Abraham, A Man of Faith

 

HIS LIFE

(Abraham was first called Abram. He was born in Ur of the Chaldees. Ur of the Chaldees was in Mesopotamia on the river Belias. It was  a trade center.  He was a descendent of Shem, who was a son of Noah.

Abraham was the son of Terah, the uncle of Lot, and the husband of Sarai. “Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldees to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there (Genesis 11:31NIV)”.

From Acts 7:2 we learn that God called Abram before he went to Haran. From Joshua 24:2 we learn Terah and his family were idolaters previous to Abram’s call.  Terah was en-route to Canaan when they came to Haran. It seems that Terah was converted to Abram’s God and they remained in Haran (notes from Dake’s Bible).

HIS CALL

"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." (Genesis 12:1-3)

Abram was obedient and left for Canaan (today Israel) with his family, including his wife Sarai (later renamed Sarah) and his nephew Lot. He traveled down through the land, Shechem, Bethel, Ai, and right south toward the Negev. During that time The Lord appeared to him and told him that,"To your offspring I will give this land." (Genesis 12:7).

HIS JOURNEY

Abram's (Abraham) journeys from Ur of the Chaldea are to Haran.  Those traveling with him include his wife Sarai (Sarah), his father Terah and nephew Lot (Genesis 11).  Abraham and family live in Haran for about five years.  After Terah dies in Haran God tells Abraham to travel to Canaan (Land of Palestine or the Promised Land).  Abraham leaves Haran and settles in Shechem, where God promises to give his descendants the land (Genesis 12:6-7).  

Abraham went from Shechem to Egypt due to a great famine affecting the land (Genesis 12:10).  He fears, however, that if the Egyptians learn he is married to Sarah they will kill him in order to take her.  Abraham avoids death by telling the Egyptian authorities the lie that he was only Sarah's brother (Genesis 12:11-20). 

He traveled down through Shechem, Bethel, Ai, and right south toward the Negev. During that time The Lord appeared to him and told him that, "To your offspring I will give this land." (Genesis 12:7).

HIS SACRIFICE

“The key to Abraham's life is the word "Separation." He was from the first to last a SEPARATED MAN. Separated from his fatherland and kinsfolk; separated from Lot; separated, as a pilgrim and stranger, from the people of the land; separated from his own methods of securing a fulfillment of the promises of God; separated from the rest of mankind by special sorrows, which brought him into closer fellowship with God than has ever been reached by man; separated to high and lofty fellowship in thoughts and plans, which God could not hide from him (F.B. Meyer).”

1.  Abraham was a man of faith and obedience. He was a man of faith because he acted upon God’s calling and was completely obedient to his authority. That faith and obedience is evident as we read Genesis chapters 12 through 25.

Great faith is not only trusting God but also being obedient to his call. Abraham’s faith is documented in the New Testament in Hebrew 11:8-12:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[a] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 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.”

2.  Abraham obeyed God immediately and at all times. This is first documented in Genesis 12:4: “So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”

3.   Abraham’s faith and obedience under any and all circumstances is noted in Genesis chapter 22 as we read the account of the sacrificial offering of Isaac, Abraham’s son, by Abraham.  God spoke to Abraham and commanded him to take his son to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice.  This was God’s test of Abraham’s faith.  Let’s read Gen 22:1 and 2 (NIV):

“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Genesis 22:3 -8 reads “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.”

4.  He was also a man of peace who sacrificed his own needs for the sake of harmony with nephew Lot and his herdsmen as noted in Genesis 13:5-12:

“Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. Quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left. “Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:  Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.”He was a man who made altar sacrifices to God often.

5.  When Abram arrived in Canaan at Sichem, after the Lord again appeared to him saying, "To your descendants I will give this land"; "And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him" (Gen. 12:7).

Then upon moving south to near Bethel he again "built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord" (Gen. 12:8).

After his stay in Egypt caused by the famine in Canaan, returned to the altar site near Bethel, "And there Abram called on the name of the Lord" (Gen. 13:4).

Later, when he and Lot had separated and Abram moved to the region of Hebron, he "built an altar there to the Lord" (Gen. 13:18).

While he was still in the land of the Philistines, God tested him, telling him to go to Moriah and offer Isaac for a burnt offering. Upon their arrival, "Abraham built an altar there" (Gen. 22:9).

 HIS BLESSINGS

Abraham was called a friend of God.

Jesus said in John 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

James 2:23 23 reads, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. (RSV)

Isaiah 41:8 8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; (RSV)

Abraham was wealthy.

“So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.  From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.”  Genesis 13:1-4

Abraham was considered by God to be righteous.

James 2:23 23 reads, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God.

Galatians 3:6 reads “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

 Abraham and Sarah produced a child when Sarah was beyond the age of fertility and barren.

The fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham and Sarah is revealed in Genesis 21:12:  “Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

 Abraham was provided a substitute for Isaac when he offered him.

 Gen 22:9-12: “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

THE RESULTS

Today we have seen how God, in His faithfulness, called Abram so that he might become the father of a nation through which the promised Savior would come into the world. That was why God promised Abram saying, "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." (Gen. 12:2, 3)

Abraham received abundant blessings because he obeyed God. His blessings and the promises of God concerning his blessings have been passed down to his descendants and those of us who are heirs of salvation through Jesus Christ.