Bible Stories For Adults: The Story Of Abraham

What is Abraham's story? Why did God single him out? Read this story of a man revered by Christians and Jews alike.

Abraham is considered the father of God's people and he's mentioned in the book of Hebrews as a man of faith. What is Abraham's story? Why did God single him out? What made him special?

The Old Testament proclaims Abraham as the friend of God. "Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?" (2 Chronicles 20:7) Abraham earned this esteem through faith, obedience and worship. He was blessed by God and significant to Christians as the ancestor of Christ, prophet, intercessor, and father of those saved by faith.

It is easy for us to love those that love us, so it must have been easy for God to love Abraham. Abraham loved God deeply and showed his love through worship. (Genesis 21:33) Abraham had a deep and abiding faith in God as well. "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6) Abraham's faith is the example for us and the greater part of his faith was about obedience. Abraham trusted God to provide, protect and honor His Word and in return for God's care, Abraham was obedient.

The story of Abraham's son Isaac tells us about the quality of Abraham's faith. Abraham's wife Sarah was beyond childbearing years when God told Abraham that they would have a child. That child was Isaac and God promised to make Abraham the father of His people through that child. (Genesis 15:1-18) Isaac was much loved by his father and Abraham would have done anything to protect this very special son.

One day, God spoke to Abraham and told him to take Isaac up into a place in the mountains and sacrifice him on an altar. The father and son traveled towards the mountain with wood for the fire and the altar but no lamb for the sacrifice. Isaac said, ""¦ My father"¦behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7) Abraham answered that God would provide the lamb. Abraham went where he was instructed and built an altar. He laid the wood around it to sacrifice Isaac on it as a burnt offering. He bound Isaac and laid him on the altar. As he raised his knife to slay his beloved son, a voice spoke from heaven: "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." (Genesis 22:12)

To our modern sensibilities this is a horrifying story. It was certainly a horror to Abraham, too, to be asked to sacrifice this son that God had promised to do so much through. And therein lies the key to Abraham's faith, he knew beyond any doubt that God would make good on His promise. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son," (Hebrews 11:17) He couldn't have known how, but he must have known that God would somehow make everything work out for the good. Armed with that faith, Abraham was able to be absolutely obedient.

It is because of his absolute faith in God that Abraham is the father of God's people. God has only asked one other to make the kind of sacrifice He asked of Abraham, Himself. He gave the sacrifice of His only Son for our salvation. Abraham was saved by his faith and so are we saved by our faith in God's only Son. We are not the children of Abraham by descent, but by faith. Jesus told the Jews this very thing. (Matthew 3:9-10) He was telling them that they wouldn't be saved because they were blood descendants of Abraham, that to be saved they must have the faith of Abraham.

This is how Abraham is the father of those justified by faith, God's people. "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:7-9)

God's promise to Abraham is completed in Jesus Christ. "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." (Romans 4:13) We are children of Abraham through faith; we are heirs of the promise through that same Abraham-like faith in Christ Jesus. That kind of faith is what transforms our lives.

It is the Abraham-like faith, made possible by accepting the indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon salvation, that leads to the good works James teaches about. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? " (James 2:21-22) Abraham knew what James teaches, that faith is a two part commitment. It is an act of the will to accept that God is true to His Word and a commitment to live out that faith through our actions. Abraham chose to believe God and he acted according to that faith. That belief and action combination is what saved him and it is that same kind of belief plus action faith that God expects us to have in Christ.

Abraham was special because God asked more from Him than He asks us and Abraham was willing to give more. His faith was the beginning of our faith; his faith is the model for our faith. By our faith, we are made heirs to the promise that God made to Abraham; we are heirs to the world.

(All Scripture is KJV)

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