Why believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
by Kevin Williams
First, I must confess that I believed in God at a very young age. Only the Almighty knows who the two men were who visited my house those many years ago. I came home from the park one summer's eve to find them talking with my mother about a personal savior who lived, died, and rose again to removed sins and let mankind enter into a personal and eternal relationship with Him.
Adults seem to have a difficult time admitting that they do things wrong—that they sin against their Creator. But an 8 or 9 year-old boy knows he does things wrong. He knows because he plots wrong things, because he willingly takes that "triple-dare," because he often gets caught doing wrong, and because he is often told by his parents, teachers, and authority figures that his behavior is wrong. To a child, being wrong is a part of life.
To my young, unclogged mind, the idea of a God who would eliminate all the wrong things—all my sins—was very appealing. So I accepted what they had to say at face value. I didn't understand all the implications to what I was agreeing to, nor would I for many years to come. But I knew deep down inside that it was the right thing to do and I have never regretted that night's decision.
Many years have passed since that small boy, and I have a pre-school son of my own. Believe it or not, from time to time, I have to tell him in no uncertain terms that he does things that are wrong. One day, I hope and pray that he will place his trust in God's Messiah as I have.
But I am no longer a boy. I no longer think like a lad (though I'm told I act like one on occasion). Many things through the years have challenged me and my faith. Sometimes, blind faith is enough. Other times, faith is the way-station that keeps us safe until introspection and revelation bring us to understanding.
So why do I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? I could discuss many things: miracles witnessed, prayers answered, and unexplained healings. Not to mention the marvelous work called the Bible and the fact that it was written over a 4,000 year period by people from all variety of backgrounds and cultural experiences. Yet despite this, it has a continuity that mathematically defies the odds. All of those things are important to me, but the overriding incentive is the same reason I had when I was little boy: God is a God of promises.
I have no doubt that there are those who, even as they read this, say to themselves, "Yea? Well He never kept any promises to me!" I don't know your circumstances and I cannot speak to them. What I can speak to are the promises of God to the Hebrew people—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the great panorama of time.
Why do I believe there is a God? Why do I believe in the God of the Bible? Simply because there are Jewish people. Not merely Jewish people, but thriving Jewish communities in the ancient Promised Land—Israel.
Perhaps that sounds a bit far fetched, but think about it for a moment. Name one other nation that has been repeatedly conquered by hostile nations, has been dispersed to the four corners of the earth over a span of 2,000 years, has been subjected time and again to persecution, oppression, and genocide, and has returned to their ancestral lands, with their language, religion, and culture intact. None exists—except for the Jewish nation.
Science proves time and again through repeated models in history, that any people group removed from its homeland assimilates into the surrounding community within two generations. Some elements of the original culture may remain, like a recipe or a song, but their identity as a unique society vanishes within two generations. This has happened time and again over multiple centuries—except for the Hebrew people.
Certainly there have been Jewish communities that have assimilated and lost their Hebraic identity. It is commonplace even today. But consider this: after two thousand years, they are still an identifiable, unique people with their religion, language, and culture intact.
As if that were not miraculous enough—they are a people who since 1948 have had a nation reborn without a military takeover! The social sciences and historical records prove that this is absolutely impossible, and yet—despite all earthly wisdom, experience, and knowledge—and to the frustration of some—Israel is a reality nonetheless.
Why? Because there is a God in heaven who keeps His promises.
The earliest was to Abraham, repeated to his son Isaac, and to his grandson, Jacob:
And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." (Genesis 12:7).
God has never changed His mind.
He makes another remarkable promise through the prophet Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever." Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
Another promise from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with no cut-off date. Further, that chapter goes on to talk about Jerusalem being established, a new temple being erected and never being conquered again. Read the Bible, and you will find many more promises like this to the House of Israel and to the House of Judah.
How many times throughout the centuries have civilizations attempted their own form of Hitler's "Final Solution" to exterminate Abraham's line and rid them from the earth? Yet, they continue to survive.
How many times have they been expelled from country after country, and yet they continue to be a people before God and mankind—a testimony to His greatness and reality and His promises in Jeremiah and elsewhere in Scripture. Yet this testimony and modern miracle that still dominates the headlines goes unheeded by so many. Jerusalem has been rebuilt by God's Chosen People who have returned to their own sovereign nation. So far, no one who has raised a hand against them has prospered.
How do I know the God of the Bible is the one and only? How do I know He can be trusted? How do I know that He loves and cares for me? How do I know that the Bible is God's truth for today? How do I know that His Messiah is the only true source of eternal redemption? Because there are Jews!
Kevin Williams is a Messianic leader and regular contributor to the Pneuma Review. He lives with his wife Linda, and children, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
This article, Copyright 2002, Kevin Williams.