Abraham: The Man Who Believed God

The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. Of all the 66 books of the Bible, Genesis sheds more light on the lives of several servants of God who stands today as our examples of faith. These heroes of faith lived at certain different times and in various places. Some walked with God and pleased Him and death could not get hold of them. Some enjoyed fellowship with God only to lose it because of their disobediences while others were enjoyed His blessings. Some endured in very perplexing times and found it hard to this earthly life because this world was not worthy of them. The book of Genesis shows us several Old Testament characters who despised the odds, where strong in faith and endured as seeing Him who is invisible. These serve as example of great encouragement in our lives as we endure hardships, trials and temptations.

Abraham’s Religious Background

We are first introduced to the man Abraham (father of a multitude) as Abram (high father or exalted father) in Genesis 11:25 as one of the sons of Terah. He had brothers Nahor and Haran as well as sisters. When we consider biblical chronology, we can see that though Abraham was not the first born of Terah, he was named first among his brothers. Terah’s family commenced when he was 70 years of age, that Abram was not born till he was 130; but that he is mentioned first in Genesis 11 verse 26 is because Terah’s other children were of small importance compared with him. “These things should surely teach us that God is concerned with moral and spiritual considerations rather than those of a chronological kind” wrote the biblical commentator Hole.[1]

Abraham lived in a time when the earth was so corrupt and full of idols. Bible archaeology tells us that in Ur of the Chaldees, the moon god ‘Sin’ also called Nannar and his wife Ningal were venerated and worshipped there. The moon-god occupied the chief place in the astral triad. Its other two members, Shamash the sun and Ishtar the planet Venus, were his children.[2] Another writer has described the situation at Ur as follows,

Ur was a very advanced city and was believed to have been founded some five hundred years before the time of Abraham. Ur, could be compared to a modern city, having libraries, schools, a system of law. It was a rich city and many valuable treasures have been discovered including elaborate jewelry. The false religion of astrology which was begun at Babel was practiced there as it was in all Babylonia. Abraham’s father, Terah according to Joshua 24:2, worshiped idols. Jewish tradition refers to Terah as an idol maker. Ur was an idolatrous city worshiping many different Gods such as the god of fire, moon, sun and stars. Sin was the name of the chief idol deity of Ur. Ningal, was the wife of the moon-god, Sin, and was worshiped as a mother God in many other cities. Ur was a evil and sinful city as can be seen in the worship practices of the moon-goddess, Ningal. Every female in the city at some time in her life would have to take her turn in serving as a priestess prostitute in the temples.[3]

The worldly king Nimrod was in power and leading a rebellion against God (Genesis 11). This climaxed with the tower of Babel where God had to throw the languages into confusion so that the evil schemes of worldly men could not continue to fruition. We are also informed that Terah, Abraham’s father, was an idol worshipper despite the fact that the Lord had chosen to be the God of Shem (Gen 9:26).[4]

The life of Abraham is not clearly depicted in our Bibles but several historical books have relayed interesting stories about his youth hood. He is said to have been raised in the house of his great ancestor Shem after a conflict with his father who curved idols for the moon good and owned idol temples. There is also another incident where Abraham escaped the murderous threat of King Nimrod. The book of Jasher[5] presumes that it was during this time that the Lord had called Abraham and first spoke to him about his mission. However, we are not so sure if the facts of the book of Jasher as we have it today are quite accurate, but we will later examine the biblical accounts as have been preserved by the Holy Spirit for us.

Another writer has provided us with the following insights,

Abraham grew up in the great city of Ur in Mesopotamia. There, he was exposed to a culture unlike anything that had ever existed before in human history. In Mesopotamia, there were skilled craftsman of all kinds, people who could read and write, an elite cosmopolitan class, and of course an elaborate religious structure. Of all things Mesopotamian, Abraham just couldn’t buy the religious beliefs. Despite the fact that he had been raised in a society that knew nothing other than polytheism, it all seemed like nonsense to Abraham. In time, Abraham did more than reject the belief system of his family, friends, and society-he came to a novel and utterly unique conclusion about life. Today we call that conclusion monotheism, the belief in one supreme God who is the sole source of all existence and upon whom everything remains totally dependent. It is at this point of radical departure that the Bible tells us that God appeared to Abraham, confirmed his convictions, told him to pack his bags, and sent him on his first trip to Israel, known then as Canaan.[6]

The Call of Abraham

The New Testament writer of the book of Hebrews tells us concerning Abraham’s call, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”—Hebrews 11:8. Genesis 12:1-9 begins with a very interesting recounting of what the Lord had said to Abraham,

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 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. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite [was] then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, [having] Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

The biblical record introduces Abraham first by repeating the call of the Lord upon Abraham. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram…” We do not know when this call came to Abraham, but we are aware of the fact that this call may have come several years prior to this biblical record. Having been born when Terah was 130 years, by now Abraham was 75 years. Stephen recounts,

And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not [so much as] to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [as yet] he had no child. (Acts 7:2-5)

From this testimony of Stephen, we note that God’s call to Abraham first came when he dwelt in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was one of the earliest regions to be inhabited after the great Flood, and it was here that Abraham lived his early life. Mesopotamia, the land that is today part of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, is home to one of the oldest civilizations to have ever been discovered. It is here that the civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria existed. This land is noteworthy in the Bible because it was here that the exiles were taken captive after the destruction of Jerusalem. It was also here that Abraham had lived before he set out to the Promised Land. Genesis 11:31, “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.”

Despite God’s call to leave his family, Abraham had continued with his aging father and had dwelt in Haran. However, God had something in mind for him. It was not Haran, neither was it Lot, for in the future, God foresaw the tragedy that Lot would bring to Abraham, but because of his relationship with Lot, Abraham thought that Lot could make a good company, or rather, would be an ideal candidate for inheritance since he had no child of his own.

Many times we think like Abraham, and we falter one way or the other. When God tells us what is best for us, we look at what surrounds us and wish to finish our unfinished business and then go on to serve the Lord fully. Abraham had received God’s call to leave his entire family behind, but he still chose to linger around with a few, the most important ones in his relationship cycle, father, wife and brother’s son. Surprisingly, God did not say anything about his clinging to the family. He left him until a time when he could understand certain spiritual principles. Many times, Christians assume that if they are on a wrong path of action, the Lord should instantly strike them dead or cause a series of mishaps and misfortunes to trail behind the believer as a way of God’s displeasure in regards to the believer’s choice. But here in Genesis, we see God not doing any such things but allowing Abraham to make his own free choice as free moral agent. He had made his will plain and known to Abraham. The time should come for Abraham to make his own choices, the same way Adam and Eve made theirs in the garden.

This is a crucial truth in our lives. Genesis 6:3 had earlier told us, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” The Lord does not strive with us! He does not enforce us against our wills but through a series of events of His own making through providence, causes us to grasp the importance of making right choices and decisions that will honour Him. His spirit will not give up on us easily because He is patient and gentle, but He will keep talking to us to yield to Him before it is too late. It was after the death of his father that Abraham began to understand the importance of fulfilling his God-given call. However, as we see in the later chapters of Genesis, Abraham had not fully mastered what God actually meant when He had said, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”. This realization came only after he had separated with Lot.

Many times, we fail to see what God requires from us and the benefits of such. But, as we grow in our Christian way of life, certain things which seemed incomprehensible become clearer as we draw near to the Saviour each day of our lives. As Christians, total obedience to Christ and His Word is what makes us live a hallelujah Christian life, a life filled with victory. We should know that as we grow into maturity, God is not in a hurry but he wants patience to have its perfect work in us (James 1:4).

By Faith, Abraham Left

When the Lord calls us to come and serve Him, the call is not usually an easy call, for the life of a true disciple is that of constant sacrifice as intimated by Christ’s words, “ If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Abraham would later learn the meaning of these great words from the Master who while addressing the Jews, claimed that “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). The Lord surely does not promise us things that make us feel comfortable in this world, for we are pilgrims and sojourners in this world. His call is a holy convocation, it’s a sacred calling and the first thing it does is to separate us from what we are used to – our environs.

When the Lord called Abraham, his first admonition was to make Abraham to separate from his family and friends, his idolatrous community and the people who had no regard for the One and Only True God. The call was to make Abraham leave and go. Many times we lose sight of our true calling by concentrating on one aspect, but Abraham “when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). There was his aging father, whom we may assume was deterring him for he might have needed his care in old age. We are later informed that after that call, a few years later, his father died, and now Abraham obediently began his faith journey towards the land of the Promise. Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon entitled “The Call of Abraham” preached on July 10th, 1859 at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens made the following remarks,

Nevertheless, he left behind him all the association of his youth, the house in which he had been trained, the family with which he had been nursed, all those whom he had known and with whom he had taken sweet counsel; and he must go forth into exile from the family of his love. He left behind him his native country, and to a patriot that is no small struggle—to leave all the associations of one’s country, and bear with us one’s native songs to be sung in distant valleys. Many a man has felt keenly enough the separation from home and kindred, and next to that, the sad banishment from his native land. Besides, we all know with what inconvenience Abraham must have removed. He had a considerable property in flocks and herds, and probably had the ancestral dwelling house in which to reside. He must leave all these, and he must also leave the fair pastures wherein his flocks and his father’s flocks had been fed, and he must wend his way into the wilderness. He must give up all agricultural pursuits, renounce his vine and his fig tree, and go his way, he knew not whither, to a land which to him was as unknown as the valley of the shadow of death. Whose of you who have had to part from those you loved, who have had your hearts rent when loved ones have been torn away, can sympathize somewhat with Abraham’s trial when he left home and family, and country, and all, to go forth into an unknown land. This is the place from which he went.[7]

True obedience is manifest in the accompanying action of the believer. Abraham serves as our example of faith, for he is the father of all that believes. He is called the Father of the faithful because of his exemplary faith. He believed the Lord when he was asked to go to a land he knew nothing about. His first mission was to overcome his surrounding obstacles and venture into the unknown land, yet not alone, but with Him who said He would show him the Promised Land.

I remember when the Lord called me to full time ministry; it was not easy to leave everything that I was doing behind. At one time, I wanted to attend a fulltime theological school. Most of my pastor friends could not support such ideas, they wanted something for me that will keep me “fixed and glued” to my present state. Yet, deep inside my heart, I knew the Lord had called me to leave my current career prospect as a sculptor and artist. One senior pastor advised, “I don’t think its God who is calling you to leave everything, you are not Abraham!” I went to my workplace, told my manager that I was quitting for bible college training because that’s what I had unmistakably heard God asking me to do it. The manager told me that if I was not comfortable with my salary, they were going to hike it and make sure I remained on the job because I was the most faithful and reliable employee. Everyone had an opinion; even the church had its own opinion.

It was not an easy task! Meetings after meetings were called by concerned friends and relatives. “Who is gonna pay your fees? Where will you stay? Who will you marry when you come back from college as an unsalaried pastor? Will you not ask us to pay for your fees because we are not able to lend in a hand?” many questions bombarded me. My closest friends said that ministry had nothing to do with theological training but with the anointing. After all, I had preached and established churches, and made significant contributions to the church, why was I now bothered with God telling me to go full time in ministry and theological training as my first stop? I lost friends, and support from those I thought was too dear and so close to me that they would support the calling and work of God on my life.

Like Abraham, I had to learn that when God calls you to leave, He means exactly that! I had to learn the importance of trusting God and walking in total obedience when the Lord has spoken. It was not an easy walk in the park. At times there is a price to pay. When I got to the bible school, they demanded school fees and registration fee. I only had $10 in my pocket, so I paid all that I had and said it’s for registration fee. “Where is tuition and boarding fee?” asked the Secretary. “I don’t have but all I know is that God told me to come here and study, so He should pay the fees!” “Which church do you come from and who is your pastor?” she inquired. I mentioned the name of my church and told her that my senior pastor was actually the Principal of that college and that he would be glad to see me in class. It was Sunday evening and so I was ushered to the dormitories and told no classes until I had paid the fees.

The following morning, I rushed to the class with others, and guess who was in class! My Senior Pastor! We had not spoken about my intention to study theology or of coming to that school, but well, there I was in class. I still remember his words, “This ne I know, he is from my church but how he got here I don’t know. Ernest, have you paid your tuition fee? If you have not paid, there is no room for you at this school!” I noticed his seriousness but went on to explain to him that I had no money but God who sent me to school would pay the fees, I had just acted in faith. “Then go back to the dorms and stay there until your God pays your fees because here we need money.” I picked my books and went back to the dorms. Did I pray? No. I had no reason to. He had said it and I had done my part and now it was His time to act.

A week passed by and nothing happened, the second week came and while I was busy studying in the dorms, someone was sent from the school office with a message, “Tell Ernest to come immediately for classes because someone in the United States has paid all his tuition fees for the whole program.” Oh how glad I was that I had obeyed the Lord. My tuition was paid, and I was no longer worried about fees for the next 3 years at college. The Lord had proven Himself to be faithful and since then, I have never looked back or doubted Him when He leads. I have learned that where the Lord’s leading is, there is no want of His provision.

Abraham did that and the Lord rewarded him for his faith and obedience. When the Lord tells us to leave, we should do as Abraham did, he left and went! How many times have we failed in ministry simply because we feel we cannot just let go of these things that surrounds us? We are used to many opinions and advice but do we not know that the Word of the Lord should prevail amidst all the advice and counselling we get? I am glad Abraham chose to obey. We need to do the same in each aspect of our lives and ministries. When God gives His throne words that requires action on our part, we should fear and reverently obey the King ss the writer has penned, “Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?” (Ecclesiastes 8:4).

 Typical Examples in Abraham’s Life

Abraham is an imposing figure whose presence adorns the pages of both Testaments of the Bible. He is mentioned no fewer than seventy-three times in the New Testament. Paul commends those who “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Romans 4:12). Through his faith and obedience, the founder of the Hebrew nation was called the “friend of God” (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). We first learn that Abraham’s greatest test in life was going to a land he did not know.

To help us understand the importance of this great test in Abraham’s life, let’s have a look at Ur.

Abram (as he was known initially) lived in the city called Ur, in the southern region of Mesopotamia. Quite possibly, Ur was the greatest city of the ancient world at that time. It is estimated that some twenty-five thousand people lived within the city limits (walls), with as many as two hundred thousand in the outlying area. Two-story homes with ten to twenty rooms lined the narrow, twisting streets. In the northwest segment of the city was the imposing temple of the moon god, Nanna (also called Sin), in which Abram’s ancestors almost certainly had worshiped (cf. Joshua 24:2).[8] The regional soil was rich, producing abundant foodstuffs that were traded to neighboring nations. Ur was a prosperous centre indeed. Abraham himself was very wealthy—in gold, silver, and livestock (Genesis 13:2). He had more than 318 servants who had been born in his house (Genesis 14:14). This background information provides real flavour to his decision to leave this plush environment for the rigorous life of a nomad.

What he only had was the Word of the Lord as his assurance while he sojourned among the peoples looking for a permanent dwelling. It may not be another Promised Land for us, but it can be some ministerial calling that God has given us to go and preach in a foreign land or ethnic group. Do we have the assurance and conviction that He who called us is faithful and can do it? (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Abraham believed and went, judging that God had a better place for him than his nomadic life.

 Abraham and Lot

Genesis chapter 19 tells us the story of Lot and Abraham. There were better lands to go with better pastures for their animals when there was strife between their shepherds. Lot used his eyes to see the goodness of the world (Genesis 13:10) and we see him later pitching his tents towards Sodom (Genesis 13:12) where the men were exceedingly wicked in God’s eyes with a pending doom and destruction from the Lord. But because he used his natural eyes and lacked spiritual foresight, it was only after Abraham interceded for him that he was spared. When we compare Lot and Abraham, we see that one was led by the word of the Lord (Genesis 13:14-17) while the other was led by his natural senses. In other words, Abraham was led by faith because he looked expectantly to see the Lord performing His word which he had promised him and thus, Abraham in all his dealings looked forward to the Lord. Lot on the contrary, had no word from the Lord and could not generate faith that would make Him see God in his situations. Is it any surprise that Lot almost failed to recognize angels and saw them as just men, though his spiritual senses may yet have helped him to perceive that the angels were different men? Sadly, in contrast t Abraham, we find Lot now owing a house in Sodom showing his permanent residence in Sodom and as one of the judges of the city for he sat on the city gates.

 Abraham and the Promise

As we continue to read the Genesis record of Abraham, we learn that he was not someone who lived in a different world than ours. We may have lived at various times and in various civilizations, but old earth has not changed and the worldly systems are still the same. In our day as Abraham’s day, couples needed children the same way they need them today. Abraham had married his half sister Sarah, and had spent most of their years together in great anticipation for the precious gift of a child to bless their marriage. We are informed in archaeology that children played a great role in establishing one’s family and posterity. Abraham as a young man would have dreamt and might have cherished the idea of having an heir to his inheritance, one who would come from his loins. Sarah would have been a proud mother as she nursed the child she would have borne for her beloved husband Abraham.

Days turned into weeks, then months and later, years without the cry of a child in Abram’s family. What became first as a joyful and happy marriage ceremony became overshadowed with negativity, and joy became to fade in the family. The couple needed a child. They might have tried all other available channels to help them bear a child but all to no avail. Old age was fast approaching and soon, it dawned on the couple that Abram’s wife of many years, his sweet darling Sarah was barren. All hopes for Abraham were shattered. He had longed and yearned for a day he would have named a son heir of his inheritance. Maybe he had dreams of naming the baby after himself or after one of his great ancestors. But the other side of reality plunged him into a state of hopelessness especially each day as he watched his chief servant, Eliezer of Damscus, taking care of his master’s business. Would he certainly be Abram’s heir?

There was in God’s call and promise to him of a greater nation: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” (Genesis 12:3). There in God’s call, He had hinted on the fact that out of Abraham, He was going to make a great nation. Yet in Genesis 15, we find the aging Patriarch in the midst of a distressing situation. He needed an heir and not some slave from Damascus to inherit is life’s work. There are some moments in life when we become so conscious of our physical limitations that they only engender in us doubts, worries and stress. We are not alone, Abraham was once there but he managed to overcome the obstacles and we can as well learn from him. Moses records,

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)

Abraham in his greatest adversity, when all hope was lost and life seemed to be ending for him, there in his greatest moment of despair, he had an experience that made a difference. Many times in our lives, we can become so preoccupied with cares and worries of this life that they drain our spiritual vitality and strength to do what the Lord has called us to do. But we should not forget the admonition of the Psalmist David when he wrote, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).

When the Lord appeared to Abraham, Abraham was quick to let the desires of his heart be known unto the Lord. We are told in Proverbs 12:24, “The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” Again we are exhorted to ask and we will receive (Matthew 7:7). Many times, we keep our unuttered prayers and requests hidden in our hearts instead of casting all our cares on Him who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). But here, we see Abraham mastering the courage to share with the lord the burning issues of his heart. “And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.”

It is interesting to see here that firstly, Abraham addressed his prayers to God and God alone! This is a profound truth. Our prayers should come to be addressed to the God of the whole earth who only can grant our prayers. Abraham was specific in his request. He did not mince his words and run around beating the bushes. He had a burning issue in his heart and God should know of it that it’s eating his heart. “There is a servant in my house about to inherit my possessions! What are you going to give me seeing I am childless? You have not given me any child and this one from Damascus is sure going to be my heir. God this is not my heart’s desire, I need something better, and what will Ye give me!”

Many times as believers, we address our prayers to the wrong person and expect God to move on our behalf. No! Not Abraham. His eyes were watching God. He had his gaze fixed on Him and directed his request to Him. “And Abram said, Lord GOD…” Many times in our generation, we have moved to call the God of prophet so and so, we have put our faith in the men of God more than God Himself. Rarely can you hear believers saying, “I am going to call upon the name of the Lord!” but they call upon the name of their pastor and church leaders. We have often seen a kind of a mystical rebirth in the churches. You have to own your church leaders photo or anything that came directly from direct contact with him: bangles, holy water, anointing oil, magazine, handkerchief and all other such things. They are believed to be the point of contact between the believer and the men of God who functions as God’s sanctioned priest or prophet of the hour.

People are concerned with building and establishing relationships with these deified preachers in a new wave of Pentecostal and charismatic idolatry. Jesus have not taught us to follow His people, rather, He said follow me! (c.f. Matthew 4:19; Matthew 16:24). Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest who have entered heaven by His own blood unlike the Old Testament priests under the Aaronic and Levitical priesthood. We should approach the throne of grace in Christ Jesus and not by any other human element or channel “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”(1 Timothy 2:5). All other preachers who stand on this gap by whatever spirit they use are thieves and liars. As believers, we have been granted audience with the King on an individual basis, based on the blood of Christ and his free grace. There is no one else who can stand on behalf of us and God. The Bible has no such strange teachings but lies in spiritual manipulation, mind propaganda and hypnotism.

Abraham addressed his prayer request to God and the Lord GOD heard him and responded. “And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” The apostle Paul wrote,

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:17-21)

Abraham believed before God and God hearkened. We need to come back to that place in our Christian lives where we lose sight of anything but God in our prayers. Even Jesus, when asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, he told them to pray saying, “Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9-13). The greatest thing in our prayers is not the amount of words and church verbosity enshrined in our words, but who we address in our prayers. Abraham addressed God. He believed God, and God who calls things that do not exist as though they exist spoke into Abraham’s situation. Hi situation changed the very instant the Lord spoke a word into his life and believed it. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

It was never heard in his day that an old barren woman could bear a child and a man as old as he would actually reignite fresh sparks of hope for an heir. Hope was long gone, but faith was still available to Abraham when he heard the Lord speaking. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). All evidence pointed to the deadness of Sarah’s womb as the reason for bareness. God did not prescribe a formula for rejuvenating Sarah’s womb and prepare her for child bearing. But we know that where the word of the King is, there is power. When God speaks, the life force, the dynamism that is released by His word into the lives of men and women is enough to bring the desired transformation.

He believed against hope. He did not get shaken in his faith because he looked at the old and frail Sarah. The Lord had spoken; He had declared it and it was going to come pass. Abraham, having finished his discourse with the Lord, went and shred the news with his wife, who at first (as the biblical record show), could not believe that it was her who was actually going to be the mother of the promised son. We see both husband and wife conniving together to give Hagar to Abraham so that she could bear a son for Abraham. Yes, the counterfeit plan worked (Genesis 15), but here we learn another crucial lesson.

God was specific in supplying Abraham with his much needed request. However, God felt no obligated to give specific details of the mother who would bear the child because He knew Abraham was married to Sarah. Because Abraham had never seen such a miraculous birth, he might have reasoned as well with Sarah that it might have to be another lady and not Sarah herself. The mistake that Abraham did was to listen to the wife and acting accordingly without consulting God who had given the promise. Many times the Lord asks us to do certain things but instead of us going back to Him to find clarification for what we have not understood, we engage people in our affairs who seem to give brilliant ideas and yet, they are out of touch with God’s perfect will for us. It should be clear that Abraham’s act as well as that of Sarah is by no means a sign of unbelief, but an act of faith on their part, howbeit, acting foolishly.

 Problems Along the Journey to the Promised Land

Because Abraham had received a word from the Lord to leave his country and people, we may be tempted to assume that all was going to be well along the way. No hardships, no trials, no temptations but a hallelujah victorious march with a claim and take it attitude because the Lord God had spoken it. As a prophet (Genesis 20:7), we would expect him to call fire to come down from heaven and clear his path for a smooth sailing. This is what we would normally expect from a man of God in our generation. But on the contrary, Abraham’s journey to the Promised Land was not what one would eventually desire.

After the glory of God appeared to him, charging the patriarch to leave his land and kinsmen and go into a land to which he would be directed (Acts 7:3), Abraham packed his possessions and took his wife, Sarai, his father, Terah, and his nephew, Lot; he made his way northward (some five hundred fifty miles) until he came to Haran. Abraham sojourned at Haran until his father died at the age of 205 (Genesis 11:32). Travelling during those days was not an easy task especially for long journeys. We are informed that during the Old Testament period, people frequently travelled on foot, while the rich and wealthy ones could afford transportation by camels, donkeys and horses.

If a person was travelling on foot, he would walk approximately 20 miles per day. If he used a donkey, again he would cover approximately 20 miles per day. Donkeys were used for transporting goods, and were not used for riding except by women, children, or those too weak to walk. Horses would usually travel between 25 to 35 miles per day. If people changed horses throughout the day, they could travel greater distances. As a pack animal, a camel can carry as much as 1,000 lbs. and travel almost 30 miles per day. As a saddle animal, a camel can take its rider as far as 100 miles a day. Horse-drawn chariots covered distances similar to horses alone, and were used by royalty or wealthy people.

From Ur to Haran, approximately 550 miles of road travel. There were no cars or planes. The roads were rough and travels were made using the modes I have just stated above. There is Abraham at 75years of age, with an old father and 318 servants born in his house, others are not recorded, but we assume that they were more. Herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and packs of camels among other animals accompanied them. The wealthy Abraham had to travel from one place to another. It was not an easy walk. There was need for sacrifice – sacrifice of time, resources and energy going to the Promised Land because the Lord had spoken.

When he reached Haran, he dwelt there waiting for his next move towards the Promised Land. It was while he camped in Haran that his father Terah died. After the death of Terah, the Lord renewed his promise to Abram, who was seventy-five at the time, and the patriarch made his way in a south-westward direction until he reached Canaan. His first stop was at Shechem, about thirty-five miles north of Jerusalem. Here the Lord appeared to him and confirmed his promise—that this land would belong some day to his offspring (Genesis 12:7). Abraham built an altar and worshiped God.

Abraham did not abandon his journey because his father had died. He did not thought of going back to Ur because there was no good place for him and his servants as well as his herds and flocks. He persevered. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:15-16). Instead, he built an altar and worshipped the Lord God because he had his eyes set on Him. Many times we forget the Lord in the midst of our callings and concentrate on the mission and neglect our relationship with God. But there at Shechem, Abraham erected an altar, and worshipped the Lord, a symbolic declaration of faith that the Lord was going to be worshipped in Canaan. There the Lord appeared to him and confirmed his promises which renewed his strength. The prophet Isaiah tells us,

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Yes, those that waits upon the Lord! Where is your faith? Where is your trust? Is it in man or God? Abraham waited upon the Lord, he believed on Him and erected an altar as a sign of his worship. It does not matter what our callings and area of gifting are, prayer should be a vital part of man’s life. It should be as natural as breathing. We need to pray. Praying is a sign that our eyes are fixed on Christ. It tells us we still have our gaze on the Invisible One even when all else screams at us that He doesn’t exist. When we wait for the Lord, our strength is renewed and our spiritual vitality energized. The Holy Spirit will continue to fill us daily and lead us in His paths.

He then moved to an area near Bethel, some twelve miles due south; again, he paused to worship (Genesis 12:8). Meandering on southward, toward that region known as the Negeb, Abraham encountered hard times—a famine gripped the land—and he elected to migrate further to the southwest into Egypt. Here the patriarch yielded to weakness. As he and Sarai neared the land of the Pharaohs, they concocted a deceptive plan to protect Abram’s life in the event that the king wanted Sarai for his harem. Sure enough, when the pharaoh sought the beautiful sixty-five-year-old lady, the Lord “plagued” the king, who subsequently discerned the cause and asked Abraham to leave the land.

Abraham’s journey to the land of promise was filled with difficulties more than what we can imagine, but he kept his eyes on the Lord. He had lost his father and now, his wife was the envy of kings. Pharaoh and Abimelech wanted her as their harem and Abraham had to conceive deceitful schemes to have his life spared. How often at times do we forget to trust the Lord for protection and come up with our own schemes as Abraham did! But the Lord is gracious. He continued to help Abraham to learn to trust Him and take Him at His word. He had earlier appeared to him and said, “Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1).

God has nowhere promised that our lives as believers will always have a smooth sailing. There are enemies on our side and terrors in our path. The devil, the world and the flesh lies subtly for us hoping to lure us into their claws. We have doubts within, fears and temptations. Many times, we are tempted to forget that the Lord is with us. A confederation of demonic hordes wants to sweep through our lives. Like Abraham, we end up conniving means of personal escape and yet, the Lord has better plans for us. We should remember that at this point in time, Abraham, though a firm believer in the Lord was still growing in his faith. Spiritual growth is not a one day miraculous process that comes through the laying on of hands or much praying as we have often heard from the religious people. It’s a process and the believer has to go through thin and thick to mature his faith in the Lord.

Even though Abraham had faith in the Lord, he had to learn to trust him completely. The book of Proverbs tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). To trust is to entirely rely, have confidence in or bank your faith without fear in the Lord. Fear is the greatest hindrance to a trustful relationship with God. We see how Abraham feared for his life and at that moment failed to trust the Lord to protect him from the kings who would want to have his wife. To Abimelech, God said he was actually the one who had kept him from having Sarah as his harem (Genesis 20:3-7). Even though Abraham failed to trust the Lord completely by this time, yet the Lord did not forsake or abandon him. He worked behind the scenes to ensure Abraham’s protection. The sovereign Lord, the God of the whole earth protects his people. He is gracious and compassionate and understands us even in our weaknesses. Because of His grace, our lives are spared! “[It is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Hagar and Ishmael

Another great test came for Abraham when he took Hagar to bear him a son. The Lord had promised that he would bear a son and from the Lord’s time frame, the fulfilment of the promise was to come fifteen years later, but because Abraham and Sarah might had thought of an imminent fulfilment, they tragically made a mistake by including Hagar in the plan. It is surprising that when the couple connived of their scheme, the Lord never spoke anything about it. We do not know why the Lord was silent. We may be tempted to say that God should have acted to show His will that Ishmael was not the perfect will of God. However, God in his wisdom simply chose to remain silent.

How often do we wonder why after doing our things without consulting God, God simply remains silent? I remember listening to one other preacher teaching his congregation that if God is not pleased with something, He acts instantly and tells you that’s wrong. This preacher argued that the Holy Spirit forces the believers to do the will of God each and every moment because we are the righteousness of God in Christ. He even went on to claim that all who makes mistakes in their Christian life have never truly meet God who is perfect. Well, I can’t remember whatever he said, but I tend to see that the bible tells us of men and women whom God has used as weak ones, who committed sin and constantly failed apart from His grace and strength. On our own we can do nothing. The secret of their power was with God. This is the reason why we need God in our lives to supply us with His Spirit and power each day to lead us to victory. We are weak and feeble but He alone is the Mighty and Strong One, hence, our exhortation to trust him and not to lean on our understanding.

The greatest cause of failure in most Christians is impatience. We live in a generation where everything is becoming instant. The advancement of technology has made it possible for mankind to achieve instantly certain things that would have taken weeks or even years to accomplish. Even in the Church, perseverance and endurance have lost their flavour. We have long forgotten what it means to have the patience of Job (James 5:11). When we listen to people’s prayers nowadays, we often hear such phrases as ‘right now oh God!’, ‘I decree and declare that I have it now’, ‘I am not leaving here today without you giving that to me oh God!’ ‘Claim it and take it’, ‘It’s yours now’, etc, etc. But when we look at the way Jesus taught about prayer, asking and receiving, He never hinted and suggested such fanaticism in prayers. His attitude was that of asking and pleading as is evidenced by his words, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). When he spoke about prayer, He sometimes used parables to exemplify what he meant. For example, in Luke 18, he spoke of the parable of the widow and the unjust judge and concluded by saying, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke18:8). Jesus words thus implied that prayer is not an easy task of claiming and taking but of perseverance. We need to be patient and learn to trust God even when He seems to be not working on our behalf.

Abraham and Sarah wanted the baby immediately! “Daddy, if God has spoken and you are absolutely sure about it, let us have Hagar and see the son being born before our deaths”. They may have reasoned so and convinced each other. After all, the Lord had not been specific about the woman who would bear the child for Abraham! Hagar was given to Abraham, and she conceived and bore a son Ishmael. At long last, joy was in the couple’s house; a son was born in Abraham’s family and no longer will servants became heirs to his property. However, that joy was short lived as Hagar began to look down upon Sarah and family conflict emerged. Sarah reasoned that Hagar must go. It brought sorrow to Abraham and brought distress to the aging Patriarch who was now close to a hundred years. At last, Abraham realized that God had a better solution despite not having consulted Him earlier on Hagar. After consultation with the Lord, the Lord reasoned that Ishmael was not the promised son, but rather that Sarah, the once old and barren woman, out of her was going to come the promised seed, Isaac.

Is anything too hard for the LORD?

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable” (Hebrews 11:11-12). Imagine the dilemma of Abraham: “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 18:18). He had for once thought that Ishmael was the one, and sending away his son and mother whom he had thought would be his heir should have definitely crushed his spirit. Abraham was human; he had feelings and emotions like us. He suffered pain and distress in the same way we do. Many times when we get the tests of our lives, we think we are the only humans on planet and are experiencing new things which some people have never faced. But I have some good news. You are not the first to be in that situation no matter how hopeless it seems to be! There were thousands, and even millions in similar situations, but those who overcame were those who set their eyes on the Lord. God intervened, and Ishmael was sent away. Moses records,

Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. (Genesis 17:17-22)

There was calmness and peace once again in Abraham’s family life as the Lord renewed His promises. “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [shall] her name [be]. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother] of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” (Genesis 17:15-16) To Abraham he had said, “As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee” (Genesis 17:4-6).

There was a divine exchange of names. The Lord changed the couple’s names in anticipation for kings that would come from the couple. The Lord renewed the covenant and the promise.

And they said unto him, Where [is] Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard [it] in the tent door, which [was] behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah [were] old [and] well stricken in age; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. (Genesis 18:9-15)

The LORD came and spoke with Abraham prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. It was business first as the angels enjoyed their meal with Abraham. “Where is Sarah your wife?” the Lord had asked. The Bible makes it clear when it describes the condition of the couple: “Now Abraham and Sarah [were] old [and] well stricken in age; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women” (Genesis 18:11). The promise for a son came when Abraham was in his 80s. He had thought that age was catching up with him and had thought of a better plan by taking Hagar. But the Lord had to wait for more years until the couple was “old and well stricken in years” and all evidence and hope for a child was gone for it had “ceased with Sarah after the manner of women”. Oh the doing of the Lord!

When Abraham and Sarah realized that they can no longer bear a child in old age, they both laughed and looked on themselves. They looked at their abilities and they laughed. Shall a child be born to them that are old? In man’s world it’s impossible but the word impossible is not part of God’s vocabulary. In response to their laughter, the Lord asked a heart searching question, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” We are also reminded of Christ’s words, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). To Mary, the angel proclaimed, “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). “Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:26-27).

What manner of situations do we have in our lives? What manner of trouble surrounds us? Where is our hope when everything around us crumples? The Lord is asking today as He asked then, “Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Our hardships are not God’s hardships. He is the Lord, the God of al; flesh, the lord Almighty. The barren wombs can receive strength to conceive when the Lord speaks. The mountains can skip and melt at His presence. Demonic foes, sickness and disease bows down to the God of all flesh. Old age bows down at the throne words. When the Lord speaks, His powerful words bring about the intended and desired results by God and none can ask him, “What are you doing?” We need to take the Lord at His word and believe Him to move for us as Abraham and Sarah did. There are times in our lives when with our understanding, we assume that God is no longer able. Some situations and hardships are beyond our understanding since they baffles our logic. We seek to understand why, and think how we as humans would have worked our way out of our adversities. But there is the Lord! There is nothing too hard for Him.

Abraham learned that. He understood that and believed God for it. At last, he had the confidence that God was able to give him a son through Sarah. Even though they had previously laughed, they were strong in faith judging faithful He who had promised. Exactly in accordance with God’s time and promise, Isaac was born. The child of promise finally arrived. Abraham was one hundred and Sarah was ninety at the time. The family moved to the southern-most region of the land and dwelt at Beersheba. After “many days” passed, Jehovah proceeded to put the patriarch to a “test.” The Lord instructed Abraham to take Isaac to Mt. Moriah, and there offer the lad as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1ff). The patriarch proceeded to the appointed place, reasoned that God was able to raise Him from the dead, and likewise, the Lord intervened and provided an animal sacrifice in Isaac’s place. We later learn that Abraham’s beloved Sarah died at the age of 127 (Genesis 23:1), and the grand old man of faith tenderly buried her in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron, which he had purchased for four hundred shekels of silver (Genesis 23:3ff). Abraham lived for another thirty-eight years during which time he married Keturah, who bore him six sons (Genesis 25:1-6). Finally, the patriarch died at the age of 175, and was “gathered to his people”—this beautiful phrase implying a reunion with faithful loved ones (Genesis 25:7-8).

 Summary

This has been a most abbreviated survey of the life of one of the greatest characters of Old Testament history. A consideration of some of these episodes holds a wonderful treasure of meaningful lessons. In a world where most Christians today seem to be running to all four corners of the globe seeking for help in all forms, the life of Abraham teaches us that there is no greater joy than having a relationship of faith and trust in the Lord. As Christians, our eyes should be set on Christ, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). In the midst of our trying times, whether physical bareness and hopelessness as a result of prolonged time of want, we should not look to our abilities but rather to God’s ability. The Lord is gracious and merciful. Many times we want things as fast as we want them, but God has always better plans for us. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us God’s word, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Faith is an essential component in having a relationship with God. But faith grows and it has to be tested to become strong. In the same manner that God put Abraham’s faith to the test; believers should likewise expect testings of their faith. When we are tested, we shall come up refined as gold. One of the fruit of the Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:22-23). As Abraham watched God at work in his life, he later learned the importance of patience. Being patient does not mean we are weak, it means we are eagerly awaiting God’s best for our lives. God in His infinite wisdom know what is best for His children and many times we falter by wanting things our own way and we end up suffering the consequences as Abraham and Sarah did.

The patriarch was a man of conviction. Though his forbearers had been idolaters (Joshua 24:2), he was unswayed by family ties; rather, he cast his lot with the One who created him. How unlike so many today who measure their religious activity by what father or mother believed. To Abraham, truth was more important than a genealogical connection. Faith was thicker than blood! This makes sense only in the light of an eternal reality. Abraham was a man of faith, or trust. Frequently the term “faith” suggests the idea of trust, and this aspect of the word aptly describes Abram. Because of his trust in Jehovah, the patriarch left his homeland and kinsmen, he journeyed close to a thousand miles (“not knowing where he went”—Hebrews 11:8), pursuing the will of the Lord, with only the promise of arriving at a destination that God would show him (Acts 7:3). No map, no radar was available—only the benevolent hand of his Maker. When years passed, and both he and Sarah were old, and still the promised child had not come, he did not “weaken in faith,” he did not “waver through unbelief,” but rather, he “waxed strong through faith” and glorified God. He trusted that Jehovah could, and would, overcome any natural obstacle (Romans 4:18-21).

And when the “seed” child finally arrived, and he was called upon to sacrifice the lad, still he trusted his God, the giver of life, knowing that even if the sacrificial slaying was consummated, Jehovah was able to raise Isaac from the dead, and so fulfill his promise (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham was a person of resilience. On two occasions, because of his fear, he yielded to overt deception regarding his relationship with Sarah (see Genesis 12:10ff; 20:1ff). Though the Scriptures do not explicitly state it, doubtless the patriarch was subsequently ashamed that he had transgressed the will of the “God of truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4). He might well have thrown up his hands in despair, but he embraced Heaven’s pardon and persevered. How many today have abandoned their faith because they have been overcome by the shame of their failures? Such ought not to be.

Abraham provides a magnificent example of what constitutes true loyalty to God. His path was charted generally by a course of unwavering obedience. His was not a “faith-only” philosophy. When he was called by the Lord, he obeyed, walking by faith and not by sight (Hebrews 11:8). The word “obeyed” in the text literally means to “hear under.” It implies a recognition of the authority of the speaker, and reflects a willingness to submit thereto. James declared that when Abraham offered up Isaac, he was “justified by his works [obedience].” The patriarch’s “faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made complete.” The inspired writer argues that it was only in his obedience that it could be said that “Abraham believed God” and that the Lord thus accounted him as righteous. It was in this very context that James affirmed: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).

Having looked at the example of Abraham, suffice it to say then that the only way a believer continues to have victory in Christ is through faith and obedience to the Lord. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5). The apostle Paul said, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1). If we are to follow the Lord, we should continue to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). Our eyes should be watching God. Abraham removed his eyes from watching his hopeless situation. He refused to keep sight of the bareness of Sarah and her old age, but chose to see Him who does wonders. May God grant that we keep our eyes fixed at Him and not our present predicaments!

Notes:

[1] F.B Hole Commentary on the New Testament and Selected Books of OT. The Word Software

[2] “Sîn, moon god of Semitic origin, worshiped in ancient Middle Eastern religions. One of the principal deities in the Babylonian and Assyrian pantheons, he was lord of the calendar and of wisdom. The chief centers of his worship were at Harran and at Ur, where he was known as Nanna.” (encyclopedia.com, Sîn)

[3] http://www.bible-truth.org/GEN12.HTM, accessed on 26-12-2014

[4] See Joshua 24:2-14 wherein Joshua narrates how the Lord called Abraham and the children of Israel to serve Him among the nations of the world.

[5] While the authenticity of the book of Jasher is doubtful since some see it as a post biblical composition, hence apocryphal, readers interested in learning of pseudepigrapha and apocryphal works can find some interesting facts in the book. It is downloadable from http://www.ccel.org/a/anonymous/jasher/home.html. However, my use of the book in this work does not in any way support its inspiration but to help the reader understand the Jewish mindset of the biblical Abraham.

[6] http://www.torah.org/learning/basics/israel-nutshell/chapter1.html, accessed on 26-12-2014

[7] http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0261.htm

[8] Some historical books seem to suggest that Terah’s family used to earn their living from selling idols which Terah made. However, there is no single verse in the bible that explicitly mentions that, but the testimony of several historical books and archaeological discoveries have proved that. If that was the case, then it’s likely he might have made idols for the people and the moon god Nanna or sin.

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