David Pawson - Genesis Pt6

Thoughtful Thoughts 8 December 2018 Genesis Part 6

Catch up...

The first 10 chapters deal with a great many hundreds of years, all written as a newspaper journalist might record a story. God’s first of the big covenants, was with Noah, was for all of us, as it was general and unconditional. God used the rainbow as a reminder of the covenant with Noah, (see Gen. 9:12 ff), which was referred to by Jesus in Luke and Matthew.

The next of the big covenants was the one God made with Abraham...

The Abrahamic covenant...

The next 40 chapters slow down to deal with just a few hundred years, covering just a few generations.  It is written like ‘Abraham & sons’ keeping a diary of walking with God.

God came up with a plan to save those that would listen to Him, and that all started with Abraham’s family, and that centred around God’s next big covenant.


Non-family members could join in if they accepted the conditions of the covenant, but it still centred around the covenant God made with Israel.

a). The famous examples of this are Rahab in Joshua 2, mentioned in Hebrews 11:21; and Ruth who married Boaz, (see the book of Ruth). They both ended up in the family tree of Jesus.

b). There were even some Egyptians who left Egypt with Moses and became Israelites, but they all had to solemnly  join the covenant God had made with Israel, and become part of the family with all of the laws, rules and regulations. That was the deal.

c). The Rechabites mentioned in Jeremiah 35:19 is another example of Gentiles being included in God’s covenant with the Israelites.


The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a covenant making God. From the main characters in the Genesis stories we see that it is those who made spiritual choices at the expense of choices of the flesh, who were approved by God. Being the eldest was not the major consideration.

a). An example of that is when Abraham tried to argue a case for Ishmael, but then God pointed out that Abraham’s inheritance must be passed on through Isaac; (Gen. 17:18-19), called in the NT a child of the promise.

b). In Gen. 25:29ff we see that Esau, the first born, (by a few minutes!), sold his birthright to Isaac. Later on we see that God then said He hated Esau, (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13). Then we see that God said He loved Jacob; (Malachi 1:2; Romans 9:13).

c). We also see that Jacob blessed Joseph’s younger son first and not the oldest, (Gen. 48:17-20), even though Joseph protested. Jacob also gave Joseph more than than his older brothers, (Gen. 48:22).

So as we see that spiritual inheritance was not something past on to the eldest child, like a hereditary title, just because they were the eldest. (Cf. The Catholic church in Ireland once laid claim to the eldest son of Catholic families to become priests, so Genesis shows the Vatican is at odds with scripture, on this too. (No wonder they only permitted lay people to read it officially from the 1960s onwards.)

We also see in the Bible that the eldest sons were often skipped for spiritual inheritance in the stories with Saul, David, and Solomon, etc! 


Hebrews 11 tells us that the common denominator with all these men mentioned was “Faith”. (It’s worth reading to see for yourself). Notice that Solomon who started off so well, is left out of the list of the faithful in Hebrews 11. The Bible says that his heart turned away from God by his wives (1 Kings 11:3-4). In the case of Esau, it was his stomach which he put before his spiritual inheritance which caused him to lose it.

Paul tells us God replaced the “former covenant”. The new covenant is on offer to us now - but - what hasn’t changed is the requirement for faith. (In fact Paul points out that Abraham’s faith came first before there was a covenant.) In other words, there is so much we can learn from the patriarchs in Genesis 11-50. Here’s some notes for your Bible study...

a). Abraham put God first, and he was the “forerunner” of our faith. He believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

b). Isaac was in his early 30s when Abraham was about to sacrifice him as his only son, before God stopped him, and showed him a ram caught up in a thorny bush to be the real sacrifice. (We roughly know Isaac’s age as Sarah died aged 120 immediately after this event.) This means that Isaac accepted his father’s word about God’s testing and didn’t resist, which he could have done. The ram caught in thorns represents Jesus...another “shadow”.

c). Jacob sold what he had in exchange for the spiritual blessing of the eldest son. Having done that, God loved Jacob’s priorities and changed his name to “Israel” and Jacob went on to father the twelve tribes of Israel.

d). Joseph was Jacob’s favourite son, and he went on to save Israel and Egypt from starvation. He was tested with temptations involving the 3 “Gs”;- gold, glory and girls, and Joseph passed all of the tests. He was proven to be trustworthy for the top job. Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power”. Pharaoh made Joseph his right hand man.

In the book of Hebrews these events are called ‘shadows’. They point forward to “Who” was to come. It was said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. We can see that in these “shadows”.

The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Well, in Hebrews 11 we see these men used as examples of faith, and in that they led the way for you and me. 

I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.

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