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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Father Like Abraham

Beth Patch - Senior Producer

When we think of Abraham, the Father of our Faith, we most likely revere him. He is the man God chose to bless with being the father of His children here on earth. He’s the man who trusted and obeyed God to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own son if that’s what Almighty God wanted him to do. What a strong man of faith!

Perhaps a glance at Abraham’s life will help us have the proper perspective when we think of our own fathers.

Leadership for the Family

“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.’ Abram departed as the LORD had instructed, …” (Genesis 12:1-4)

They arrived in Canaan where God appeared to Abram and told him He was giving this land to his descendants. Abram built an altar there to honor the Lord.

What a godly man.

Time passed and a famine drove them to Egypt. Abram feared the Egyptians would kill him and take his beautiful wife; so he lied and said Sarai was his sister. Sarai was taken into Pharaoh's harem and Abram got tons of gifts from Pharaoh because of her. So, Sarai is basically given over to be a sex slave and Abram profits from it. His plan worked since he’s still alive, but look what happened to his wife! (Genesis 12:10-20)

What an ungodly man.

However, because God is faithful and true, He did not allow this to be the end of their story. The Lord had promised Abram that he would make him into a great nation. He brought a plague on Pharaoh and his household and revealed the truth about Sarai to Pharaoh. So, Pharaoh took back the gifts and sent them both out of Egypt. They traveled (for months, maybe years) back to where Abram had built the altar in Canaan and he "worshipped the Lord again" (Genesis 13:4).

Questioning God

Sometime later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and told him not to be afraid, “I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” (Genesis 15:1) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?”

Somehow, this doesn’t sound like a strong man of faith.

Abram and Sarai knew the LORD had promised Abram a son and since Sarai was past child-bearing age, she told Abram to take her servant, Hagar, as an additional wife to bear him a son. Hagar gets pregnant. She and Sarai become bitter enemies. Hagar has a son, Ishmael, when Abram is 86-years-old. (Genesis 16:1-16)

What a mess.

When Abram is 99-years-old, the LORD tells him, “I am El-Shaddai - ‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life” and makes a covenant with him guaranteeing He will give Abram countless descendants. The LORD changes Abram’s name to Abraham because he will be the father of many nations. He also changes Sarai’s name to Sarah, and says he will bless her and give Abraham a son by her.

God blesses him anyhow.

Abraham bows down to the ground, laughs to himself in disbelief about he and Sarah having a child when he’s 100 and she’s 90 years old. So, he assumes he knows it must be Ishmael who will be blessed to begin the great line of descendants. God corrects him and says, “No, Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.”

God blesses him anyhow.

Because of Faith

Abraham loved the LORD and still made plenty of mistakes.

Galatians 3:6-7 says, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

God looks at a person’s heart. He looked at Abraham’s heart and saw faith. He didn’t make a checklist of things Abraham had done right and wrong. He overlooked the mistakes. In a nutshell, Abraham loved God and God loved Abraham. That’s the father of our faith. Not a perfect man. But nevertheless, a man we revere.

God loves our earthly fathers too and commands us to honor them (Exodus 20:12). If God can overlook Abraham’s mistakes (selling his wife out as a sex-slave, getting a second wife to have a baby with, and laughing at God’s message while he’s bowed down to God, etc.), then who are we to do anything less than honor our fathers? We all have a father like Abraham – not perfect, but God loves him.

Copyright © Beth Patch, used with permission.

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