The Patriarchs

I. The Age of the Patriarchs can be seen as an overview.

A. There are four “Chief Fathers.”

1. Abraham – Called by God to be the “Father of many nations”

2. Isaac – The “Promised Seed” from whom the nation Israel came

3. Jacob – The father of twelve sons who produced the tribes of Israel

4. Joseph – The Prime Minister of Egypt and responsible for preserving the budding nation

B. There are several major factors to remember.

1. The covenant given to Abraham applies to all who are saved by faith in the work of God through Jesus Christ.

a. Genesis 12:2-3 and 15:5-6; Acts 13:23 and 26:6-7; Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:14-18; Ephesians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15; 1 John 2:25

b. Abraham becomes the example of “Salvation by Faith” (Romans 4:1-16; Galatians 3:9-24).

2. Isaac is used as the Old Testament example of the willing sacrifice (Hebrews 11:17-19).

a. Isaac is the genetic head of Israel (Romans 9:7).

3. Jacob is used as an example of God’s sovereign right to choose those whom He wills to serve Him (Romans 9:10-13).

a. Jacob fathers twelve (12) sons through four (4) wives and becomes known as “Israel” (Genesis 32:28; 35:22).

4. Joseph becomes an example of the steadfast, suffering faithful who trust God to accomplish His “good” through them (Genesis 50:20; Acts 7:9-18).

5. Jacob declares a prophecy about the nature of the tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:1-33).

6. Judah is identified as the tribe through which the Redeemer will ultimately come (Genesis 49:10).

II. The early life of Abram is outlined by his call, testing, and growth.

A. Abram is given a great promise (Genesis 12:1-4).

1. Abram begins to obey (Genesis 12:5-7).

2. Abram failed the first test...Trust me! (Genesis 12:8-20).

a. He let his faith focus on circumstances, not promises.
b. He let his fear and worry produce sin in his life.
c. He suffered tragic consequences.

B. Abram learns from failure and enters into the 2nd test (Genesis 13, 14).

1. He returns to Beth-el, the place of God's instruction (13:1-4).

2. He refuses the wealth of Sodom and tithes everything to Melchizedek (14:17-24).

a. Melchizedek is, apparently, Jesus Christ in an Old Testament appearance.
b. Hebrews 5:6-10; 6:20; and 7:1-21 provide insight into the unusual nature of Melchizedek.

3. He gives God the glory...Test passed!

C. The third test in Abraham’s life results in terrible consequences.

1. Abram is 85, Sarai 75; 10 years have elapsed.

a. Sarai blames God for the delay (16:2).
b. Sarai encourages Abram to take action (16:2-3).

2. Abram "harkens to the voice of Sarai" (16:2).

a. What was done was not wrong, socially or legally.
b. What was done could be rationalized, explained, and accepted.
c. What was done violated God's revealed word.

3 Abram and Sarai reaped bitter harvest in their action.

a. Hagar is "despised" and thrown out (16:5-6).
b. Ishmael becomes the "wild man" (16:7-16).
c. Hagar and Ishmael are later exiled (21:9-21).

D. Abram is restored to favor after 13 years of silence from God (17:1).

1. God gives specific instructions and changes Abram's name to Abraham (17:2-16).

2. God gives specific instructions to Sarah (18:9-15).

3. God evaluates Abraham (18:19).

a. He will command his children after his example.
b. He will ensure they keep the way of God.
c. He will continue in righteousness and receive God's blessing.

4. God receives Abraham's intercession for Sodom (18:23-33).

III. The life of Isaac is one of contrasts (Genesis 25-28). 

A. Isaac's obedience is a picture of Christ.

1. He is the "only" son:  the "beloved" son:  the “promised" heir.

2. He is unquestioning in his obedience (22:7-8).

3. He voluntarily lays down his life (22:9).

B. Isaac, in spite of his knowledge of God, "loved Esau" (Genesis 25:28).

1. Esau was "a cunning hunter" (25:27).

2. Esau "despised his birthright" (25:34).

3. Esau was a polygamist (26:34; 27:46).

4. Esau was sexually wicked (Hebrews 12:16).

C. Isaac finally gave the blessing to Jacob (27:28-33).

1. He would have blessed Esau.

2. He would have gone against God's command.

3. He "trembled exceedingly" (27:33) when he knew that he had been overruled by God.

IV. The life of Jacob is one of long-suffering service (Genesis 28-33).

A. Jacob is unjustly maligned for his deception of Isaac.

1. The sin of Isaac and Esau is infinitely greater.

2. The blessing on Isaac was for Abraham's sake (26:5, 24).

3. The intention of Jacob and Rebekah was to prevent horrible disobedience and catastrophe.

4. The action would give no temporal advantage and was taken at great personal risk.

5. The deception is not rebuked by God, and Jacob is honored by God far more than Isaac.

B. Jacob spends twenty years in exile and servitude.

1. He vows to serve God (28:20-22).

2. He serves Laban (his uncle) for Rachel and Leah (29).

3. He fathers twelve sons and one daughter (29:31 - 30:24).

C. Jacob meets and reconciles with Esau and enters Canaan.

V. The life of Joseph demonstrates that he is a Favorite of both his father and The Father.

A. He is given the coat of "many colors" (37:1-4).

1. It was to designate favor and honor.

2. It was because of Rachel - the favorite wife.

B. He receives two dreams from God (37:5-11).

1. Both speak of Joseph's eventual leadership.

2. Both reveal God's choice to rule the family.

C. He is hated by his brothers (37:12-36).

1. He receives their rebuke and scorn for the dream.

2. He is sold into slavery in Egypt.

D. The life of Joseph is "blessed of the LORD."

1. The house of Potiphar is a place of blessing.

a. The "officer" is "captain" of the “Slaughterers" (39:1).
b. The LORD blesses Joseph and he becomes Head Steward of all of Potiphar's house (39:2-6).
c. The wife attempts, repeatedly, to seduce Joseph (39:7-10).
1) Joseph’s refusal was both gracious and godly (39:8-9).
2) The punishment by Potiphar was very mild (39:19-20).
d. The time covered by these events is 10 years.

2. The King's Prison-House is a place of blessing.

a. The "LORD was with Joseph" and he was put in charge of everything (39:21-23).
b. The King's Wine Steward and Chief Baker fell into disfavor and were sent to the prison (40:1-4).
c. The dreams of both men were understood and interpreted by Joseph (40:5-22).

3. The King's Palace is a place of blessing.

a. The King dreamed two terrible dreams (41:1-8).
1) The Wine Steward remembered and recommended Joseph to the King (41:9-13).
2) The King's dream was understood and interpreted by Joseph (41:14-37).
b. Joseph is raised to the 2nd highest position in the country, indeed, the civilized world (41:38-44).
1) Joseph is given a Nobleman's daughter as a wife (41:45).
2) Joseph established just and wise stewardship for the country (41:46-49).
c. Joseph has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (41:50-52).

4. Joseph becomes the ruler of the Nations.

a. The civilized world begins to come to Egypt (41:54-57).
b. The sons of Jacob also come to Egypt.
c. The Nation of Israel moves to Egypt.

VI. The prophecy of Jacob for the Nation is given.

A. Ephraim and Manasseh are blessed by Joseph (48:1-20).

B. Reuben "shall not excel" (49:4).

C. Simeon and Levi are to be divided and scattered (49:7).

D. Judah is to become the ruling tribe (49:10 see also Ezekiel 21:27; Micah 5:2-5; Rev 5:5).

E. Zebulun is to dwell up toward the sea (49:13).

F. Issachar was "strong but lazy" and would eventually become enslaved by others (49:14-15).

G. Dan would be a dangerous adversary, both to the enemies of Israel and within Israel itself (49:16-17).

H. Gad would be involved in military conflict (49:19).

I. Asher would enjoy luxury (49:20).

J. Naphtali would be mighty in deed and word (49:21).

K. Joseph would prosper numerically and politically (49:22-26).

L. Benjamin becomes the "ravening wolf" (49:27).

The Patriarchs


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