We have been talking about the way that Israel was wired to worship God and why Paul was heartbroken over their rejection of Jesus, their Messiah. We learned that they had been given particular gifts that should have aided in their worship of Jesus: adoption, glory, covenants, law, worship and the promises. This week we look into Israel’s family history and we will see clearly that they had an amazing history. We will also see that the point of their history was Jesus and that he is the point of our history as well.
Israel had a God-centered History. Israel had a God-centered history, filled with jacked up people. The word for “Fathers” in 9:5 essentially means “ancestors”. It is a term used to describe those in the nation’s past that marked their history with God as well as the specific promises made about the Kingdom surrounding these people. Who are we talking about?
In General: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Romans 4:1; Acts 3:13). Some include Joseph, Moses and David (Romans 1:3-4), but the majority of commentators focus on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The bottom line in this discussion is that the “Fathers” didn’t earn anything from God. God interacted with his people through his relationship with them. (Romans 11:25-27, 29 + Galatians 3:16ff).
My dad didn’t save me. My mom didn’t save me. My parents didn’t put me into Christ. They brought me to Christ and God interacted with me through his relationship with them. He worked through my personal history in specific moments in time to bring me to himself. I understood the gospel by the working of the Holy Spirit and responded to the truth of it as my parents prayed with me at the side of my bed.
The positive side of this reality is that you are sitting here, staring at your computer screen for a reason. There are no accidents with God; he does everything purposefully. God has orchestrated the events of your life in such a way that you are sitting here, reading this message in this moment for a specific reason. Your history is aimed at Jesus Christ.
The other side of this reality is that God is the one who aims our history, not people. People are secondary to the plan of God. His plans are primary. Thus, I am grateful for my upbringing and my growth in a Christian home but Christian homes don’t automatically produce Christians. We seek to honor Christ in our parenting and preach the gospel to our children at all times but only the power of the Holy Spirit saves. That’s why it is so tragic when people talk about their unsaved kids and when they are asked if their kids knew about Jesus, the parents say something like, “I don’t know what happened! We brought them to church!” Well, that’s a good thing, and church attendance is a part of walking with God, but church attendance doesn’t equal Christianity.
But what if you grew up in a messed up home? What if your past is filled with mistakes and pain and heartache? Well, you fit into the biblical record very well. The fathers spoken of in the previous passage were all very messed up people. Abraham was a liar, Isaac was a terrible father, Jacob was a cheat, a thief and a liar. Moses was a murderer and David was an adulterer and murderer and God said he was a man after his own heart. Why is this important? Because it is not by the faithfulness of man that promises are fulfilled, but by the faithfulness of God.