Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

Genesis 12:1-3. This passage contains the basic structure of the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant is essential for every Christian to understand because ALL of YHWH’s plans for human history (and His character) hinge on its fulfillment. There are 3 categories of the promise: 1) Land, 2) Seed/Offspring, 3) Worldwide Blessing.

Genesis 15:1-21. Both the Seed (v.1-6) and Land (v.7-21) promises are made into a covenant with YHWH calling Abram to ratify the covenant by sacrificing animals. Only YHWH passes through the pathway in between them, showing the unconditional nature of the covenant with Abram. The covenant’s fulfillment rests upon YHWH alone.

Genesis 17:1-8. YHWH reveals Himself as “El Shaddai” meaning “the all-abundant One who steps up in times of special urgency and by his power meets human need.”[1] This is the first that God has revealed about Himself outside of “Elohim” (God) and “YHWH” (LORD). This name is reiterated in key places were the covenant is stressed (28:3; 35:11; 48:3-4; 49:25). In enacting the covenant (v.2, 4), YHWH changes Abram’s name to Abraham. We are told that this covenant will carry over to Abraham’s descendants and that it is everlasting in nature (v.7-8).

Genesis 25:19-34. Isaac’s life does not occupy much of Scripture. There is his birth (21:1-8), sacrifice (22:1-19), search for a bride (ch. 24), and then the narrative moves to Jacob. Gen 25:19-26 deals with the Lord’s prophecy over Jacob and Esau and their birth, while v.27-34 deals with a particular incident that shows each man’s character: Jacob is cunning, while Esau is thoughtless and negligent. Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau “immoral” and “godless.” In an act of dramatized weakness, Esau makes a bargain, exchanging his firstborn rights for food from Jacob. The word “despised” in 25:34 can mean that he “undervalued” his birthright.

Hebrews 12:15-17

Genesis 28:1-4. Though Jacob deceived his father into blessing him as the firstborn due to his mother’s coercion (Gen 27:6-13), Isaac holds fast to the blessing and sends Jacob away to find a wife from one of their kin (Gen 28:1-2). Esau had married two of the pagan Hittite women of the land, diluting the gene pool (Gen 26:34). In v. 3-4, Isaac pronounces the Seed/Offspring and Land blessings upon Jacob before he leaves.

Genesis 28:13-22. While traveling to Paddan-aram, Jacob dreams of a ladder going into heaven with angels ascending and descending (v.10-12). The Lord God reveals Himself personally to Jacob (v.13). In v.13b-14, YHWH reiterates the Land, Seed, and Blessing promises respectively, as well as the promise to bring Jacob back to the land of Canaan (v.15). Jacob names the place “Bethel” meaning “house of God.” His vow in v.20-22 shows that he did not comprehend YHWH’s words in v.13-15.

Genesis 31:13. While the events that surround Jacob’s time in Paddan-aram span 20 years, YHWH fulfills His promise to bring Jacob back to Canaan in this one verse. YHWH identifies Himself as the “God of Bethel,” in connection with Jacob’s renaming of Luz in 28:20-22.

Genesis 32:24-30. Jacob wrestles with an angel (Hos 12:3-4), though the incident likens his wrestling to God Himself. Jacob’s name is changed to “Israel” which means “struggles with God.” In v.28, we are told that Jacob struggled with God and man and prevailed. This could be prophetic, seeing Israel’s role as a nation in the future End Times.

Hosea 12:2-4

Genesis 35:9-15. Jacob/Israel returns to Bethel after entering again into the land and reconciling with Esau. YHWH speaks to him about the Seed and Land promises. Israel commemorates this by building an altar.

Genesis 37:1. Jacob once again resides in the Promised Land.

With the Abrahamic Covenant hangs the fate of all known existence. As Romans 9:1-13 shows, God will bring about the promise of a Deliverer as He sees fit, not allowing His Word to fail.
YHWH is El Shaddai, meeting the needs of His people in order to bless them as He accomplishes His divine purposes in history!

Romans 9

[1] Eugene H. Merrill, Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2006), p.84.