God didn’t choose to carry out His plan through Abraham because he was special, talented, or even righteous. In fact, God didn’t choose anyone in the Bible for those reasons; He also doesn’t choose anyone today for those reasons. God chooses whom He will because He can. It’s God who makes people special, God who bestows talents, and God alone who can transform sinners into righteous believers.
God knew that Abraham would struggle with the call before him, but He also knew that Abraham’s struggle would produce great growth and faith.
In Genesis 12, the LORD spoke to Abram (as he was called then):
“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
What follows next in the biblical narrative is the story of Abraham’s journey to follow God and live a life of faith, but here are 4 things you may not remember about Abraham’s story.
1. Abraham was an old man when God called him to set out on this journey.
He was 75 when God called him to leave his home, 86 when his first son Ishmael was born through Hagar, 99 when he was circumcised, and 100 when his son Isaac was born through his wife Sarah. Genesis 12-21
Have you ever been in a position where you felt that God wanted you to do something outside of your comfort zone? Yet, we learn that despite any doubts or questions Abram may have had in the beginning, he obeyed the LORD and left with his family.
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you are married or single, have children or do not, no matter how insufficient you may feel God can use you. And when God chooses to use you, make sure you are ready to obey. Whether it’s talking to a stranger at the supermarket, inviting a non-believing co-worker’s family over for dinner, or moving to another country…God will be with you when you follow Him. And just like with Abraham, God is with us even when we get off track.
2. Abraham laughed at God and so did his wife Sarah…and God heard them.
Abraham and Sarah both laughed when God told them they would have a child in their old age (Genesis 17:17; 18:10-12). Their laughter at God’s plan showed their disbelief that He could do what He said He would do.
“Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’” Genesis 18:13-15
Have you ever laughed at God? It seems like such a blasphemous notion, but we likely do it more often than we think. Go pray with that stranger over there? I think I’ll just try nodding and smiling first... Tell my testimony in front of a large group, maybe next month when I’m not as tired. You want me to have grace with my husband/child/family member/friend after they did/said that for the 19th time?
Whether we laugh out loud or in our hearts, God always hears us. The LORD promised Abraham a son through his wife Sarah, and despite their disbelief, God did not break His promise. People are free to believe or not believe, but God’s plans never change.
3. Abraham lied about his wife being his sister, not once but twice.
Fearing for his life, Abraham lied and asked his wife to lie also saying to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and later to King Abimelech, she is my sister. Sarah went along with the lie, identifying Abraham as her brother on all occasions (Genesis 12:11-13; 20:1-2, 5).
Even though Abraham knew he was wrong to fear for his life and claim his wife as his sister, he still tried to excuse himself on a technicality by saying,
“Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’” Genesis 20:12-13
How many times do we lie about things out of fear or discomfort, or even based on a technicality? I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, I was just too tired so I made up an excuse, I was afraid I’d lose my job, I didn’t want him to think bad of me…and so on. Not only does God not want us to lie, He also wants us to be examples for others.
Following Abraham’s example, his son Isaac did the exact same thing later in life and lied about his wife, Rebekah, being his sister (Genesis 26:7). If we don’t want to see our loved ones repeat our sins, we need to make sure we don’t repeat them ourselves.
4. Abraham trusted God when many of us wouldn’t have.
God said to Abraham, “’Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Genesis 22:2
How many of us would have jumped at the chance to obey that command? Abraham was now over a hundred years old, he waited a very long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled in his only son through his wife Sarah, and now after God promised to make a great nation through his son He’s asking him to kill him? I think I may have said something like, hey God I think you’ve got the wrong servant—I waited for this just like You told me to, remember? But God’s point to Abraham was that even the good things given to him, the things he waited for, they must come second.
The most extraordinary thing is that just like in the beginning when God first called him, Abraham got up and went out. He obeyed God, willing to carry out the sacrifice until the angel of the LORD stopped him. God knew all along that He would stop Abraham because there is only one Son whose sacrifice can atone for sin and fulfill the greatest promise.
Abraham’s journey was long and challenging; he worked hard and experienced both grief and blessings. Most of the time, he couldn’t see the path ahead, but he held strong to the promise in his heart. God would continue to fulfill that promise over a thousand years after Abraham’s death until its completion in His Son Jesus Christ.
God always keeps His promises; no one else can do that. No matter how crazy your life seems, you can trust God through every twist and turn without hesitation because His promise has not only been kept…it has been fulfilled!
This article is part of our People from the Bible Series featuring the most well-known historical names and figures from Scripture. We have compiled these articles to help you study those whom God chose to set before us as examples in His Word. May their lives and walks with God strengthen your faith and encourage your soul.
Who was Melchizedek and Why was He so Important?
Jael in the Bible - 5 Powerful Lessons from Her Story
4 Things You May Not Know About Abraham in the Bible
5 Things to Know About Luke from the Bible
20 Facts You May Not Know About Moses from the Bible
The Bible Story of Queen Esther
The Life of Ruth - 5 Essential Faith Lessons
6 Things You Didn’t Know About Paul from the Bible
John the Baptist: 6 Powerful Truths from His Life
3 Things You Didn’t Know About Mary (Mother of Jesus)
The Bible Story of Joseph
Who was Peter in the Bible & Why Was He So Important?
The Limits of Satan in this World
Story of Noah: 10 Theological Truths
Who Were the 12 Disciples of Jesus?
The Bible Story of Elijah
The Bible Story of Job
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