At a bible study recently, someone asked if it was right to relate to God as “God of _________” (put in the name of any well known Preacher) just as the Jews related to God as “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as we repeatedly find in the bible.
In finding a satisfactory answer to this question, it is fundamental to start by trying to understand why God introduced himself to the children of Israel in that way in the first place. We can start off with the first reference that I know: Eliezer the servant of Abraham prayed in Gen 24:42, to “the Lord God of my master Abraham”. The first thing to note here is that Eliezer had no direct relationship with God and could only pray by invoking the name of Abraham with whom God had made a covenant.
Then comes the momentous occasion recorded in Gen 26:24 where God appears to Isaac and declares “I am the God of thy father Abraham”. God then goes further to reassure Isaac that He would bless him and multiply his seed because of Abraham. What becomes evident from this encounter is that God invokes the name of Abraham to remind Isaac that He would keep to the covenant that he made with Abraham.
Subsequently, God will continue to introduce Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All through the Bible, the Jews knew and related to God as their ancestral deity. Their relationship with God was entirely a matter of being born as Jews; this fact was so crucial to having a relationship with God that we find in Nehemiah that those whose record of lineage could not be traced were banished from the priesthood. This is why there are those portions of scripture that most believers just skip over. It usually reads like this; and A begat B, and B begat C,D, E and C begat…. Lets just call it the begatitudes.
What becomes clear from the foregoing is that the primary reason for describing God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was because God relates to mankind by covenants and for that time, the covenant was passed down by genealogy: you basically got it from whoever begat you. So the critical question to ask today is, in the real sense of it, who is my spiritual father? Well, here’s what Jesus taught in three versions…
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9 NKJV)
And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9 AMP)
“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10 MSG)
The bible makes clear that there is only one mediator between God and mankind- the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). No one therefore enters into a proxy covenant relationship with God for us: all you get from that sort of arrangement is a second-hand covenant. Little wonder when the Jews wanted to start boasting about their covenant relationship with God through Abraham, Jesus burst their bubble…
Jesus replied, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM. (John 8:58 AMP)
Unfortunately, many believers seem to believe contrary to the portion of the bible that says… Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (Philippians 2:9 NKJV). We act as though we can impress God by dropping a ‘higher’ name than we have already been given to pray through. Well, not only does it not impress God, apparently, the devil is mostly not impressed either. The Sons of Sceva tried to use the name of Paul once and here’s what the demon told them before giving the seven of them the demonic pounding of their lives…
But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you? (Acts 19:15 AMP)
To be factual though, some people do it simply out of a weak faith, or not having sufficient understanding of their covenant relationship with God. Some believers seem to believe that their ‘daddy’ (pastor) is the child of God while they are just God’s grandchildren. It is therefore important that we build up the believers under our care to be able to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Heb 4:16) in the name of Jesus Christ as God has commanded us.
God bless us all.