And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6
What’s in a Name?
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means [the father is exalted].
Leaving Ur Genesis 12
Willingness to sacrifice Isaac Genesis 22
Key Life Lesson:
Faitfulness. This is perhaps best illustrated by Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his “only son” Isaac.
Lying, not once but twice, about Sarah being his sister and not his wife. Genesis 12 & 20.
Agreeing to sleep with Hagar, his wife’s servant, to usher in the promise of God. Genesis 16
Exploring the Context:
Abraham is known as the father of our faith. It was Abraham who was counted worthy of God’s promise, not just for a son, but for a savior. The promise and hope of salvation ran and runs through Abraham and Sarah. Throughout the account of Abraham in Genesis 12-25 we see a man who has great moments of success and great moments of failure. Sound familiar? Sounds just like us!
Like most biblical people Abraham has moments of extreme success in his quest to follow and honor God and most of these are documented in the book of Genesis. Leaving Ur (Gen.12), Rescuing Lot (Gen.14), Circumcision(Gen.17), Belief in a Descedant (Gen12-21) & Sacrificing Isaac (Gen22) are a few of the highlights. In each of these occasions Abraham showed faith through his obedience to God and honored God with his decisions to follow his God at all costs. But like many of God’s greatest warriors of the fatih these times of great success in honoring God came with great failures of fear and pride, such as Lying about Sarah twice (Gen.12 & 20), & Hagar (Gen. 16).
Making It Personal:
It is easy for us to look back through Scripture and see how God fullfilled each of the promises He made to Abraham & Sarah, but seeing God’s promises wasn’t as easy as flipping pages of the Bible for Abraham. Time drug by and with each passing day the need for faith grew ever stronger. For Abraham & Sarah the realization of God’s promise of a child came 25 years after He first told them of it. This may not seem significant but when God first made the promise Abraham was already 75 years old & Sarah 65. Perhaps this is why both Abraham & Sarah laughed when they were reminded of the Promise 25 years later.
There is no doubt that Abraham’s life was marked with great successes of faith as he moved on God’s commands but we also see that his life was marked by great personal failures of faith as well. But before we are too hard on this great man of God lets take a walk in his shoes and see how we might fair. Lets look at the major movements of Abe and place yourself in the conversations, in the decisions, let’s make it personal.
1. The first command, In Genesis chapter 12 we see the first command from God to Abraham, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”
At this point Abraham is not a young man by today’s standards and he has established traditions in his life like we all do the longer we live in a place. In Ur he has a built in support system, but God has called him to leave that system. What does he say, “leave your country, your people, your family.”
Think with me for a minute how the conversation with his father went:
Abe: Hey dad. I have something I need to tell you.
Abe’s Dad: Yes Son
Abe: I need to move
Abe’s Dad: Is there another part of our lands you would like better?
Abe: Well…it’ll be a little farther than that.
Abe’s Dad: Oh?
Abe: Yeah, God told me to go someplace else and He said He’d just show me.
Abe’s Dad: Who and what?
We also know that Abraham was married to Sarah and I don’t even want to know how that conversation went.
What would you do? How would you respond? Take a moment and think about that. Would you be willing to leave it all and follow God?
2. In chapter 12 God alludes to a promise, a promise of a great nation being born through Abraham. By the time we get to chapter 15 Abraham has listened to God and had shown great faithfulness to God and shown great fear of man but here in Chapter 15 we see the fullness of God’s intentions through Abraham. We know from chapter 12 that Abraham is 75 years old, no spring chicken, so to us it would seem children are kind of out of the question. Now Abe has been traveling to and in Canaan for a while. It is here that Abe’s faith seems to waiver just a bit.
15:1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
This would seem to be a head scratcher. Here is a man who is childless as he nears 80 years old and God tells him his descendants will number like the stars in the heavens. Do I really need to explain the opportunity for faith here? How many of us would still believe in God and his promises? When was the last time God offered you the opportunity for faith and how did you do? Was the waiting too much?
A few weeks ago Cody Dougless spoke on prayer and explained waiting on God to answer prayer this way, “Sometimes God says, “yes”. Sometimes God says, “no”. Sometimes God says, “later”. How long would you wait on God? Would you wait for years as you wander homeless in a tent?
Of course we know that Abe wasn’t perfect in his faith. He had major failures along the way, but don’t we all?
To be continued…