Abraham, Our Father

Bosom of Abraham

by Bruce Okkema

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Matthew 1:1-2

Bosom of AbrahamAbraham is mentioned more than 200 times in the scriptures throughout both the Old and New Testaments. There are a full thirteen chapters dedicated to the story of Abraham in the book of Genesis alone, which make it one of the largest segments of the Biblical narrative. All this should tell us that the story of Abraham is very important to interpreting God’s plan for history as it applies to us. In the very first verse of the New Testament, the Gospel writer, Matthew, begins the lineage of Jesus with Abraham, and he is the first person in the Bible to be called a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13). And the prophet Isaiah tells us,

Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. (Isaiah 51:1-2)

What was it about this man that was so important for us to study? It will be a fascinating journey as we walk through the life of this great man. Certainly we will see his trust, his faithfulness, his chutzpah, and his courage. We will also see that he was human, he had shortcomings, and he failed on some occasions.

Abraham did not have the benefit of hindsight as he obediently followed God’s leading; he did not know when he was being tested. But we can see how the Lord fulfilled every promise that He had made. It is almost as if God is saying to us, “Do you see how I tested this man, how he obeyed me in blind faith, and how I was faithful to him?” “Why would it be any different for you?”

James writes of Abraham, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend (chapter 2:22-23).

I hope that one day, when my time is over, I too can be called God’s friend.

Photocred: Herrad von Landsberg

Faithful Abram


by Lois Tverberg

The LORD 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.
– Genesis 12:1-3

StarsGod chose Abram to begin His great plan to redeem the world. His fame comes from his faith in God, which we will see most strongly when he is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac and willingly does everything God asks until God tells him not to follow through.

If we read the story of Abram’s call knowing its cultural context, we see his faithfulness even in the beginning of his story. God’s first words to him were to leave his country, his people and his family. In that day, that would have been almost as difficult of a test as the sacrifice of Isaac. In his time, every kind of security that a person had was bound up in their clan and their land. There were no such thing as police, so if a person was robbed or assaulted, the only protection they had was in their clan. Without children, Abram also would have no security in old age that anyone would take care of him. Abram’s extended family would have been his only place to go for help. So God was asking Abram a huge thing in asking him to leave his people, because his identity in that culture, his family, his protection and his future security would all be left behind.

On the other hand, God’s promise to Abram would have meant much more in ancient times than it did today. We think of success as becoming very wealthy, or having power in government. But in Abram’s time success was tied to family– the greatest hope a person could have would be that he or she would become the mother or father of many descendants. By offering to make of him a great nation, God promises him a huge prize in return for th huge risk that he is taking.

Old Jewish ManAbraham and Sarai and their little group were taking a huge risk when they left all for the Lord. The fact that they were childless at 75 when they heard the call may have made them wonder if a God who didn’t wouldn’t give them children up until now would do so now. And then 25 more years of childlessness didn’t do anything to make them feel more confident that God would fufill His promises.

Through all the doubts, Abram remained faithful. And because of his faithfulness, he is not only father of all the Jews, but all the faithful who come to believe in his descendant, Jesus. Because of his faithfulness, he became the father of a family that numbers more than the sands of the sea.

Photocred: Michael J. Bennett and Movieevery