Hall of Faith: Abraham, was tested

Growing up in church, children learn at an early age that “Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham.”

God told Abraham to get out of Canaan

Yet, Abraham did not start out with many sons. Abraham did not even begin as Abraham.

When we meet him in Genesis 12, he is known as Abram. Abram is the son of Terah and brother to Nahor and Haran. Abram marries Sarai, who is barren.

The name Abram means High Father and Abraham means Father of a multitude.

God tells Abram that “in him all the shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

The Lord tells Abram to “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation.”

Abraham and his family traveled around and headed to Canaan

At the age of 75, Abram takes his wife and nephew Lot and leaves his father’s land to travel into Canaan. When famine came upon the land, Abram and his group traveled into Egypt. At first he attempted to pass his wife off as his sister, until the Lord sent plagues upon the Pharaoh and his household. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

Can you imagine traveling around, but not knowing where you are going?

The group continue to travel again until Lot separated from the group. {Genesis 14}

Abraham and his nephew, Lot, divided their possessions and parted ways

Imagine, God tells you that you will become a great nation, however you have no children. This weighed heavily on Sarai and possibly also on Abram. To the point that Sarai gave her handmade to Abram, who gave him a son.

Abram was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to him. The Lord again made a promise of a covenant with Abram and promised “thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. “.

The Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah.

The Lord promised Abram he would be the father of many nations

When the Lord promised a child born of his wife, Sarah, even Abraham “fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” Even the promise seemed too great to Abraham.

A year later, three men pay a visit to the couple. Again the promise was made that Sarah would soon bear a son to her husband.

The men explain to Abraham that they are about the destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but Abraham bargains for the righteous. Sadly, only his nephew, Lot, and his family are saved.

Once again, when Abraham and his family journeys into foreign land he tries to pass Sarah

Sarah gave her handmaiden to Abraham

off as his sister. But, the Lord brought the truth to the attention of the ruler and Abraham admitted that while she was his father’s daughter, she was also his wife. {Genesis 20}

Finally, after decades of waiting and hearing God’s promises they come to pass. Sarah gives birth to a son, Isaac, when Abraham is 100 years of age.

Yet, he had the promised son, only to send his other son away. This could not have been easy for Abraham to send Ishmael away, not knowing if he would ever see him again.

The Lord blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son

As Isaac grew older, God once again tested Abraham. He told him to “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

This is the ultimate test of faith God is putting towards Abraham. As Hebrews 11:17 says, “By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son.”

Imagine taking that three day journey, cherishing this time with your son, not knowing if it might be the last amount of time you have with him. Yet, believing that the Lord will provide a sacrifice at some point.

Abraham’s faith was tested when God asked him to sacrifice his son

During each step of setting up the altar and tying Isaac to the altar, Abraham must have been talking with the Lord and pouring out his heart to him. However, he was faithful and trusted God.

As Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son, the angel stopped him. “Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.”

God provided a ram in Isaac’s stead

God provided a ram to be scarified in Isaac’s place. Abraham had faith and trusted God and the Lord provided for him.

When Sarah died, Abraham buried her in the cave of the Patriarch’s. Abraham married a concubine named Keturah, who bored him six sons.

Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. Abraham had eight sons from two wives and a concubine.

Abraham became the father of many nations, including many of those mentioned in the Bible. He was the father of the Israelites {Isaac}, Ishmaelites {Ishmael}, Edomites, Amalekites, Kenizzites, Midianites, and

God’s promises would be fulfilled through Isaac

Assyrians. He was uncle, through Lot, to the Moabites and Ammonites.

Abraham lived to the age of 175. He would have probably seen the births of Jacob and Esau. His sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him beside Sarah in the cave of Machpelah.

Abraham died without seeing all the promises of God fulfilled. He did not live to see his descendants as numerous as the stars, but he had faith and trusted the Lord. Hebrews 11:13-16 explains, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from

Abraham and Sarah were faithful to God

which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.“

What can we learn from Abraham?

1. Abraham was obedient to God

2. Abraham was a protector of his wife

3. Abraham was favored by God

4. Abraham had to wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled

5. Abraham bargained for the righteous

6. Abraham cared about his family

Abraham became the father of many nations

7. Abraham listened to his wife

8. Abraham questioned God’s promises

9. Abraham saw God fulfill his promise

10. Abraham was tested

11. Abraham had faith

12. Abraham did not see all of God’s promises fulfilled

Much of Abraham’s life is covered between the chapters of Genesis 11-25. God tested him, made him wait and grew his faith. In the end he passed the ultimate test of faith. Abraham was chosen by God as the “Father of many Nation’s” and God never gave up on him, even when he failed the test. This is why he is named in the Hall of Faith.

Have you had faith when God made a promise to you? Or have you questioned and tried to run ahead of God?

 

Photos by FreeBibleImages.org

 

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