Monday, 6 April 2009

Abraham, Man Of Faith

One of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament was Abraham, who was previously called Abram. He came from Ur of the Chaldees, which is situated between the Tiris and Euphrates Rivers. His father, Terah, moved Abram and the rest of the family to Haran, about 980 kilometres to the northwest. It was from there, God called him.

"The Lord had 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. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:1-3

Abram obediently left for Canaan with his family, including his wife Sarai (later renamed Sarah) and his nephew Lot. He travelled down through the land, Shechem, Bethel, Ai, and right south toward the Negev. During that time The Lord appeared to him and told him that, "To your offspring I will give this land." Genesis 12:7.

Many significant events of Bible History followed:
• his time in Egypt to escape the famine in the land, Gen. 12:10-19
• the birth of his son Ishmael by Hagar, Gen 16:7-16
• God's changing of his name to Abraham, Gen 17:1-8
• the covenant of circumcision when he was 99, Gen 17:9-14
• the Destruction Of Sodom, Gen 19:1-26
• the birth of Isaac. It was Isaac's descendants who were to inherit the land of Canaan. Gen 21:1-8

The greatest test of Abraham came when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac. Despite the grief and horror that he must have been experiencing, Abraham was actually about to go through with it before being stopped by God. God said to him, "I swear by Myself, declares The Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me." Genesis 22:16-18. Isaac was released unharmed.

Abraham lived a good long life. After he died, he was buried in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre that he had purchased to bury his wife Sarah, who had died before him. Later, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah were all buried in the same place, known today as the "Tomb of Patriarchs" in Hebron.

Abraham and the New Testament

John 8:39-59
The Jews claimed Abraham as their father. Jesus pointed out that they were not doing the deeds of Abraham. He then went on to show them that He was greater the Abraham because he existed before him. When Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58, they really knew what He meant. He was using the divine name,
“Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Ex. 3:13-14

Rom 4:1-3
The Jews taught that it was the works of the Law that saved you. We are saved by faith apart for works of the Law, Rom 3:28, Gal 2:16. Note, there are some who fail to see that it says “works of the law”.

Heb 11:8-19
Here we have “Faith’s Hall of Fame”. We can see Abraham was a man of faith. Everything he did was through faith. We have to be like Abraham, we have to be people of faith. How do we get faith? Rom. 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

James 2:18-24
This can seem to be a contradiction here unless we notice in Rom 3 and Gal 2 what is being talked about is “works of the Law”. Abraham had an obedient faith – we saw that in Heb 11. Abraham did what God asked him to and, “and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God” James 2:23

Do you want to be counted as righteous? Do you want to be a friend of God?
Have an obedient faith.

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