John Atkinson gives two inspiring messages on Abraham, the father of the faithful and the friend of God. Edith Sher casts light on the character flaws of Isaac and Jacob.
Avraham Avinu (Our Father Abraham) is both the physical and spiritual father of the Jewish people and, according to the Brit Chadashah (New Testament), the spiritual father of those who have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel. But is he the father of three Faiths or one? What does it actually mean to belong to Abraham and to be his progeny in faith?
In his second talk John Atkinson looks at the title, “The Friend of God,” which is applied to Abraham alone. Not even Moses or David are given this designation. What was it about Abraham that earned him this title? John looks at the place of awe, worship, obedience, and action in the life of Abraham.
Edith Sher puts the all-too human frailties of the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, under the microscope. Isaac, the man who loved food, and Jacob who projected his bad relationships with his male relatives onto his relationship with God. Isaac is determined to favour Esau over Jacob but it all goes awry thanks to the patriarch’s need for instant gratification. The result tears apart an already dysfunctional family. In the case of Jacob, he is a man on the run: on the run from his brother, his uncle, his God, and most of all, from himself. But Jacob cannot outrun God who teaches Jacob to face up to himself so that he can become Israel. The failings of the patriarchs should encourage us that God can use us warts and all to fulfil his eternal purposes.