Gracepoint is a church located 6 blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. We have various ministries for college students, working professionals, singles, couples, youth and children. Whether you are new to Christianity, looking for Christian fellowship, or a tight knit Christian community, we invite you to check us out!
This week we continue with our message series “So he went”, this time going through a character study of the biblical figure Jacob. Jacob’s name translates to ‘grasper’ or ‘usurper’ and he lives up to his name as he lives a life characterized by deceit and trickery. After a life on the run, Jacob finds himself alone with no possession at the river Jabbok. It is here where a man wrestled with Jacob all night but Jacob refuses to let him go unless this man blesses him. Finally, the man asks him what his name is in which Jacob responds, not by lying or trickery as he has in the past, but by confronting the truth of who he is by telling him his name is Jacob.
After Abraham was well-settled, God calls him to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering. So Abraham went. Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son? It seems cold and cruel that God would take away good things and even some of our most treasured things. However, at the crucial moment when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, God refuses the offering and provides the offering instead, and through this we discover what God is like and what he is truly interested in.
Trusting in God and in his promises, Abraham chooses to take second best, boldly rescues Lot, refuses to accept plunder from the King of Sodom, and intercedes out of concern for the people in Sodom. He goes from a self-preserving scoundrel to someone who puts others first. On the other hand, Lot separates from Abraham for the better land and settles into Sodom and dives into the world, becoming someone that his own family members can’t take seriously when he receives a message of impending judgment. As we study the divergent trajectories of the lives of these two men, we see what a difference walking with the Lord makes.
Abraham and his nephew, Lot, become wealthy and decide to part ways to alleviate tension between their herdsmen. Abraham decides to choose second and allows Lot to choose first, and Lot chooses with his eyes and settles next to Sodom while Abraham settles in the oaks of Mamre. As we study the trajectory in the life of Lot and Abraham, we see how such seemingly simple choices prove to be significant hinge moments in their lives.
When God calls Abraham to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house to go to the land he will show him, all Abraham has to cling on to are words and promises. But that is all that Abraham needs, so he goes. God is going to be with Abraham and is going to be totally loyal to Abraham. In this message, we look at faith in terms of Abraham’s trust in God’s promise and how God stays true to his promise to bless Abraham and turn him into a source of blessing for all the nations.