Who is Abraham? Bible records tell us he was the father of the Hebrew nation, but so much more. The story of Abraham in the Bible is a magnificent study. Abraham's life sets the stage for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Please read Genesis 15:1-21 before starting this Abraham Bible study lesson, #1.13
Previous lesson: Noah's Ark #1.12
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) Where did Abraham originally live?
2) How did Abraham find true salvation?
3) Who are Abraham's descendants?
This is a great lesson which will hopefully open your eyes to some amazing facts.
God called Abraham (aka Abram) out from his family in the land of Ur. Ur was near what we know as the Persian Gulf region of the Middle East. "The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3).
God called Abraham, Bible study indicates, around the year 2100 B.C. Yes, that's a long time ago it seems to us, but it isn't to God.
Abraham and Sarah (the wife of Abraham), Lot (his nephew), and their servants left the land of Ur and traveled first to Haran, and then onto Canaan. The Lord introduced a covenant with Abraham upon the death of his father, Terah (Genesis 12:1-3). A biblical covenant between God and a person (or nation) is a basic promise from God to that person or nation. It's a verbal contract where both sides, unless stated differently, must uphold their responsibilities or break the terms.
God's covenant (aka legal promise) with Abraham, Bible records show, is eternal (Psalm 105:7-12). The covenant consisted of four distinct elements:
1) Abraham's seed (Genesis 17:2-7; Galatians 3:8,16).
2) Abraham's land (Genesis 17:8).
3) A chosen nation (Genesis 17:4).
4) Divine blessing and protection (Genesis 12:3).
The Abrahamic Covenant is actually instituted in Genesis 15:18-21; reaffirmed in Genesis 17:1-21; renewed with Abraham's son in Genesis 26:2-5, and again with Abraham's grandson in Genesis 28:10-17.
The importance of Abraham's Covenant to all believers, including you and me, is expounded by Paul in the book of Galatians chapters 3 and 4. Please read those chapters to further understand the direct implications to your spiritual life.
Abraham became a wealthy man while in Canaan. He owned livestock, servants, and also much silver and gold. He became so wealthy that he gave Lot a choice of half of his land, so the two separated (Genesis 13:8-9).
God blessed Abraham's wisdom and kindness with Lot. He gave him reassurance (aka the covenant) that his descendants would become a great nation, "Look as far as you can see in every direction - north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!" (Genesis 13:14-16).
The wife of Abraham, Sarah, was an incredibly beautiful woman. Abraham felt the need to introduce her as his sister because he feared for his life (Genesis 12:11-12). He thought neighboring kings would kill him in order to gain Sarah as their wife.
God had provisions, though, if and when such a thing occurred, and it almost did (Genesis 12:17-19). Fortunately, because of God's divine promise and plan (Genesis 12:3), Abraham remained together with his lovely wife, Sarah. Abraham and Sarah were Israel's first couple.
Abraham, Bible passages explain, was promised descendants, but years and years passed by with no sons. He was already well into his 80's when Sarah approached him. She was upset that she couldn't bear children. Sarah told Abraham to have relations with her Egyptian servant girl, Hagar.
Hagar became pregnant and had a son named Ishmael. God told Hagar Ishmael would be a "wildman, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives" (Genesis 16:12).
Of course, things happened as God predicted, and there was much strife in Abraham's household between Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 16:5). God eventually told Abraham that Ishmael's descendants would become a large nation (Genesis 17:20).
Abraham and Sarah were finally blessed with a son, named Isaac (Genesis 21:1-2). Abraham was 100 years of age when Isaac was born, fulfilling God's promise. Abraham and Sarah loved their beautiful son, Isaac (Genesis 21:8).
One day Abraham, Bible references say, was told by God to sacrifice Isaac to God as an offering (Genesis 22:2). Abraham and Isaac followed orders, while inwardly hoping for God's intervention. When Abraham was ready to strike Isaac with a sword, the Lord called down and told him to stop, and then provided him a nearby ram to sacrifice (Genesis 22:12-13).
Abraham's physical seed through Isaac went on to become the Hebrew nation of Israel. The history of the nation of Israel is given throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (aka Old Testament of the Bible). God has cared for Israel throughout history and to this very day. God loves Israel and has an eternal plan for them. In the meantime, every Jew is invited to pray to God, and ask their Messiah to save them. My Jewish friends, Yeshua will forgive your sins and love you forever.
Because of Abraham's great faith, God told him, “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed — all because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:16-18).
The near sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham's long-awaited son, was an amazing test of faith, and Abraham passed. This sacrificial act was a type of foreshadowing of the sacrificial death of God's Son. Abraham followed God the Father's lead in sacrificing control over the fate of his son. How would you perform on a similar test?
God always takes time to reveal himself to a person. God teaches a person about himself and his works. Abraham's road to salvation was no different than your path or mine. God called Abraham to action, and Abraham responded properly by leaving Ur. Then God made promises to Abraham, and he patiently waited on the Lord to fulfill the promises.
God tested Abraham many times and Abraham pleased the Lord. Abraham always followed the Lord's instructions, even when it was painful. In short, Abraham sacrificed his most precious belongings when called upon.
Abraham demonstrated faith in the God of the Hebrew Scriptures. God granted Abraham eternal salvation because of his faith (Genesis 15:6).
The same holds true for all people who seek eternal life through the true God, including you, me, and all other people of all time. It doesn't matter your age, gender, intelligence, education, nationality, or religion. If you want eternal life, you will drop everything else, and seek God. You will place your trust in him alone. He is waiting for you to call upon him.
Abraham is the ancestor of both Jesus and Mohammed - the Jews and Arabs. Wow! I wonder what Father Abraham is thinking about his descendants now? I know this much, Abraham was saved by his descendant Jesus Christ, not by Mohammed or his god, Allah. There is no covering for sin in Islam, no perfect human sacrifice, and no cross. There is no true forgiveness or salvation in Islam.
Anyone who desires loving peace with God will approach God through Jesus Christ alone.
Abraham became the physical father of the Arab nations. He became the physical father of Israel. Most incredibly, though, he became the spiritual father for all his descendants who would trust in Jesus Christ as the true Messiah. Abraham is the true spiritual father of all Christians, both Gentiles and Jews, who trust in Yeshua (aka Jesus Christ).
Arab gentiles, Jews, people everywhere, God commands that you turn from your sins (Ezekiel 18:23). Turn to the true Savior Jesus Christ. Only he can rescue your souls from sin and eternal death. You can then personally come to know your real Father in heaven, God Almighty.
Abraham's God has a Son, and his name is Jesus Christ, who says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:7). Abraham is saved and living with God only because he placed faith in his future Messiah (Genesis 15:6). Trust him like your father, Abraham.
The history of Jesus Christ must include Abraham, the father of three nations. Who is Abraham? Bible accounts say a man of great faith. Abraham is the father of the Arabs, Israel, and finally, the father of all those who profess faith alone in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God's Son, the entire world's Messiah.
I hope you enjoyed this Abraham Bible Study. Join us for the next lesson: Christ In the Old Testament #1.14
Bible Study Questions:
1) Was God unfair in commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac?
2) How are Jewish believers eternally saved by God?
3) Abraham's faith was counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). How can your faith be counted to you as righteousness?
Inspirational Bible Verses:
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Romans 9:5
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith — for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead — a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. Hebrews 11:8-12
Faith is extending an empty hand to God to receive his gift of grace. A.W.Pink
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future. Author unknown
Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Martin Luther Quotes
Prayers of Thanksgiving:
Dear God. You offer salvation only through faith. I always thought I had to strive for your love, and earn salvation through my works. I am sorry for being wrong, Lord. Because of Abraham's example I now know that because of Jesus' work on the cross, I can simply trust in You for forgiveness. Thank you for eternal life. In Christ's name. Amen
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