Old Testament V.I.P.’s: Abraham

trust God when He says or promises something that doesn’t make sense humanly.  The thing is, we can’t reason as though God is not in the picture

By Faith.  Notice those two words.  By faith. They appear several dozen times in this chapter.  By faith so and so did this and that. In other words, like James tells us, a living, breathing, real faith is seen in action.  Our faith will produce a certain kind of action. That action is simply defined as obedience. Obeying God requires trusting Him.  

 

Illustration:  Evan jumping in my arms.  Reese jumping in my arms. I told them I will catch them.  Their action will be determined by what they believe. If they do not believe me they will not jump like I told them to.  If they do believe me then they will jump like I told them to. Following the command is contingent upon faith. Faith enables obedience.  

 

Recap:  The Flood, Tower of Babel, Dispersion, Abram (Abraham)

 

Abraham:  

  • the man whose faith is the standard for the rest of Scripture
  • God changed his name from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of many”)
  • The father of the Jewish people
  • God made a covenant with him promising to make him:
    • Into a great nation
    • To bless all people of the earth through him
    • Give him a great name
    • Give the land of Canaan (Israel) to him and his descendants (Israelites)

 

If you want to understand why the Jewish people are central to the whole OT, and, the future plans God has for the world, you have to understand Abraham.  If you want to know why the nation of israel and the land of israel are so central to the Bible and world affairs, you must understand Abraham. If you want to understand faith and the premium God places on faith, then you have to understand Abraham.  If you want to know who your spiritual father is when you come to faith in Jesus Christ, then you have to meet Abraham. He is fundamental to all the Bible from Genesis 12 on.

 

Studying Abraham’s entire life is not our ambition today.  That is a SS study coming in several months. But, today, we are going to let Hebrews 11, the faith hall of fame, lay out our outline.  He gets more ink in the faith hall of fame than anyone else. He is referenced in Scripture perhaps more than any other human being, except maybe Moses.  (That can be a personal study for you to do this week and get back with me on.)

 

There are 3 points here about Abraham.  These four points are four situations of Abraham’s life where his faith was put on display.  These are the situations that define his life. You know what that is like – situations that either mold who you are for the rest of your life, or, where who you are is revealed, and you are recognized for that .  It could be something heroic like you rescuing someone from a burning building; it could be you

 

I want to magnify something in this text that I never saw until this week.  These 4 circumstances are not the mountaintop experiences for Abraham. They are the in the valley of the shadow of death moments.  The first, preliminary lesson for us is this: our faith is seen for what it truly is when we are overshadowed by trials, sufferings, and darkness.  Do we trust God when we have no other reason than He tells us to trust Him? When we don’t know why, when we can’t see how, when we don’t know when, or if.  When all we have is His word to us is that enough? Is it what we go on? Do we trust Him?

 

Abraham trusted God when God moved him from his family and homeland to a foreign land as a stranger.  Abraham trusted God when God said he would have a child even though he and his wife were old and childless.  Abraham trusted God when God told him about a far-distant future kingdom where nations who came from his body would gather in his honor.  Abraham trusted God when he was instructed to take that miraculous, promised child, Isaac and sacrifice him. None of these situations are fun.  None of them are on the hilltops in the sunshine of life with joy and happiness. None of them are comfortable, desirable, or understandable without God in the equation.  

 


#1:  Abraham Trusts God in Moving (11:8-10)

God came to Abraham and told him to pack up and leave to a new location far away.  Abraham was living in Ur and was called by God to Canaan. God said in Genesis 12:1, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  Verse 4, “So Abram left as the Lord had told him.”  Later in chapter 15:7, God reminded Abraham who He was, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land and to take possession of it.”    

 

Ur was in what is modern day southern Iraq.  Just north of the head of the Persian Gulf, and just south of the Euphrates river.  Canaan is modern day Israel and was about 750 miles straight west of Ur. However, to get there Abraham went north, following the Euphrates river for water needs, since it was bare desert to go straight west.  Upon arriving in the city of Haran, God confirmed the call again to Abraham to leave and go to Canaan, and, so Abraham embarked on the final leg of the journey and arrived in the land promised to him by God.

 

Several times God came to him in his life and reiterated and even expanded the details of His promise to Abraham.  “Go walk the length and breadth of the land as far as you can see for I’m giving it all to you” God said in Genesis

 

The point here is that Abraham obeyed God and left his homeland to go to a place God told him to go..  Abraham trusted God in going in a new direction. All he knew was God told him that this land he was going to was going to be his and also to his descendants after him.  (His faith is augmented even more when we realize he had no descendants to speak of who could inherit this land.)

 

 

Application:  Are we willing to go where God calls us?  

 

Application:  Are we willing to give up things in our lives, our lives even, to gain what God has for us?  

 

#2:  Abraham Trusts God will give Him a Son (11:11-12)

Secondly Abraham trusts God in the face of human impossibility.  In this case, that God would give him a child. At 75 and 65 years old, Abraham and Sarah had no child, thus, no heir, and, no possibility that the promise could be fulfilled – humanly. Then they had to wait 25 years before God delivered on his promise – at 100 and 90 years old!  Genesis 17:17-19 and Romans 4:18-22

 

Application:  trusting God when He says or promises something that doesn’t make sense humanly.  The thing is, we can’t reason as though God is not in the picture. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but, with God all things are possible.”  Faith means that when God says something, our view of what is possible is enlarged as far as our understanding of how big God is.

 

#3:  Abraham Trusts God in the Next Life (11:13-16)

 

#4:  Abraham Trusts God in Sacrifice (11:17-19)

Finally, Abraham trusted God in sacrifice.  Hebrews 11:17-19….Genesis 22

 

How could Abraham trust God in sacrifice?  Hebrews says that “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead…”  Abraham’s faith was at work in his reasoning. “God how can You fulfill Your promise to have many nations come from my own body through Isaac if Isaac dies right here and now, before any of it even happens?”  He “reasoned that God could raise the dead.”

 

Abraham also shows us that faith in God means nothing, no matter how valuable or dear to us, comes before God.  Faith produces an obedience in the most trying circumstances.

 

Conclusion:

Isaac’s question:  Father, where is the Lamb?  (Gen. 22:7) That is the question of the ages, answered by John the Baptist:  “Behold the Lamb of God”

 

Man of Faith

Child of Abraham

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s