Scripture records that Abraham was the patriarch (literally chief father) of the Hebrew people, and a pillar of faith because of his trust in and obedience to YHVH Elohim. As such, he is often referred to as the Father of the Faithful. But when Elohim first called this man of faith and grandfather of the Israelite people, was he a giant in his faith? Not at all. Yes he had faith, but his faith was imperfect; it had to grow, and it was a process, which we will discuss below.
Abraham’s faith, like the proverbial mustard seed, started out small, but it was still enormous compared to most other people. After all, on a mere promise from Elohim, he uprooted his entire family and travelled on foot hundreds of miles across the dangerous desert and through various countries and encountering many hardships along the way in hopes of a better life. It was if he were moving from New York City to Jawbone Flats, Oregon, a virtual ghost town in the mountains—population four!
Abraham’s first steps of faith were measured, cautious, incremental and at times hesitant, yet through it all YHVH was gracious because Abraham’s heart was inclined to do his will. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness, YHVH still counted it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6). Not only that, but he passed his mountain moving, gravity defying faith on to his children and grandchildren and beyond, and this legacy of faith lives on in many of his descendants to this day.
There is much that we, as the children of Abraham through our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, can learn from this pillar of faith and his immediate descendants and associates that will strengthen our own faith in YHVH Elohim and his promises.
Abraham and Sarah
Genesis 12:1, Get thee out of thy country. Did Abram immediately leave his father’s house and go directly to the country that YHVH would show him, or did he fulfill YHVH’s will for his life in incremental steps? Compare Genesis 11:31 with Genesis 12:1. Did Abram leave his father’s house completely, or take part of his father’s house with him including his father and nephew? Haran is located in northern Mesopotamia and is nowhere near Canaan. When Abram finally made his way to Canaan minus his father, did he still have part of his kindred with him, something YHVH instructed him to leave behind (Gen 12:1)? Did his nephew Lot prove to be a help or a hindrance to Abram in fulfilling YHVH’s mission for his life in a new land? What lessons can we learn from this account?
First, YHVH is gracious to us even when we don’t obey him completely and immediately. Scripture still refers to Abraham as the father of the faithful or faithfulness (Rom 4:12, 16).
Second, Abram was a man of prominence in Babylon (Chaldea), was recognized as a mighty prince (Gen 23:6), and was 75 years old when YHVH asked him to leave the comforts of life in Babylon to trek across the desert to the backwoods region of Canaan. No doubt, this was not an easy move for Abram for the reasons already stated.
Those who would follow Yeshua have to make similar choices as Abram did: to stay in the Babylon of this world, or to leave it. What did Yeshua tell his disciples about the sacrifices that they would need to make to be a follower of YHVH? (See Matt 10:35–39.) At the same time, what did Yeshua say would be the eternal rewards of those, who like our father Abraham, set out in faith for a new spiritual destiny? ( See Matt 19:29.) What physical obstacles stand in your way of fulfilling YHVH’s spiritual calling, mission and destiny for your life?
Genesis 16:1–16, Abraham takes matters into his own hands. The faith of Abraham, the father of the faithful, was tried greatly. After waiting years for a son, he finally gave in to doubt and unbelief. In stead of waiting for YHVH to give him a son, Abraham too matters into his own hands and endeavored to work out YHVH’s plans and purposes in his life through fleshly means. The result was Ishmael, the father of many of the modern Moslem Arabs. What can we learn from this mistake of Abraham?
Do you have trouble waiting on YHVH? Remember that YHVH’s primary goal in your life is NOT to bring YOUR dreams to pass, but to form in you the person and character of Yeshua (Rom 8:28–29). This only comes through time, and the heat and pressure of spiritual refinement. The faith-building refinement that to which YHVH subjected Abraham would also occur in the lives of his descendants as the patriarch saw in his prophetic vision (Gen 15:12–14). In his vision of “Between the Pieces,” the birds of the air (a spiritual picture of Satan and his demons) wanted to interrupt the fulfilling of YHVH’s plans for Israel (verse 11). But through it through this dark vision, Abraham slept (verse 12). That is to say, he rested in YHVH and allow him to work out his purposes according to his time schedule regardless of the occurrence of concomitant and distracting events. Through this process of faith and character building trials, YHVH is refining his people into the spiritual vessels he wants us to be. Psalms chapter 37 describes this process of “not fretting,” “committing your way to YHVH,” “trusting also in him,” “resting in YHVH,” waiting on YHVH, and letting him direct our steps. (See Ps 37, entire chapter, with special focus on verses 4–7, 23–24.) This is the process called sanctification (or being set aside for a holy purpose) and coming into spiritual maturity that every child of Elohim must go through.
Like a lot of us, Abraham found himself struggling with waiting upon YHVH to accomplish his promises. As a result of Abraham’s lack of faith, he chose to “help engineer” the fulfillment of YHVH’s promises in his life. He slept with Hagar and Ishmael was the result. There have been lasting problems in the that area of the world and beyond ever since due to this lack of faith ever since.
Genesis 21:1–7, YHVH visited Sarah.YHVH had promised Abraham a son years before. At age 90 did YHVH suddenly drop a son into Sarah’s womb, or during the intervening years, year after year, decade after decade did Abraham and Sarah have to walk out their faith by attempting repeatedly to become pregnant, each time failing, until finally, at the appointed time it happened? What does this tell us about the faith-walk, and about overcoming discouragement and doubt? Obviously, Abrahams’s faith was tested. Could he still trust YHVH’s word and promises after all these years? Often when don’t receive quick answers to our prayers we give up. How is your faith compared with that of Abraham’s?
Abraham learned some hard lessons with Ishmael. After that, he finally began to have complete faith that YHVH would give him a son by Sarah. Faith is dynamic, and is neither passive nor presumptive. As an act of faithful obedience, Abraham continued to have physical relations with his wife until Isaac was born.
Genesis 22:1, Elohim did tempt Abraham.Trials and temptations show the disposition or character and metal of the human heart, whether it be righteous or unrighteous, pure or impure. When tested do you whine, grumble, accuse others, defend yourself, backbite and resort to slander? Or do you submit to the purifying fires of YHVH’s spiritual forge? During his lifetime, YHVH tested Abraham tested ten times. Being told to sacrifice Isaac was the last and most severe test. Despite the severity of this test, his faith and obedience was steady.When was the last time you faced such a test? What was your response? Did you pass or fail the test?
Note the development or progression of Abraham’s faith from the time he left Uhr in Chaldea until the Akeidah or Binding of Isaac. He went from a spotty or mixed faith to a full and mature faith in YHVH. Be willing to give up his only beloved son was the ultimate test of his faith, and he passed with flying colors to become the father of the faithful.
Eliezer, the Servant of Abraham
Genesis 24:12, YHVH give me success. Scripture directs us to, “Trust in YHVH with all your heart and lean not unto your own understandings, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths” (Prov 3:5–6). Abraham’s example of faith had a profound influence upon Eliezer, his chief servant, whom he directed to find a wife for Isaac.
Abraham was a man of faith—even the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:12,16). Eliezer was likewise a man of faith. Abraham had taught him well, just like a son. Eliezer evidenced this faith when he blessed Rebecca even before he knew who she really is (Gen 24:22). This action was simply based on his faith that YHVH had answered his prayer. Do we walk in such trusting faith, day-by-day, moment-by-moment? Are we teaching the little ones under our charge these same attributes as Abraham taught his dependents? Abraham had mentored his dependents well.
Genesis 24:45, Eliezer kept his faith alive through constant contact with Elohim. Obviously, Eliezer was in constant communications with YHVH through prayer. Is this not a character trait of a righteous person? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. In Luke 18:1-7, Yeshua teaches about the benefits of righteous and prevailing prayer. How often do you pray? Once a day? When you pray, is it merely a morning and/or evening ritual that leaves your soul (mind, will and emotions) untouched and unchanged? Is this the kind of relationship the Father is seeking with you? A mighty man of Elohim once when asked the question, “How long do you pray each day?” he replied, “Seldom do I pray more than one-half hour, but seldom do I go more than a half hour without praying.” Could this be said of you?
Note that people of faith are people of continual prayer communication with YHVH.
Rebecca, the Bride of Isaac
Genesis 24:58, I will go. Rebecca demonstrated unusual faith. She, like her Uncle Abraham and Aunt Sarah before her, was willing to leave the comforts and security of Babylonia and to go with a stranger and to a strange place and live there as a virtual nomad roaming the barren wilderness. When asked, “Will you go with this man?” She replied quickly and to the point, “I will go” (Gen 24:58). Do you have such unreserved devotion to Yeshua, the Lover of your soul and your Betrothed, that you will go WHEREVER he leads no matter how difficult or uncomfortable the way? Or have you placed restrictions and qualifications on him? Compare your faith on a scale of one to ten with that of Abraham, Eliezer and Rebecca. YHVH is patient with his children. Allow him lead you slowly as your faith in his Word and promises grow day-by-day.
Abraham in his wisdom sought a woman of faith for his son. He sent Eliezer hundreds of miles to find such a woman, while overlooking numerous Canaanite women in his own backyard.
Genesis 24:63, Meditate in the field. What does this one verse tell us about the kind of man Isaac was?
Do you have moments each day where you turn off the world to connect with and listen to YHVH, to reflect before YHVH on the past day, and to meditate, pray and supplicate—to place your faith in him? Can you think of any other great biblical personages who would slip away from the press and exigencies of life to spend time alone with their Heavenly Father? (See Matt 4:1; 14:23; 26:36; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 5:16; 6:12; John 6:15.)
Genesis 25:21, Pleaded with YHVH. As with his father Abraham, the faith of Isaac was tried mightily. Rebekah was barren and Isaac entreated YHVH that his promises to Abraham might be fulfilled through him. YHVH at long last answered Isaac’s prayer with twins, Esau and Jacob.
Though the faith of a believer is tried, the promises of YHVH are always sure. What spiritual mountains have you been asking in faith for YHVH to remove from your life (Mark 11:23), or promises of YHVH to be fulfilled in your life (2 Cor. 1:20), or prayers to be answered? Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Remember: never cease praying and believing! Doubts and fear will come, yet prevailing prayer and faith overcomes all. (Read 1 John 5:4–5.)
Genesis 26:1–33, The wells of Isaac. At the well of Lachai-roi, Isaac was fruitful. There this man of faith met his wife while in communion with YHVH (Gen 24:62–64). It was also at this well that Isaac dwelt for 20 years (Gen 25:11, 19, 26), and there he entreated YHVH because of Rebekah’s barrenness (Gen 25:21), and YHVH answered Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah gave birth to twins (Gen 25:22–24).
But then a famine enveloped the land, and Isaac, instead of trusting YHVH to provide for him in the land of his blessings and inheritance, he felt compelled to leave Canaan to seek relief in Egypt following the earlier example of his father, Abraham.
This same thing happens to us as well. We run off and trust in “Egypt” (i.e. the world) for our sustenance instead of trusting YHVH to provide for us where he has planted us and already blessed us.
While en route to Egypt YHVH gracefully redirected Isaac away from Egypt instructing him rather to sojourn in Gerar, Canaan (temporarily) where he would continue to bless him and his posterity (Gen 26:2–4). Did Isaac exhibit complete and faithful obedience to YHVH’s instructions? More or less. Isaac did indeed go to Gerar, located on the border between Canaan and Egypt, where he dwelt a long time, but not temporarily as YHVH had instructed him (Gen 26:6, 8). Was Isaac fully obeying YHVH or hedging his bet between faith and fear, between Canaan, the land of promise, and Egypt, the land of comfort for the flesh man? You be the judge. Even though there is a lesson here for us.
How often do we halt between two opinions and compromise between YHVH’s will and our own in matters where he has given us clear direction?
How did things go for Isaac in Gerar? Not well. He wasn’t exactly blessed, because he wasn’t in YHVH’s perfect will. The men of that region took interest in his wife, and he lied that she was his sister, thus repeating the sin of his father Abraham (Gen 26:6–7 cp. 20:1-2). What can we learn from this faux pas of Isaac?
Compromised obedience or lack of faith in YHVH’s instructions often puts us in less than favorable situations. Sometimes, to “save our skin,” we have to compromise our values, and even commit an outright sin like lying.
Though Isaac was out of YHVH’s will, the ever merciful and longsuffering Creator was still faithful to keep the promises to Isaac he had made earlier (Gen 26:3–4). Isaac was blessed one hundred fold in his wealth (Gen 26:12–14).
Despite YHVH’s blessings, Isaac’s labors were not without difficulty and opposition from an enemy who was intent upon stealing what was rightfully his. In Genesis 26:15–22 we read that the local Canaanites repeatedly attempted to steal or to destroy the wells that Isaac had dug. Wells in Scripture is a symbolic metaphor for blessings, salvations, life and joy. These are things of which Satan, the saints’ enemy, works overtime trying to deprive them.
Isaac still had some weak faith issues to overcome. He fell into some of the same traps his father did by wanting to seek refuge in Egypt when times got tough. He failed to learn from his father’s mistakes. This teaches us that generational sins need to be identified, exposed, repented of and renounced, or else in times of weakness or else we will repeat the same mistakes as our forbears.
Genesis 26:18–22, Isaac dug again. Isaac redug the wells that belonged to his father in the land YHVH had promised to him, yet the Philistines still opposed him and stole from him what was rightfully his. The well’s names were Contention and Strife. The names of these wells represent the difficulties that many believers face when struggling with those in the world. Let’s discuss this.
How easy it is to allow demonically motivated people to oppose and deter us from our divine destiny. What was Isaac’s response? He took the high road of peace refusing to be embroiled in carnal battles with his neighbors. His faith in YHVH was undaunted and at the third well, Rehoboth, he found spaciousness and a vast supply of water. Isaac was a faith-filled overcomer.
Are you striving and contending with the spiritual Philistines in your life? Are they keeping you from moving onward spiritually into a place of fruitfulness where the river of life from YHVH’s throne flows? Is it not time to let YHVH fight your battles so that you can move onward in your faith-walk?
Genesis 26:23–25, Beersheba. What happened to Isaac when he retraced the steps of his father Abraham, back into the land of promise, while redigging the ancient wells? He ended up in Beersheba (well of the covenant or seven-fold oath) back to the heart of Canaan, the heart and center of YHVH’s will for his life. What happened? YHVH appeared to him and renewed his covenant with Isaac (Gen 26:24).
Is YHVH calling you back to the ancient wells of salvation? Is he calling you to retrace the steps of your father Abraham, the father of our faith, to return to the ancient paths where a special blessing awaits you? (Read Mal 4:4–6 and Jer 6:16, 19; 18:15.)
Young Jacob and Esau
Genesis 25:27–34, A man of faith and a man of unbelief. There are only two types of people on this earth: Esaus and Jacobs. Similarly, on either side of Yeshua, while on the cross, there was a “Jacob” and an “Esau. One man placed his faith in Yeshua, the other did not.
What type of person was Esau? He was a cunning hunter. Nimrod was the only other person in Scripture called “a hunter.” Scripture also calls Esau was a man of the field. A field in Scripture is often a metaphor for the world (Matt 13:38). As a man of the world, Esau was profane (unhallowed, worldly, ungodly; Heb 12:16). He had no esteem for things of eternal value, which is why he sold his birthright. He lived only to satiate his momentary carnal wants and had no eye for, hope in, or faith toward the future. He sought instant gratification of his sensual nature. His god was his belly. He disdained and dishonored his family heritage and those things that were highly esteemed by his father and grandfather. In Genesis 26:34–35, we see, to the great grief of his parents, that Esau married one of the local, Canaanite heathens. He did not honor his parents or respect their wishes in his choice for a wife.
Do these characteristics of Esau describe some unbelievers that you know, and even some believers? Perhaps you were even like Esau before you were saved.
On the other hand, people of faith, like Jacob, desire the things of YHVH. Though their faith may be immature and they may still be inclined to “work out YHVH’s will by their own means” as Jacob did on several occasions, they still have a heart for YHVH, unlike Esau who was totally a secular, carnal and profane man. Despite their flaws, YHVH can use people like Jacob. Though imperfect, they still have a desire to obey YHVH, and he can work with and refine such an individual and use them to accomplish his purposes. This is the painful, yet successful story of Jacob’s life. The process of growing in faith in Elohim and not relying on himself was very painful, but the results were fruitful. YHVH used him to start an entire nation—the twelve tribes of Israel.
Genesis 25:32, What good is this birthright? The implication here is not that Esau was about to die of hunger, but that he would die before seeing the fulfillment of the promises YHVH had made to Isaac and Abraham regarding possessing the land of Canaan. So what good would his birthright be? He would see no material gain from it in his lifetime. And he was right! But he was motivated by temporal and material gain, not by spiritual, future rewards, which are possessed by faith, not by sight (Heb 11:1–2, 8–10, 39–40). Esau was a profane and secular man, and the Spirit and character of YHVH strive against and loathe such individuals (Mal 1:3; Rom 9:13). Such people prefer secular and sensual pleasures over pleasing YHVH. Their carnal appetites rule them and temporal pursuits are their chief aim in life (Phil 3:19).
This was the state of the Laodicean believers in Revelation 3:14–22. Don’t pass over these admonitions lightly. Search your heart for the areas where you put the secular, material and sensual above YHVH and then repent. Ask the Spirit of YHVH to open your eyes to the blind areas in your life.
Jacob the Adult
Genesis 27:1–29, Jacob outsmarts Esau and tricks Isaac. In this passage of Scripture, we have the story of how Jacob tricked his father Isaac into giving him the birthright blessing that rightly belonged to Esau, the firstborn brother. Instead of trusting YHVH that the blessing would be his, as YHVH had promised to his mother (Gen 25:23), Rebekah and Jacob connived to bring YHVH’s will to pass.
Similarly how often do we take matters into our own hands to “help” YHVH out in fulfilling his promises for our life, instead of trusting him to work things out? Where is the faith in YHVH when rely on our own human efforts to accomplish his purposes in our lives? Read Psalms 37:3–7, 23–24, 34, and analyze the actions of your life on the basis of these words. Now consider the following concepts when it comes to faith:
- Dynamic or Active Faith: One with this type of faith knows when to move ahead and when to wait.
- Passive or Inactive Faith: One with this type of faith never moves, but is always waiting for things to just happen by themselves.
- Presumptuous or Impetuous Faith: One with this type of faith always moves and never waits.
Genesis 28:20–22, Jacob’s dream and vow. Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 was his first, life-changing personal encounter with the Elohim of his fathers (Gen 28:12–15). What was his response? It was to express his gratitude to his Creator by serving and to worshiping him by giving him one-tenth (a tithe) of his increase (verse 22).
When did you have your first encounter with your Heavenly Father and Master? Have you faithfully used the first fruits of your increase to honor, worship and express gratitude to him ever since? If not why not? Scripture calls not doing so “robbing Elohim” and that as a result a curse may be on your finances (Mal 3:8–11). In Proverbs 3:9 we read that tithing is a form of worshipping the Creator: “Honour [glorify] YHVH with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase, so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
Honesty, patience and submission to authority are the fruits of righteousness. What did YHVH have to teach Jacob about these fruits of the Spirit? Jacob was impatient in submitting to YHVH’s will and waiting for the birthright to come to him in a righteous way. Moreover, YHVH used the crooked and greedy Laban to correct these character flaws in Jacob? Jacob had to go into the Babylonian world for a season in order to be refined before being ready to be a patriarch worthy of honor and an example of righteousness as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
What is YHVH allowing you to go through to refine you of character flaws and defects to prepare you for the future mission he has for you? Are you submitting to his refining fires that are burning the wood, hay and stubble out of your life, or are you resisting him thereby forcing him to “turn up the heat” so that you will finally “get the point” and learn your lessons?
Before Jacob could attain the patriarchal status of his father and grandfather and become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, YHVH had to refine him in the “fires” of Babylon. When Jacob finally left Babylon and while en route back to Beth El, his faith in Elohim still required some refining. It was not until he wrestled with the pre-incarnate Word of Elohim, Yeshua the Messenger of YHVH, that his carnal soul man was crushed and he finally submitted in faith to the will of Elohim.
Chapter 32 is a study on how to deal with major trials and stressful situations that we as humans face in life. How did deal with these problems? By completely trusting in YHVH, or by scheming, plotting and planning his next move? You know the story. Jacob’s faith was incomplete at best. Jacob (a) was gripped by fear, (b) resorted to fleshly schemes to appease his brother’s wrath and “save his own hide” and that of his family, and (c) at the same time he expressed faith in YHVH by uttering what was one of the first recorded prayers in Scripture (verses 9–12).
How often, when facing serious trials, do we take the shotgun approach by throwing everything we have at the problem: the “strong arm of the flesh” as well as our mustard seed of faith? Indeed, if our hearts are basically inclined toward him, YHVH’s grace cover us in such situations, but that doesn’t mean that our faith doesn’t still need improving.
YHVH mercifully honors a persons incomplete faith. For example, Yeshua healed the son of the man who said, “I believe help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
At the same time, YHVH requires more faith and less carnality from mature believers. Sometimes YHVH even forces his saints into situations where they literally have to come to the end of their own plots and schemes when facing trials and rely solely on him to deliver them from their enemies internal and external. This occurred when Jacob faced his murderous brother. Would he trust YHVH or himself to deliver him from this vengeful enemy?
After Jacob wrestled all night with the Messenger of Elohim he became a lame and humbled man, but with a new name and a new spiritual identity figure into this process. Did Jacob gain the victory through appeasing Esau (verse 20), or by wrestling with and confronting his own limitations and coming out a broken and changed man? Have you been through similar trials? How did you handle it? Like Jacob? Are you learning to “let go and let God” as the old saying goes? To walk by faith and not by sight? To trust and obey?
Genesis 32:9–12 Jacob’s prayer. Consider the dynamics of Jacob’s prayer. Do not forget that up to this point in Jacob’s life he had relied on his wits to extricate himself from difficult situations. This time was different. As was the case when the children of Israel were trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, Jacob was boxed in; he could go neither forward nor backward. Behind him was hateful and greedy Laban and in front of him was the murderous Esau.
In this prayer, notice the importance Jacob places on covenant relationship. He was finally coming to the end of him by throwing himself at the mercy of YHVH’s promised word and reputation.
What more can we learn from Jacob’s prayer? What was Jacob’s demeanor before YHVH? Arrogant or contrite in spirit? Did Jacob direct this prayer heavenward purely out of a selfish motive —to save his skin, or is there a bigger prophetic picture here on which Jacob had his eyes set? What are the last words of the prayer? Why is this so important and why does he end with this? If YHVH did not deliver Jacob and his family and the nation of Israel was destroyed, how would the promises of YHVH be fulfilled and would YHVH’s name be glorified? This scenario is like watching a movie where the villain is about to destroy the star of the show, but then you, the viewer, remember that the star of the show cannot be destroyed since he’s the hero, so you breathe easier knowing the outcome will somehow end favorably. Similarly YHVH couldn’t allow Jacob and his family to be destroyed and still fulfill his promises to Jacob and his forefathers.
What can we learn from this? When we find ourselves boxed in by our enemies unable to go forwards or backwards, maybe, in faith, like Jacob, we would do well to humbly remind YHVH of the promises he has made to us personally and in his Word. What’s more, when we’re walking in the perfect will of the Father, the end will always turn out favorably for us too no matter what we have to go through to get there. So give YHVH the glory, rejoice and have faith in him and go onward!
Jacob is finally getting the concept of faith and covenantal relationship, and this is a better way to go than through schemes and human wisdom.
Genesis 32:24, Jacob’s wrestling. Why did Elohim wrestle all night with Jacob? Why not just wound him early on and save the time and trouble? This event illustrates the long-suffering nature of Elohim, who will continue to strive with us and our fleshy tendencies and reliances, until we finally submit to him and recognize that only through him can we have real strength and victory. Why the wrestling all night“until the breaking of the day”? Night and breaking of day are significant metaphorical symbols representing hope and new beginnings after having to go through dark times in our lives. This teaches us that faith and blessings come when we overcome refusing to give up in our struggles against our carnal limitations until we have our spiritual breakthrough and the blessings of YHVH come to us.
Jacob’s blessing was to receive a new name of Israel, which means “prince of El” and “overcomer with El” (verse 28). Through this dark night struggle, Jacob took a quantum leap in his faith walk and became a new man with a new name and new spiritual identity.
Have you ever had a Jacob moment like this in your life? Don’t we progress spiritually only out of crisis? No pain, no gain(!), as the saying goes.
What were the final blessed results of Jacob prevailing in his faith struggles? Verse 32 says of Jacob, “as he passed over Penuelthe sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.” Penuel means faces of El. Taking a little poetic license (at the drash/allegorical or third level of Jewish Biblical interpretation) here, we could paraphrase this phrase as follows: As he emerged out of the darkness of self reliance, the face of Elohim shined favorably upon him as he no longer relied on the flesh. Pause to reflect on this for a moment and take quick stock of your own spiritual walk in the light of these words.
This was the final test of Jacob’s faith and he came out a man of faith, though his pride was wounded and he carried a limp for the rest of his life. His flesh and soul man were permanently wounded, but his spirit man and his faith in Elohim was soaring in the heavens!
Joseph had some enormous faith tests to pass just like his fathers before him. Against him were false accusations, near death experiences, crashed dreams, enslavement and imprisonment. Yet through it all, Joseph’s faith prevailed and YHVH blessed him.
What tests and trials of life are you presently enduring? Broken marriages, prodigal children, financial failures, health issues emotional wounding from past hurts? Are you losing faith, or like Joseph, refusing to lose sight of the promises YHVH has given to you and despite all persevering onward?
Genesis 41:9, The chief butler remembers Joseph. From this story, we learn that YHVH’s timing for Joseph’s deliverance was perfect. Had Joseph lost faith and hope in YHVH along the way, this door or opportunity may not have opened.
Through all of your trials, do you maintain our faith in YHVH?
Had the chief butler remembered Joseph prior to this moment, his audience with Pharaoh may not have occurred. He would not have had the chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. He probably would never have ever been reunited with his family. This would have changed the whole history of the nation of Israel and thwarted Elohim’s plans and promises for that nation dramatically.
Genesis 41:16, Elohim will give. After all Joseph had endured—multiple false accusations, murder attempts, enslavement and imprisonment—a lesser man might have lost his faith in Elohim, but not Joseph. In this verse, we see that he hadn’t given up hope in his Heavenly Father and that he had not lost sight of the dreams and promises from YHVH made to him many years earlier.
Like Joseph, do you give honor to YHVH whenever you can—even to strangers, and even if it’s not “politically correct” to do so? The fact that Joseph was able to do so in front of one of the most powerful monarchs of his day is evidence of his strong and abiding faith in and fear of YHVH.
Genesis 41:38, A man in whom the Spirit of Elohim is.Jacob emerged from years of trials with a strong faith in Elohim and a powerful godly reputation and testimony to those around him. How do the heathens in your life view you? What kind of testimony do you have?
Joseph, David and Daniel were all young people who had overcoming faith in against impossible odds. These biblical characters need to be every young person’s model or faith hero.
Joseph, under intense pressure to renounce his faith and that of his fathers, remained faithful for years in the midsts of a seemingly hopeless situation. In the end, his faith prevailed, and YHVH used him in a powerful way to accomplish his mighty and divine purposes.
When Joseph was young he seemed a bit arrogant and cocky. But the soul-cleansing fires of life in Egypt refined these carnal traits out of him. The world has a way of either making or breaking a person. We refer to it as “the school of hard knock.” Joseph went through this school for hears, passed all the tests and graduated with a masters degree, if not a doctorate in faith. The Bible is full of the stories of similar people (read Hebrews 11).