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Well, if you got your Bibles with you, we're going to continue our study through the Book of Genesis this morning. We've been walking through this narrative this book of Beginnings that describes for us the God who made all of creation and give us some insight into who this God is and and some insight into coup. We are created as his images. The partner with him in his work of order and beauty and creation. The challenges of rebellion and sin and Brokenness and death are really getting a picture of reality. This morning. We're going to start in Genesis 18. We've been walking with Abram now Abraham and his journey with God, but I want to I want to take a couple of weeks and and give give some theological Frameworks for understanding the rest of the Book of Genesis a couple of weeks ago this morning. I want to talk about the often. He's the appearances of God. That's what is theophany is when God shows up.

you know, if you've grown up in the church, we have our Sunday school stories of when God shows up, but It happens way more than I think most of us expect her understand. It happens so consistently and so often in the text, but if we if we don't understand what is going on week we end up missing the whole point. And I think far too often, especially with the Old Testament. We treat these stories in these narratives and end these books and in and we turn them into moral lesson little moral tidbit bits be good do this. Don't do that. And we miss the Beauty and the power of what's actually being told in The Narrative of God's presence in and with and for his creation. You know, it's interesting when we talk about God and his appearance is I think most people in the church today. We think well the Old Testament we just God. And then somehow in the New Testament God like pulled a surprise switch-a-roo and now Jesus shows up and and then now all sudden we got this weird thing called the Trinity. We don't really have it before but now it shows up and

I don't think we do a good job as the Church of thinking critically. about who God is We missed the point. I was looking at a very popular book on the Trinity again this week. And in this book on the Trinity talk about the father talk about the son talks about the spirit. Not one reference. In this book on the Trinity to Jesus in the Old Testament, not one. Not because they're not there. But because we haven't been taught how to see it. Because because we don't see it in and end this matters, let's do think we're just engaging in vain theological reflection this morning it actually matter. Is Jesus God? How is Jesus God? How does God relate to himself? How does God relate to his creation? How does salvation work if Jesus Is God how to Salvation work at Jesus isn't going to talk with Muslims or Mormons matter. the matter how we think about God how we see Jesus not just in the New Testament, but how we see Jesus in all the scripture. I mean if you just if you stop and think about it for a second, how is it that the Jewish people of Jesus's day? Who have been raised with the idea of monotheism that there is one God above all others. How is it that they accepted Jesus have got how is it that they worship Jesus in The Flash? How is it? Why is it that the New Testament spends? Absolutely no time to finding the idea or concept of the trinity.

15b the questions if you just stop and think about them for a second actually matter. And I want to help this morning and I think the scriptures are going to be a help not me. I want us to see together. consistent message of the scripture Is a god that is with us a god that is for us. in all of his Beauty and Power

Genesis 18:1 starts out this way and the Lord appeared to him by The Oaks of mamre as he sat at the door of his tent In the Heat of the day such a simple little sense, right? Just almost nonchalant, Place Abraham. Starting his day out. Having his cereal is coffee. Read newspaper, whatever to start his day and all of the sudden the Lord appear. This is not some disembodied voice speaking Abraham. This is not you know him twitching and rolling on the ground in some sort of vision. He's having an ordinary day in the natural world that God created and God shows up. Got shows up the Lord appeared to him by the oak trees.

Have you sat at the door of his tent In the Heat of the day God shows up? now for Abraham, this is not out of the ordinary Abraham has head God appeared to him multiple times in his life as we've been walking through Genesis. We saw back in Genesis. Well, the Lord said to Abram go from your country or Kindred your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make if you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing I will bless those who bless you and him is his honours you I will curse and then you all the families of the Earth shall be blessed this great Covenant. Oh promise and call of Abraham. How did that come? what would we just keep reading in in chapter 12 Abraham, when does Lord told him a lot with him Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from her an the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to your Offspring I will give this land so he built there an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.

When God shows up in Genesis 18 by the trees in the heat of the day. Think Abraham recognized him. He's seen him before. He's encountered. In the natural world. Part of our challenge as well as we read the scriptures. Is that our materialistic postmodern scientific materialistic culture? has determined

not based on science or fact is determined based on philosophical ideal that the natural world and the supernatural world. Do not meet. But even if we accept the idea of God, he dwells in some place called heaven and we found some place on Earth. And if God made it wound up the universe like a clock and then he stepped away. And that is so deeply embedded into the cultural narratives that we that we breathe in on a daily basis. read a text like this and it just seemed so foreign and so strange so outdated so ghoulish even

At the Bible doesn't make any apologies. It doesn't it doesn't give justifications. It just tells us what happened.

in real time in real place to real people God really showed up.

Got really showed up.

Go back to Genesis 18 the Lord appeared to him by The Oaks of mamre as they sat at the door of his tent In The Heat Of The Day He lifted up his eyes and looked and behold three men were standing in front of him. Text tells us very clearly God showed up. How did God show up? He looks and the whole there is actually three men. What appeared to be men when God showed up to Abram. He showed up with the appearance of a man. Visually seeing something he's not by himself. There's two other men now we're going to walk through the rest of this chapter and it's a 19 later in a couple of weeks. But as the story unfolds we learned very quickly two of those other men would appear to be a man. We're actually Angels the third was God himself.

we saw them he ran from the 10th door to meet them and bowed himself to the Earth and he said oh Lor I found favor in your sight do not pass by your servant. He recognizes who has come to visit him. He boughs down.

Yahweh God is Not only visible. volume by Abraham addresses this in body figure in the in the states we get in just Genesis 19th call Tim. The judge of the entire Earth is no dispute in the text.

It's Crystal Clear. Abraham is meeting with. meeting with guy

We have God appearing to Abram on multiple occasions.

Multiple times he appears as a man. But there's other ways that God shows up. Madeline the Book of Genesis which were going to focus on this morning, but throughout the Old Testament. We're going to go next week. But throughout the Book of Genesis God shows up makes appearances in real time. Sometimes he shows up like a man. Sometimes he shows up. We saw this back in Genesis chapter 16 as an angel the angel of the Lord interesting phrase in the Hebrew the angel of the lord. We have Angels messenger show up all the time. But this figure is unique and distinct the angel of the lord. We saw it back in Genesis 16 when Abraham and Sarah I come up with their plan to help God out. Haggar gets pregnant jealousy and Chaos ensues Hagar fleas off into the Wilderness alone. Almost certainly to die. And God shows up with the angel of the Lord shows up. And have a conversation with Hagar blessed was her face promises to her since her back and preserves her life and it smells like God hears and God sees in that text in the one that shows up is the Angel of the Lord this Angel appears again to Abram. in Genesis chapter 22

Genesis chapter 22 when they come to the place of which God had told him. So this is the narrative. of Abram Abraham offering up his son Isaac on the mountain God comes Abram after of pain and frustration of infertility and failure. God blesses Abraham and Sarah with a son Isaac the son of Promise This promised seed the one who is going to inherit the Covenant and then one day God comes to Abraham and says, I take your son up to the top of this mountain and I want you to offer him to me.

I can't wait to preach to that text but when they came to the place of which God told him Abraham built the altar there and lay the wood in order and found Isaac his son and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son, but the angel of the Lord

Listen to the text the angel of the Lord called him from heaven and said Abraham Abraham. Angel of the Lord called out to him

Here I am. He said to not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him for now. I know that you fear God and have not withheld your son your only son from me

that's interesting. Is that because who's talking? The angel who who was he offering his son too. The angel says you didn't withhold your son from me. You see what happening is it that the wording is intentionally blurred between God and the angel of the Lord. Angel says he didn't withhold your son from me. Not just speaking for God he's speaking as. This again. This is not some Angelic messenger. That's come with a message. This is God himself showing up.

Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and behold the Heinz him was a ram caught in a Thicket by his horn and Abraham went and took the RAM and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called the name of that place. The angel will provide. Like this was just some random Angelic messenger some some member of the Divine Council one of the Bene Elohim like that. God sent with a message. No, it doesn't say the angel will provide the name of that place the Lord will provide.

yatra Sing a song about it when I was a kid at Camp Jehovah-jireh. God is our provider. That's what he names. That place is the provider. How did God provide. Provided the ram God showed up but wasn't that showed up the angel of the Lord is the one the Shota? the text is pointing out to us something that we need to get a handle up. It's not just once this is not just a random accidental scribal error in the text. all throughout the story

When we continue walking through the Book of Genesis, not only did God appear to Abraham not only did the angel of the Lord appeared to Abraham, but he appears to his offspring. So when we get to Genesis 28

Sorry Genesis 26. We find this now there was famine in the land besides of the former fam and it was in the days of Abraham and Isaac went to Gerard to abimelech the king of the Philistines. So there's another famine you remember the first time there was a famine Abram took off and went to Egypt. There's another famine and and Isaac is considering doing the same thing.

And the Lord appeared to him. I said do not go down to Egypt dwell in the in the land, which I shall show you.

Sojourn in this land and I will be with you. I will bless you. For to you and to your Offspring I will give all these lands and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham. Your father is important turning point in the story The God of Covenant with Abraham is the same God that is now Covenant thing and it's the same Covenant with Isaac Abraham's son the son of promise.

God shows up to Isaac. So don't go don't do what your dad did learn from his mistakes. Don't stay here in the land that I've shown you. I will be with you. I will take care of you. Not only that. I'm going to be with you. I want to be with your offspring.

God showed out I will multiply your Offspring as the stars of the heavens and I will give to your Offspring all these lands and in your Offspring all the nations of the earth. She'll be less. It's a restatement of Genesis 12:2 Isaac the Covenant promise that God is using the line of Abraham. Now the line of Isaac to bring about a seed an offspring that will bring blessing to the entire Earth is still in play. This is the storyline of Genesis. It's the storyline of the scripture. God is not going to give up on his plan to have a creation that exist as a kingdom of God and man dwelling together. And he's chosen. To bring about that blessing to bring about that healing through this family. Not just for that family through that family to all the families of the Earth. God shows up God shows up. Isaac's son Jacob who has his name changed to Israel as a series of visual encounters with Yahweh. Probably the most well-known. We we find in Genesis 28 Jacob left there Shiva and went towards for ran. He came to a certain place and stay there the night because the sun had set taking one of the stones of the place. He put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. I just people were way tougher back then. Chanel I got.

No, my pillow that's right. Just found a rock put it under his head goes goes to sleep. Laid it down in that place to sleep any dreams and behold there was a ladder set up on the earth in the top of it reach to the heavens and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it interesting because we've already seen something kind of similar in Genesis. If you remember back to the Tower of Babel narrative the people gathered in Babel that one language and they said let's build for ourselves at our Temple a structure that reaches up into the heavens. Jacob has a vision and what does he say exactly that dolphin called in modern Jacob's Ladder? Bassano ladders is a ziggurat ancient near Eastern Temple that reaches up it from the Earth to Heaven and Earth Angels going up and down why because God is involved in his creation.

the natural world in the Supernatural world The material world in the immaterial world are not as disconnected as our world would tell us they are today. Lucy says she has a vision he sees angels and behold the Lord stood.

What things stand? Let me ask you this way do immaterial things stand. Do invisible things stand? What is the text saying he's having a visit he seemed now.

The Lord stood above it and said I am Yahweh. I am the Lord the god of Abraham your father the god of Isaac the land on which you lie. I will give to you and to your Offspring. To reconfirm in the Covenant needed to Abraham. There's Abraham's son Isaac and how he's doing it to Jacob. You're the one there are other children there other son, but this is the line that God is choosing.

any fees.

Your Offspring shall be like the dust of the earth usual spread abroad to the West in the east in the North and the South and then you and your Offspring show all the families of the earth. Be blessed. This is God's plan. This is how God is going to make it happen. This is the family through God will bring the Messiah.

shows that

hold on with you and will keep you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this landfill not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

He wakes up. Names the place Bethel literally means the house of God. He takes his pillow and he builds an altar out of it. Anoints this place. This is the place where I met and saw God. This is the house of God, the cell becomes a central place of worship. In the time of the Patriarchs because this is where Jacob met God. Beth-El

That's that's important because of what comes next Genesis 31.

Having another another dream Jacob the angel of God said to me in the dream Jacob I said here I am. Jake has been having some in-law problems, right but God's been with him hadn't been easy and then clean but God has been with him. Now. The angel of God said to me in a dream. Jacob said here. I am and he said lift up your eyes and see all the goats that mate with the flock are Stripes spotted model for I've seen all that labor is doing his father-in-law was trying to cheat him. And that so basically say alright this year when the herds have their babies anything that spotted you can have. And that year everything was spotted. It's 11 was like oops okay this year at everything that's striped. You can have when they gave birth all the babies came out striped monster models at the end of this Levens got nothing and Vic have got all of it and things are not harmonious at home. All right. And at this point Jacob's frustrated and God comes to him. The angel of the Lord comes in and says listen, we've seen it at I've seen all the Ravens doing to you. I am the god of Bethel. that's an interesting statement because Who is this man? Stalking the angel of the Lord when we were at Beth-El. What do we see? We saw angels but we saw God now this Angel the angel of the Lord that speaking them says I am the god of that's out.

Were you going to the pillar and made a vow out to me? And I'll rise go from this land and return to the land of your kindred. Angel identifies himself as God passage uses these two figures together.

Jacob was left alone. next chapter Genesis 32 He's on his way back. He's a little frayed because he cheated his brother.

Is afraid that when he goes back he's not going to have a happy reunions. He's going to get killed so but he's still freaking out. Jacob at so takes his family. He moves them across the river. He sent this gift ahead of himself. He he's doing everything he can even though God said he was going to take care of it. Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. He finds himself alone in the wilderness by himself in a Man shows up and starts to wrestle with him. awkward but interesting When the man saw that he did not Prevail against Jacob he touched his hip socket and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. I won't give up. Remember wrestling with your kids when they were like four or five especially if you had boys and I mean they're little but they're already just filled with insane amounts of testosterone and that they're absolutely convinced that they can destroy you and they just end and you as a gracious and loving parent you like wrestle with them. You're like, that's what I think of when I think of this year's Jacob about this is good touches is hip

It's put out of joint as he wrestled with him. They said to him let me go for the day has broken, but Jacob said I will not let you go. Unless you bless me how we know there's clearly more than just some random guy showing up. Something important going on and any said you and what is your name? And he said Jacob he said your name should no longer be called Jacob but Israel for you have striven with God. man And you have Prevail you wrestle.

Didn't give up you laid a whole lot.

Struggle of God and with men and have Prevail. Jacob said to me he said why is it? Yes my name.

And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the face of the place Penny L saying for I have seen God face to face. And yet my life has been deliver.

Take a note exactly now Israel know exactly who? Tell me your name. You know my name I'm going to call this place cuz I wrestled with God I saw God face to face here. And I lived.

Man that Jacob wrestled with was divine. wrestle with God Hosea chapter 12 written much later inspired profit In in Hosea, we find in chapter 12 verses 325 talking about Jacob in the womb. He took his brother by the heel and in his manhood Bistro was got a direct reference to this Genesis 32 then his manhood he strove with God he strove with the angel and prevailed he wept and sought his favor. He met God at the South and their God spoke with us the Lord the god of hosts. The Lord is his memorial name uses interchange. God the angel.

All intertwined Jose is inspired commentary on the incident in the geography talking about he's telling us that Jacob wrestled with God himself physically embodied and identifies god with the angel who said he was the god of the South.

But the point is not that Yahweh. The god of Israel is a mirror Angel. The reverse is the case. This Angel is Yahweh.

We got this understanding that in the Old Testament. There's just God disembodied floating around not involved. It's not how the text lays things out. And we've inherited this idea in the American Evangelical context that in the Old Testament just God is one. There's no concept of Trinity. There's no concept of the relational reality of God. It's not the case.

all comes with head in Genesis 48 on Jacobs Deathbed

after this Joseph was told the hold your father is ill so he took with him his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. I was told to Jacob your son. Joseph is come to you then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed and Jacob said to Joseph. Listen to what I say. God Almighty El Shaddai. We just saw that last week the Covenant God of blessing. The Sovereign God does not give up on his people El Shaddai appeared to me at Lou's in the land of Canaan and blessed me and he said to me behold I will make you fruitful and multiply and I will make of you company people that will give you this land to your Offspring after you for an everlasting possession. If we jump down 2 verse 14, we get to the blessing Israel stretched out his right hand and let it on laid it on the head of a Fram was the younger and his left hand on the head of Manasseh Crossing his hands for manessa was the first born and he blessed Joseph and Seth and his Blessing the god before whom my father's Abraham and Isaac walked the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day. The angel who has redeemed me from all evil bless the boy. and in them let my name be carried on in the name of my father's Abraham and Isaac and let them grow into a multitude in the faces of the Earth If yours is blessing may God who is all who called me? May God who is always Shepherd me May the angel who has Redeem Me bless you and may this Covenant line continue through these boy.

The Poetry so does parallelism parallelism the parallelism between God and the angel is evident, but what's What's striking to me in this text actually comes down to the grammar? The word therefore blast may he bless you in Hebrew. The verb lesson this passage is not grammatically plural. It's singular make God and the angel maid they bless you.

What is God and then there's this Angel. May God and the angel. May he bless you.

He's very clear. He's met with God sometimes in a vision sometimes got to actually embody appearing before him sometimes as a man. Sometimes the angel of the Lord. Sometimes. He's very clear. This is God who shows up?

May he bless the boys. May he continue what he has started?

I'm admittedly a theological nerd. So I really love this stuff.

But I love it because it's actually work. It makes a difference. How I relate relate to Jesus how I relate to God how I think about God's involvement in history. How I understand the role of Jesus as Redeemer and Savior King and God.

How is it I asked earlier on how is it that the early followers of Jesus these Jewish monotheists accepted the reality that Jesus was God in their midst and worship him even though they knew you were the one you should only worship God God Alone.

Because they were steeped in the Old Testament because they understood the narrative. They were very very comfortable with a God who Reigns in the heavens and who appears in the Earth? They were very comfortable all the ancient rabbis the ancient sages the ancient scribes before Jesus all of them interpreted the scriptures and especially the Patriarchs in Genesis and exodus. They all accept the reality.

Divine presence is to yahweh's the invisible and the visible they called it the two powers of Heaven. They didn't believe were monotheistic belief that God is one but they saw in the text. Sometimes this one. God can also show up next week. You think this is weird next week? It's not weird. I'm not going to make it to the weirdness. We're going to love it. Alright, it's amazing. They were comfortable with this reality that sometimes now it's amazing you trace the the history of theological interpretation after Jesus comes in many of these juice followers Proclaim. This is Yahweh made flesh. This is got they begin to worship. Jesus all the sudden all the rabbis go now if there's no two powers in heaven and all of the Jewish theology changes, but up until that point in time all of them agreed.

wasn't strange for the disciples to realize that Jesus was the Eternal pre-existence Son of God made Flash. This is

here's what I love about this.

what I love about this is that

Who was it? The called out and stopped Abram when he raised the knife. Above his son Isaac, who was it that called out and stopped him and gave him a ram as a sacrifice.

with cheese

Who was it? They came and wrestled with Jacob all night long. Reminding him that God was with him that God was the one that was going to provide and protect. Who was it was Jesus that was with him? Sometimes we adopted this kind of theology that like Jesus just shows up. In the New Testament Jesus just shows up. After thousands of years of God interacting with his people Jesus was what just taking a nap or really long Siesta not involve not engaged. Jesus is the hero of all the scriptures. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end Jesus it just show up a couple of thousand years ago out of nowhere. Jesus has always been involved in his creation and with his people Jesus has always been something special.

He showed up in body before now. He showed up incarnated. He came as a man is different. It's special No Doubt. But Jesus was just as involved. In the Old Testament as he wasn't your test. He's everywhere. It's like Jesus himself said like if you read the scriptures and you don't see me, you haven't read them. You haven't seen? What spice is important important? Because too many in the church today ignore the Old Testament? Ignore it and and we North to our Peril because we missed the storyline. I'm in because we missed the storyline for the God is absolutely committed to his creation functioning with him. We accept these false and pseudo gospel that Jesus appeared out of nowhere died and rose again. So that after we die we float off to some place called heaven and at the end of things. I'll just burn up his creation will just float around playing Harps for the rest of Eternity.

if you that's not the gospel. That's not the good news of the scripture. We could use the scriptures that God does not give up on his creation. Even when his creation gave up on him. God's will not let sin have the final word, even though sin brings death. God is greater than death and the life of Jesus will overwhelm and overcome the power.

The story line is not a story of Escape.

the story of redemption

Transformers God is not giving up on all of his creation. And his agent of redemption. Has always been. Is today and always will be himself.

Jesus has always been Our Redeemer. Always been who was it that called Abram it was Jesus. Who is it? The rescue Isaac it was Jesus. Who is it that name and and redeemed Israel. It was cheese.

Who is it that we call out to? Jesus the clothes with Paul's words I cannot ensure their paws were that he's quoting an ancient him. Colossians chapter 1 verses 15 speaking of Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God.

He's got he's the image of the invisible God. He's the firstborn of all creation. Sometimes we read that we know Jesus was born.

For by him all things were created in heaven on Earth visible and invisible where Thrones or dominions a ruler Authority. That that phrase the firstborn of all creation doesn't mean that Jesus himself was created. The text itself says everything that's created was created by and through and for him The word firstborn there is a word that I would translate it beloved here as it is other places.

He is the Beloved of all creation. It's a positional word. Describing this idea that Jesus didn't exist at one point and then he was born that's that's not what it's saying at all. It's saying that in all of creation at the height of all creation is the beloved one or the firstborn Jesus. He's the Beloved of all creation. It's all about him. It's all by him. It's all through him. It's all for him.

It always has been and always will be he's the image of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation by him. All things were created in the heavens and on the earth visible and invisible were the Thrones or dominions rulers or authorities were created through him and for him

is before all things and in him all things. all together

This is the Jesus we sing to this is the Jesus we pray to this is the Jesus we trust in not not not simply another part of creation. Not just the best part of creation. Jesus is the creator. Not only the trailer. He's supposed to Stayner. He's not just the beginning. He's the end. He's the source and cheese the goal. Jesus She's a really big deal y'all.

He's a really big deal. Lord forgive us because we go complacent with Jesus We become accustomed with Jesus or God forgive me. We become comfortable with Jesus.

Don't get me wrong. Jesus is gracious. Jesus is kind. Jesus is approachable. Jesus is a friend. Jesus is loving and Jesus is the holy righteous King and priest and prophet of God. He is the creator. He deserves our absolute reference and Allegiance Jesus is everything everything. pennies everywhere in the scripture

Is a head of the body the church?

Nope Church, Without Jesus. There's no family. There's nobody to belong to without Jesus. He's the head of the body the church. He's the beginning the firstborn from the dead that in everything. He might be pre-eminent. So many phrases in there that I love it just that the firstborn from the dead if you got a first born what what what do you expect in after that? Second and third and not Jesus comes into feets death as the firstborn from the dead who comes after him we come out.

And then everything he might be pre-eminent for in him. All the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

through reconcile to himself all things weather on the earth or in the heavens making peace by the blood of his

I don't know if that makes a difference to you or not, but it makes a difference to me. The one who came and was born and died and rose again. Has always been involved. As God's Redeemer. That when we read the book of Genesis if we don't see Jesus there. We're not reading it correctly. Because he is pre-eminent in all things. He is the creator. He is the sustainer. And he is Our Redeemer. Trust me. We can follow him. We can love him. And we get to worship Him.

What a privilege it is. to know Jesus the Christ the anointed king the promised seed of God Amen. Let's pray.

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