Abram was born in Ur, a major center in Chaldea (Babylon): modern day South-East Iraq. He began his life serving other gods, (Joshua 24:2-3), but God called him to Himself, promising him relationship and blessing: “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Do you notice how many times the word “blessed” or “blessing” was said in this passage? God meets Abram while he is still worshipping other gods, inviting him to relationship and to receive blessing. Throughout the Bible, God is consistently portrayed as calling people to himself to pour out blessing. Do we understand this about His nature?
God’s desire to bless Abram doesn’t mean that everything goes smoothly. Abram experiences famine and travels to Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20) where, in a display of panic, he permits Pharoah to marry his wife in order to save his own life. God intervenes and returns Sarai to him. Abram returns to his land and, over the years is drawn into war (Genesis 14:1-16), experiences tension within his family (Genesis 16, Genesis 21), pleads with God for mercy on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18), and endures year after year without a son – wondering if God would fulfill his promise to make his offspring as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5). During this time, God continually teaches Abram to trust in Him. God walks him through a covenant treaty ceremony (Genesis 14:1-12), changes his name to Abraham which means “father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5) and institutes the practice of circumcision to remind Abraham’s descendants that God voluntarily bound himself to be their protector and provider.
God proves himself faithful to Abraham, and Abraham responds with increasing faith. By the time he is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham is able to obey without question, asserting to Isaac, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). Abraham’s faith is rewarded by God and, after living for 175 years, “Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years.” (Genesis 25:7)
Abraham’s life was full of uncertainty and tension. He was asked to do difficult things, and to believe the impossible and through it all he was able to proclaim:
“I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and earth” (Genesis 15:22)
God is “the Judge of all the earth” [who will] do what is just” (Genesis 18:25)
“The LORD will provide” (Genesis 22:14)
His final recorded words indicate his trust in God’s guidance. He was certain that the God who called him and who walked with him will continue to provide for the next generations by directing his servant to choose Isaac’s wife:
“The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, “To your offspring I will give this land;’ he will send his angel before you and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” (Genesis 24:7)
Wouldn’t it be great to face the future with that kind of faith? Blessings on you today,
Pastor of Women
PS – We had a great start to Oasis, MOM’s and Oasis Evening this week! If you still want to join in, please let us know.