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The Patriarchs

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Patriarchs”

Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

May 30, 2021

Introductory Comments:

We are continuing our journey through the Old Testament and today we come to three very important figures. These men were three generations of men who are, in many ways, the fathers of both Christianity and Judaism. We call them the Patriarchs. [on screen]

By the way, the word patriarch can refer to the father or head of a family, tribe, or nation. Well, these three men are the fathers of our faith. They are monumental figures in the story of the Old Testament. 

So, before we go any further, let’s pray together and ask God to speak to us. 


Thus far, in our journey in the Old Testament, we have learned about how God created everything out of nothing, sin came into the world, God destroyed the world through a global flood because of the wide-spread nature of sin, and God intervened at the Tower of Babel as humanity was trying to make itself great apart from God. 

Now, here we are, quite a while after the flood and the Tower of Babel, and God is going to do something special and significant that He has not yet done throughout the history of the world: He is going to choose a man and make him into a great nation. 

So, as we study the Patriarchs, let us first look at the:

I. Major elements[on screen]

First, who are the Patriarchs? [on screen]

Abram, also known as Abraham. [on screen]

Abraham’s son is Isaac, also known as Isaac. [on screen]

Isaac’s son is Jacob, also known as Israel. [on screen]

Let’s get these names established right away and let’s move forward from there. 

Ok, let’s look at Abraham a bit. 

We see that God called Abram to move from Haran to Canaan and Abram obeyed. (Genesis 12:1-4)[on screen]

By the way, Abraham was first known as Abram. 

Abraham was originally from the land of Ur, but his father had moved their clan to the land of Haran. 

While in Haran, God spoke to Abram. Let’s read about it. Look at Genesis 12:1-4. (read in paper Bible) 

Notice what God said to Abram in verse 3: “all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Remember that statement because it’s a pretty powerful statement. 

Next, the Lord spoke a great blessing to Abram. (Genesis 13:14-17) [on screen]

God has already spoken a blessing to Abram, but He is not done yet. Look at Genesis 13:14-17. (read in paper Bible)

God promises Abram land and offspring that is more than he can even comprehend. By the way, do you know how many children Abram had at this point? Zero!

Then, we see that God promised an heir to Abraham. (Genesis 15:2-6) [on screen]

Abram was starting to doubt this plan and he expresses his doubt to God. God reminds Abram of His promise. God says to Abram that an heir will come from Abraham’s own body and that Abraham’s offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. 

Next, Abram and Sarai try to bypass God’s plan. (Genesis 16:1-4) [on screen]

By the way, Abram has a wife named Sarai, whose name is later changed to Sarah. She really wants a son as well and so she decides to come up with a plan to help things along. Let’s look at Genesis 16:1-4. (read in paper Bible)

Let’s be clear, church: this was not the design that God had for Abram and Sarai. They tried to take over and it only made matters worse. 

God still had a plan for Abram and Sarai and it would involve their son, not Abram and Hagar’s son (his name was Ishmael, by the way). 

So, God renews His covenant and changes Abram’s name. (Genesis 17:3-8) [on screen]

Look at Genesis 17:3-8. (read in paper Bible)

God’s not giving up on Abram (now Abraham, which means “the father of a multitude). God has a plan, God has made a promise, and He means to keep His plan and promise. 

Well, Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah. (Genesis 21:1-3) [on screen]

We see that God is faithful to Abraham. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, conceive a son and his name is Isaac. 

After all of that, Abraham is called to sacrifice his son Isaac, but God provides an escape. (Genesis 22)  [on screen]

God wanted a display of Abraham’s faith in Him and faithfulness to Him. So, God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son that he’s waited for all of this time. 

Of course, God knew that He would never have Abraham do this. Instead, God provided the sacrifice with a ram that was caught in the thicket. 

Isaac grows older and God provided Rebekah as a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s people. (Genesis 24) [on screen]

Abraham doesn’t want his son to have a wife from among the Canaanites where they now live, but rather a wife from among his own people. So, God leads Isaac to Rebekah and they get married. 

Rebekah and Isaac have twin sons named Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 25:19-26) [on screen]

Conflict ensues in Isaac’s family. (Genesis 25-28) [on screen]

We’ll study Jacob in more detail this coming Wednesday as we do a character study on Isaac and Jacob (we did Abraham last Wednesday). However, know this: there are a lot of issues among the Patriarchs. They are not the model followers of God. 

Next, Jacob marries Leah and Rachel. (Genesis 29) [on screen]

Jacob is tricked by his future father-in-law, Laban, and he accidentally marries the sister of the one he wanted to marry. He married Leah instead of Rachel and he had to work seven years to earn the right to marry the wrong woman. So, he works another seven years and finally marries Rachel too. 

Folks, this family is a mess, but God is working through all of this mess. 

Then, Jacob has twelve sons. (Genesis 30) [on screen]

Among all of his sons, they make up the future tribes of Israel as well as the priests of Israel. 

Jacob wrestles with a God-like man and his name is changed to Israel. (Genesis 32) [on screen]

Perhaps the one with whom Jacob wrestled was actually God in a man form, perhaps it was an angel, we don’t know for sure. There’s some mystery to this encounter, and I personally like it that way.

Nevertheless, Jacob is blessed like his father was and like his grandfather was and his name is changed to Israel. It is from this man, the grandson of Abraham, that the tribes of Israel and the nation of Israel comes. 

Those are our major elements; there’s a lot, I know. There’s so much more to these Patriarchs, but I wanted you to get a bird’s eye view. 

Now, let’s talk about the major truths from the story of the Patriarchs. 

II. Major truths[on screen]

First, 1. God would choose and use humans to carry out His magnificent plan. [on screen]

It was through these three men that God would work for generations to come. God would even identify Himself at times using the name of the Patriarchs. 

For instance, to Moses, God said in Exodus 3:5-6, “Do not come closer . . . Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground . . . I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  [on screen]

In the New Testament, Peter says when he is preaching in Acts 3: 12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him.  [on screen]

God could have worked all this out on His own, without using humans, but He didn’t. He chose to work through humanity, as imperfect as we are. That takes us to our next truth . . . 

2. God chose the Patriarchs not because they were great but because He is great. [on screen]

God offered unilateral blessings to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s a fancy word to say that God made a deal to bless them and the deal was based completely on God’s faithfulness, not on the faithfulness of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s a good thing because the Patriarchs messed up time and time again!

God didn’t choose them because they were special people. They were special people because God chose them.

God is great and He did great things through the Patriarchs because of His greatness. 

Here’s the truth for us, church: God can and will do great things through us, not because we are great, but because He is great! Remember, this from last week from our study of the Tower of Babel, we can never be truly great on our own, we can only find true greatness in God, through Jesus.  

Finally, . . . 3. The faith of the Patriarchs was rooted in who God was and what He had done. [on screen]

The Patriarchs had great faith in God, which was celebrated in the Bible time and again. That faith was based on who God was and what He had done in their lives. God had proven Himself faithful and worthy of worship time and again in their lives. 

Listen, church: has not God proven Himself faithful and worthy of worship in our lives as well? We should have tremendous faith in God because of who He is and because of what He has done in our lives and all throughout the history of the world!

Remember what Paul says in Romans 4:3, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.” [on screen] 

Abraham had faith in God and Abraham was called righteous because of his faith in God. Let us also strive to be filled with faith and be righteous because of our belief in who God is and what He will do. 

Let us see now how . . .

III. The Gospel speaks [on screen]

1. The Messiah would come from brokenness and for brokenness. [on screen]

As I’ve already said, the Patriarchs were messed up. Their families were messed up. They were full of brokenness. Yet, this was the line from whom Jesus the Messiah would come. 

Listen, church: do you remember the blessing that God gave to Abraham? God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Well, God certainly did expand Abraham’s descendants to a great people as numerous as the stars in the sky. The Jewish people and the nation of Israel has survived and thrived, one way or another, since God’s blessing on them. 

However, that fact is not the fulfillment of the promise that God gave to Abraham that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through Abraham. 

The people of Israel, generally speaking, were not really blessing the peoples of the world. Usually, Israel is only concerned with Israel. That’s not a political statement, that’s just an observation from the beginning of the people of Israel to now. 

Well, then, how will God bless the rest of the world through Abraham, as God promised? It’s not through the physical expansion of Israel, it’s through the spiritual blessings that would come from Abraham’s line. Jesus the Messiah would bring spiritual blessings and deliverance not only to the people of Israel but to all the world! 

As the apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek [non-Jew].” [on screen]

The greatest blessing that came from Abraham’s line was Jesus. He came from brokenness to fix brokenness and bring us back into a relationship with God!

2. From the very beginning we learn that we are made right with God by faith alone. [on screen]

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. [on screen]

Abraham was declared righteous by faith and we are also declared righteous by faith: faith in Jesus! We cannot be righteous apart from God. We need to have faith in Him and that comes through trusting and following Jesus. 

3. Jesus is the perfect provision for God’s people. [on screen]

Again, God would bless the world through Abraham. God gave Abraham and his descendants flocks and herds, many children, much land, great success; but the greatest gift He gave to Abraham’s people and to the world, is Jesus the Messiah. 

Jesus is the greatest provision for all that we need. He offers us true life, true love, true blessing, true prosperity, and true hope. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Because of what God did through the Patriarchs, the entire history of the world was changed. That takes us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: God would bless the world through His blessing of the Patriarchs[on screen]


You and I are here today because God chose Abraham from the land of Haran and said, “I will bless you.” God did bless him, and Isaac, and Jacob, and it changed everything. 

Through the Patriarchs would come the people of Israel, through the people of Israel would come the Messiah, through the Messiah would come peace that is available to the entire world. 

Challenge yourself this week to live out this passage in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Receive God’s blessing. [on screen]

Have you received God’s blessing to the world? God said, “all the peoples of the world will be blessed through you.” Have you been blessed because of what God did through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

Have you received your spiritual inheritance and blessings from the descendant of the Patriarchs, Jesus the Messiah?

2. Carry on God’s blessing. [on screen]

God’s blessing to the world, which came through Abraham and his descendants is not done. That blessing can still be carried on. 

The knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah and that He brings the most incredible blessings to the world is still a message that needs to be heard. It’s still the greatest gift that you can give anyone. 

So, this week challenge yourself to carry on God’s blessing. Take the message of the Gospel to the world. 


As we bring this to a close, let us remember that Jesus is not just a human descendant of Abraham. Jesus was born as a human, through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but He is so much more than that. After all, Jesus Himself said in John 8:58, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”[on screen]

Jesus was there from the beginning. He was even putting the earth together at Creation. Yet, He came to us as a baby, from the line of the Patriarchs, in order to fulfill God’s promise to bless the world. 

Also, as Abraham would be called to sacrifice his son Issac, God would sacrifice His Son Jesus on the cross for our sins. Only, God would go through with it. As with Abraham and Isaac, God would once again provide the sacrifice. Instead of a ram caught in a thicket, it was God’s only Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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