genesis 27:28-29 (NIV)

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Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Isaac

Isaac was almost the Bible’s first human sacrifice. But God honored his father’s faith and all of Israel was spared.

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

The next in the line of the three great fathers of the Hebrew faith is Isaac… son of Abraham and Sarah.  Named Isaac, which means “laughter,” because the two were so old when they conceived.

Now the Word says in Genesis 22 that God chose to test Abraham.  God told him to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.  Are you kidding me?  What kind of God would ask a man to do that?  As we learned, Abraham was a trusting man. He believed that God knew what He was doing. And God did…

I’ve often been curious about this story.

They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. (Genesis 22:9-10, The Message).

Of course, an angel stops him and God provides a ram, stuck in the thicket, for the sacrifice.  Abraham trusted. God delivered. Blow the shofar! This story is where the ram’s horn originates and I’m guessing Isaac might have given it a blast or two with a huge smile on his face since his life was spared.  And in his place, a sacrifice. A ram. A lamb? Jesus again? Yes, another example of our Messiah in the Old Testament!

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Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Abraham

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

Abraham was called “Friend of God.” You too are God’s friend!

The story of Abraham begins at the end of Genesis 11.  He was the son of Terah, who Scripture tells us was at a minimum an idol worshipper, possibly a man who made his living as an idol maker. He lived in Ur, a thriving metropolis, a place full of the excitement of a city.  And it is on this stage where we hear God’s call.

Genesis 12:1-3 (The Message):

God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.

 I’ll make you a great nation 

      and bless you. 

   I’ll make you famous; 

      you’ll be a blessing. 

   I’ll bless those who bless you; 

      those who curse you I’ll curse. 

   All the families of the Earth 

      will be blessed through you.”

 And then, verse 4: “So Abram went.”

Just like that.  He left the only city he ever knew.  He took his things and his wife and left.  And he journeyed through the wildernesses of the land of Canaan.

And next, verse 7:

God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him.

First, have you noticed that Abram, and a lot of the people of the Old Testament, built altars to God… to worship Him… to acknowledge that God moved supernaturally in their life at a certain point? I believe it is important to remember to do that regularly. If we do nothing else when we go to a church building on Sunday morning, my prayer is that the time spent there is a time of remembering and thanksgiving — worship!

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Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Caleb

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

Setting the table for your children’s success will certainly mean lending a helping hand.

The next father I want us to look at is Caleb.  You may recall it was Joshua, Caleb and ten others who Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land.  Ten reported that the Promised Land was a land full of giants and that the Hebrews could never conquer the land.  Caleb believed God’s word and told Moses, “yes, the land is full of giants, but our God is bigger and we can defeat them.”  (Numbers 13:30 paraphrase.)

So, Caleb and Joshua were the only two to be given God’s blessing to cross the Jordan River and enter the Land of their Inheritance.

Fast forward now some years and look in the book of Judges, Chapter 1.  Caleb has seen the giants in Caanan up close.  They are “Nephilim” — half breeds — children of fallen angels and women.  They are giants. And the land that Joshua gave Caleb had four known Nephilim cities. Caleb and Joshua had fought hard and long and defeated three of the four, but in his old age he needed help to defeat the last of these villages, Kiriath Sepher.

So, Caleb offered a challenge:  To the man who would defeat this enemy village, he would give his daughter in marriage.  You might think that offering his daughter’s hand would be something of a prize or property. However, Caleb was smart.  You see, he was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.  He would rid the region of the cities of giants, and gain a God-fearing warrior husband for his daughter at the same time.  He loved his daughter and only wanted a good husband for her.

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