: Aside from Moses, no Old Testament character is mentioned more in the New Testament than Abraham. James refers to Abraham as “God’s friend” (
), a title used of no one else in Scripture. Believers in all generations are called the “children of Abraham” (
). Abraham’s importance and impact in redemptive history is clearly seen in Scripture.
The life of Abraham takes up a good portion of the Genesis narrative from his first mention in
all the way to his death in
. Although we know much about Abraham’s life, we know little about his birth and early life.
When we first meet Abraham, he is already 75 years old.
records that Abraham’s father, Terah, lived in Ur, an influential city in southern Mesopotamia situated on the Euphrates River about halfway between the head of the Persian Gulf and the modern-day city of Baghdad. We also learn that Terah took his family and set off for the land of Canaan but instead settled in the city of Haran in northern Mesopotamia (on the trade route from ancient Babylonia about halfway between Nineveh and Damascus).
: Abraham’s story really turns interesting at the start of
. In the first three verses, we see the call of Abraham by God:
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’”
Abraham The Courageous: Called to Leave / Go (
and as a result would be/become a Blessing) –
God calls Abraham out from his home in Haran and tells him to go to a land that He will show to him.
God also makes three promises to Abraham:
1) The promise of a land of his own;
2) the promise to be made into a great nation; and
3) the promise of blessing.
These promises form the basis for what will later be called the Abrahamic Covenant (established in
and ratified in
: What did God ask Abram to leave?
What really makes Abraham special is that he obeyed God
records that, after God called Abraham,
he went “as the LORD had told him.”
: How many of us would leave behind everything that is familiar to us and just go without knowing our destination?
: The concept of family meant everything to a person living in the time of Abraham. In that time, family units were strongly knit; it was unusual for family members to live hundreds of miles apart from each other. In addition, we’re not told anything about the religious life of Abraham and his family prior to his calling.
The people of Ur and Haran were pagans who worshipped the ancient Babylonian pantheon of gods, in particular the moon god, Sin. Given that fact, it seems reasonable that Terah was a pagan idolater. There is no biblical evidence that the line of Shem (son of Noah and Abraham’s ancestor) were worshippers of the true God.
Yet somehow, by God’s providence, Abraham knew and recognized the call of Yahweh, the LORD, and obeyed willingly, not hesitantly.
Application Point #1
Abram was great because he was willing to obey. He was willing to break away from past and to move forward in faith
: Another example of Abraham’s life of faith is seen in the birth of his son, Isaac.
Abraham and Sarah were childless (a real source of shame in that culture), and yet God promised that Abraham would have a son (
This son would be not only the heir of Abraham’s vast fortune with which God blessed him but, more importantly, the heir of promise and the continuation of the godly line of Seth.
But there was one problem….Abraham and Sarah were too old to reproduce!
Abraham The Committed: Willing to Believe God for Impossible! – Genesis 15:6
Abraham believes the promise of God, and it is credited to him as righteousness (
). God reiterates His promise to Abraham in
, and his faith is rewarded in
with the birth of Isaac.
But here is the key to all that according to Hebrews
“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because
he considered him faithful who had made the promise
. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”
Application Point #2
Abraham had Faith that God was Faithful and therefore able
Before I move on to my third point, I do want and need to point out that Abraham wasn’t perfect.
III. Abraham The Limited: Flawed Superhero
To be sure, Abraham had his moments of failure and sin (as we all do), and the Bible doesn’t shrink from relating them.
We know of at least two occasions in which Abraham lied regarding his relationship to Sarah in order to protect himself in potentially hostile lands (
). In both these incidents, God protects and blesses Abraham despite his lack of faith.
We also know that the frustration of not having a child got to Abraham and Sarah as they concoct a plan to take matters into their own hands with Sarah’s servant,
The birth of
not only demonstrates the futility of Abraham’s folly and lack of faith, but also the grace of God (in allowing the birth to take place and even blessing Ishmael). The “Father of the Faithful” had his moments of doubt and disbelief, yet he is still exalted among men as an example of the faithful life.
God blesses and uses the imperfect
Transition: And then lastly, no message on Abraham would be complete without the narrative in Genesis 22.
Abraham The Committed: Willing to Sacrifice Everything
: We don’t know how Abraham reacted internally to this command.
All we see is Abraham faithfully obeying the God who was his shield (
) and who had been extraordinarily gracious and good to him up to this point.
We know the story ends with God holding back Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, but imagine how Abraham must have felt. He had been waiting decades for a son of his own, and the God who promised this child to him was about to take him away.
: Ok, this one blows my mind!
If we were to look back on our own lives, we would see the hand of God’s providence all over it. God doesn’t have to speak from burning bushes or part the sea waters to be active in our lives. God is superintending and orchestrating the events of our lives. Sometimes it may not seem that way, but Abraham’s life is evidence that it is true. Even Abraham’s failures demonstrate that God, while not protecting us from the consequences of our sin, graciously works His will in us and through us; nothing we do will thwart His plan.
Theologically speaking, Abraham’s life is a living example of the doctrine of
, justification by faith alone.
: In the final analysis, we see that Abraham was an exemplary individual, not so much in his piety or perfect life (he had his shortcomings, as we saw), but because his life illustrates so many truths of the Christian life.
Ok Dads, what can we learn from Father Abraham?
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