Questions for Littles: What did Abraham do by faith, when he was tested (v17)? What does v17 call Abraham—what had he received? What did “he who had received the promises” do? What had been said of the son whom Abraham offered (v18)? What did Abraham conclude that God was able to do (v19)? From what did Abraham figuratively receive Isaac back (v19)? What did Isaac do by faith in v20? When did Jacob bless Joseph’s sons by faith (v21)? When did Joseph mention the exodus by faith (v22)? Concerning what did he give instructions by faith?In the coming sermon’s text, we learn the kind of hope that is obtained by those who believe that God is their home.
We have three of the same key figures—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—in this passage as we did in the previous one. Whereas in the previous passage we were considering how these men were glad to dwell in tents because God Himself was their permanent home, now we see how they were enabled to deal with death by this same faith.
Jesus makes the point that these men are evidence of the resurrection because “God is not God of the dead but of the living” (cf. Mark 12:26-27). Here, we see their resurrection hope put on display.
God had made Abraham a promise concerning Isaac that meant that even if Isaac died, got had to bring him back to life. God’s promise is so sure because it is bank-rolled by His faithfulness and power. God refuses to let death stop Him, and indeed it cannot.
By the time Isaac comes to bless Jacob and Esau concerning what would come after Isaac’s death, their household is a colossal mess of sinful partiality, deception, and even murderous intention. But God has made promises, and though he had to be brought kicking and screaming to give the blessings that he did, Isaac ultimately blesses his sons on the basis of those promises.
Jacob is dying, but all of a sudden the man who was doom and gloom for decades is optimistic. Why? Because when he leans upon his staff on his death bed, he is cornered into considering to what really comes after death. And the answer is: everything that God has promised.
Finally, Joseph’s short verse is full of confidence that comes from being sure that God will keep His promises. He is confident that Israel will return from Egypt. He is confident that, long after the flesh has gone from his bones, he still won’t be done with them.
So I wonder, dear reader, do you have this hope that is stronger than death? Do the plans that you have made regarding the end of this life reflect a confidence that death is not the end? Let us not be those most pitiable who hope as if in this life only! (cf. 1Cor 15:19)
What difference does it make in daily life that God is your hope not just for now but forever?Suggested Songs: ARP30 “O Lord, I Will Exalt You” or HB209 “Thine Is the Glory”