Six Lessons from Six Patriarchs (Overview of Genesis)

1. ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD AND WAS NOT (Gen. 5:24)

Noah was carried through the judgment; but Enoch, before it came, was borne to the place out of which it came. Nothing peculiar ushered forth that glorious hour. No big expectations or strange events gave token of its coming. It was the natural heavenly close of an undeviating heavenly journey. Paul speaks of our being caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and of that great expectation as being our comfort and relief against the day of the Lord and its terrors; Enoch in himself, long before, illustrated that very thing. John speaks of the raptured saints accompanying the Lord in the day of His power; Enoch in his prophecy, long before, testified the same (Jude 14,15).

AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).


2. NOAH WAS SHUT UP SAFELY IN THE ARK (Gen. 7:16)

It is not too bold to say, that all within the door of the ark were as safe as the Lord Himself. The Lord returned, we may say, to His own heavens, or to His throne, which is established forever, and Noah was left on the earth, in the place and day of judgment. But Noah was as safe as the Lord. “We may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17). Jesus has gone back to heaven, and we are still in this world, the judgment of which is marked before God; but we have the boldness which is proper to Jesus. God’s own hand imparted its strength to Noah’s condition ere He returned to the heavens. “The Lord shut him in” (Gen. 7:16)

AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).


3. ABRAHAM BELIEVED IN THE LORD (Gen. 15:6)

Faith is never too bold to please the Lord. In the days of His flesh, He often rebuked the reserves and suspicions of little faith, but never the strength and decision of a faith that aimed as at everything, and would not go without a blessing. When a fine, bold, unquestioning faith sought for a child, the Lord God took Abraham forth that very night, and, showing him the starry heavens, said to him, “So shall thy seed be.” Would that we knew our God as He is to be known, for His praise and our comfort! Love delights to be used. Family affection puts ceremony aside. So will the Lord have it with Himself. The intimacy of faith is according to His grace.

AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).


4. ISAAC WAS COMFORTED AFTER HIS MOTHER’S DEATH (Gen. 24:67)

That was a great moment in the life of Isaac, an occasion of great meaning. In his taking a wife, not of all whom he chose, but of his father’s providing, we may trace the same strong hand over him. There might easily have been more of human submissiveness and filial piety in this, than in the case of the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. This marriage was a type or mystery, as well as that sacrifice. The wife brought home to the son was in the full confidence of the father and he must comply to the hand that was using it. The potter was making vessels for use of the household, and the clay must yield.

AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).


5. JACOB OFFERED SACRIFICES TO THE GOD AND FATHER OF HIS FATHER ISAAC (Gen. 46:1)

On his hearing that Joseph was yet alive, and governor over all the land of Egypt, we read that Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed it not (Gen. 45:6). At first this was too much for him; but when he saw the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to bear him, and all that belonged to him, down toward Egypt he went without further delay. Nature thus spoke at once in Jacob, as soon as the report was believed, and without further challenge he begins his journey to Egypt. But why these sacrifices at Beersheba? Now the spiritual sensibilities have waked up. Jacob had not dealt with the Lord about this journey, as he was beginning it; his conscience in the Holy Spirit is now taking the lead, and the judgment of nature is reviewed. “Fear not to go down into Egypt” calmed the present uneasiness of his renewed mind.

AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).


6. JOSEPH WEPT

Joseph was a great weeper. Tears are often precious and sacred.
  1. When Joseph saw conviction awakening in the conscience of his brethren, he wept (Gen. 45:2).
  2. He wept again when he saw Benjamin (Gen. 45:14), the only one of his brethren who had not been guilty of his blood.
  3. He wept again as he saw the work of repentance going on in his brethren (Gen. 45:15). These were more than the tears of nature. This was the bowels of Christ, or the tears of the Father upon the neck of the prodigal.
  4. He fell on his father’s face, and wept, as his father died (Gen. 50:1). This was as the grave of Lazarus to Joseph; and there he and his Lord can weep together.
AN APPLICATION FOR TODAY: “…Weep with those who weep…the members should have the same care for one another; and if one member suffers, all the members share the suffering” (Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:25,26).