Father of Fathers, Lord of Laughers, God of Scoundrels

by Andy Wood on June 20, 2011

in Esteem, Life Currency, Tense Truths

Just in case you somehow thought that God was irrelevant and grace is for people who never really needed it…

Twelve times He said it.  Twelve times he peeled back the veil and revealed very early something of His heart, passion, and grace.

And twelve times, I daresay, we have missed it.

In a gesture that can only be described as Covenant Love, the Creator of the Universe – the Holy Lord of Heaven – entered into a covenant relationship with three men we refer to today as Patriarchs.  And in a stunning act of clarity and focus, the Lord changed their names – and His.

He gave them His name (Abram inserted the Hebrew name for God and became Abraham).

But He also took theirs.  Thereafter He would refer to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We all know what that means, right?  He’s the God of three old guys whose pictures we put up on flannel boards in Sunday School.  Three cardboard cutouts who never had to change their oil, replace a hard drive, or tweet their followers.

And yet, Jesus used this phrase – The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – to make the point that He is the Lord of the living, not the dead.

I’m thinking we may have missed something.

Laced throughout the stories of these extraordinary encounters is the story of a family who put the “fun” in dysfunctional.  Factor in the cousins, spouses, and kids and you have a royal mess, complete with deceit, favoritism, war, rape, murder, divorce, shady business dealing, human trafficking, and a whole lot of money changing hands.

And into that royal mess walked the King of Heaven.

He never polished their resumes or spun their stories.  But even in the brutal honesty of their stories, He called them to trust Him.  To follow.  To believe.  And believe they did.

And in telling their stories and taking on their identities, He tells us something about Himself – and something about us.  The Lord of the Living – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – still has the grace necessary to enter into a covenant with the likes of you and me.  See if you can find yourself below…

God of the Fathers

Abraham’s name means the “father of many nations.”  In telling Abraham’s story, and saying that He is the God of Abraham, the Lord is revealing Himself as…

  • The Lord of the fathers – the patriarchs – who recognize that children are an often-long-awaited gift from God.
  • The God of the adventurer, who leaves the comfortable and familiar to follow Him in faith.
  • The God of the wanderer, who, except for promises, ever quite finds a permanent home.
  • The God of the restless, who have a hard time waiting and do foolish things to hurry up the process.
  • The Lord of the fearful, who misrepresent themselves in order to protect what is theirs.
  • The God of the aged, who have spent a lifetime waiting, working, serving, and wandering.
  • The God of the believing, who, at great risk to themselves and those they love, will take God at His word to do the ridiculously impossible.

Lord of the Laughers

Isaac’s name means “laughter.”  He got it before he was born because his very old parents laughed out loud at the news that within a year they would have a son.  Maybe they laughed in faith; maybe in ridicule.  Either way, Isaac had his name prescribed.  In telling Isaac’s story, for the Lord to say He is the God of Isaac, He is revealing Himself as…

  • The God of the laughers, who still know how to find the sublime in the ridiculous.
  • The Lord of the homeboys, who choose to stay close to the family business and the business of family.
  • The Master of the passive, who let others make most of their decisions for them.
  • The God of the gullible, who are easily fooled and ruled.
  • The Lord of the handicapped, who, in their weakness are dependent on the goodness of others.
  • The God of the favorites, who live their lives as chosen ones, often at the expense of being loved by siblings.
  • The God of the grieving, whose hearts still yearn for lost loved ones.

God of the Scoundrels

Hoo boy.  So far, so OK.  But what do you do with Jacob?  His name means “supplanter.”  Usurper.  Con man.  Jacob was the one who always seemed to get what he wanted, regardless of what it took.  And in staying a step ahead of his avengers, Jacob found himself running smack dab into a relationship with God.  In telling both the dark and the bright in Jacob’s story, for the Lord to say He is the God of Jacob, He is revealing Himself as…

  • The Master of the multiples, whose lives are forever identified as a twin or more.
  • The God of the runner, who always seems to stay a step ahead of trouble.
  • The Lord of the wise guy, who always seems to come out of every situation getting what he wanted.
  • The God of the hopeless romantic, who would go to ridiculous lengths to win the heart of his beloved.
  • The Master of the manipulator, who will twist the truth to serve his purposes.
  • The God of the broken, who, in facing down his greatest enemy – himself – walks with a limp the rest of his life.
  • The Savior of the scoundrel, whose only hope is in the grace of His God.

Nothing could be more relevant than the fact that this God of the nations would willingly enter into a relationship with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and you.

And nothing could be more relevant than the price He paid and the lengths to which He went in Jesus to make it happen.  He took on our identity so we could take His.  Here’s how Paul put it:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

If you’ve ever looked at your life and felt impossibly human, here’s the amazing news:  You qualify.  This Father of fathers, Lord of laughers and Savior of scoundrels has identified all who believe as the Righteousness of God.  And the word for that is “grace.”

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