We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’.
When Moses approaches the burning bush in Exodus 3, God speaks to Moses and reveals who he is. We read: ‘“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God’ (Exodus 3:5-6).
Then Moses is instructed to speak to the Israelites about God. Moses is told to introduce God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: ‘Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers– the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob– has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers– the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob– appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt’ (Exodus 3:13-16).
Evidently God places great importance on the fact that his name is ‘The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Why? Because God was worshipped by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long before Moses encountered him at the bush. Also the Israelites, as descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would no doubt have had some familiarity with their ancestors’ interaction with God. So they knew exactly which God Moses was talking about.
Moreover, by introducing himself in this way, God is communicating that he is the covenant making God who made specific promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their offspring. This is important to the Israelites in Egypt as the promises include them. Thus God is telling the Israelites that he is the God who made promises about them before they were born. He is the God who has an interest in them and who, therefore, they should have an interest in too.
Does this have any relevance to us today as Christians? Yes. We too call Abraham, Isaac and Jacob our fathers through their descendant, Jesus Christ. By faith in Christ, we enter into the Israelite family and inherit the promises with all true Israelites. Paul says ‘Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all’ (Romans 4:16).
Thus when we call upon The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ we remind ourselves of the covenants that he made with them and that we also share, filling our hearts with fearful joy.
So do you, by faith in Christ, joyfully call upon ‘The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the promise keeping God?