A Fulfillment Of Spiritual Blessings
As descendants of Abraham, we, too, are able to receive the spiritual blessings that God promised Abraham: But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend .
Through Gods grace, we can find redemption and receive Salvation through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And it all started with Father Abraham.
Madeline Kalu is a Christian writer and the co-founder of Jacobs Ladder Blog. She was born in England but currently lives in Germany with her husband, Solomon. As a response to the fear, anxiety, and despair generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs Ladder Blog has written a free EBook titled More than Conquerors through Christ to encourage, strengthen, and give hope in the midst of this pandemic. You can download the EBook or read it online at www.jacobsladderblog.com.
Genesis 1: 13 What Was The Wickedness Of Sodom And Gomorrah
In the Genesis account it is clear that the people of these two cities had become extremely immoral, engaging in homosexuality and other abuses. But the prophet Ezekiel gave greater insight when he said, âBehold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.â James said that pure religion was to âvisit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep unspotted from the worldâ . Sodom and Gomorrah not only had partaken of the filthiness of sexual immorality but had rejected their fellow men in need.
Abraham’s First Son Ishmael Would Also Be Blessed
The story that led to the birth of Ishmael was not a happy one. Yet God was not absent. After Hagar ran away, God brought her back. Genesis 16:9-10 tells what happened, Then the angel of the LORD told her, Go back to your mistress and submit to her. The angel added, I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count. God also made this promise directly to Abraham, who cared very deeply for his son Ishmael, And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation .
It is accepted that most current-day Arabic people trace their lineage back to Ishmael. That is a lineage numbering in the millions. Although this was not Gods plan for Abraham and Sarah, he had plans for Hagar and made her a different promise. She was not forgotten, and as his name suggests, God was listening.
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Sarahs Second Abductionand The Birth Of Isaac
In an incident eerily similar to what happened so manydecades prior, Abraham and Sarah relocate to Gerar. Again fearing that thelocal monarch will take his wife and kill him, Abraham pretends that Sarah ishis sister. King Abimelech of Gerar takes Sarah for himself, but before he cantouch her, Gd strikes Abimelech and his household with a mysterious maladythat affects their orifices. Gd then appears to Abimelech in a dream and tellshim to release Sarah since she is a married woman. Abimelech gives Abraham andSarah many gifts, and Abraham prays for Abimelechs recovery.
Sarah is then blessed with what she has been waiting for:she becomes pregnant!
Following Gds word, the baby is circumcised on the eighthday of his life and is named Isaac. ReadMore:
But all is not well in Abrahams family. As Isaac grows up,Sarah becomes increasingly alarmed that unruly Ishmael will have a negative influenceon her son, the future bearer of Abrahams legacy. With Gds approval, Abrahamsends away Hagar and Ishmael, who settle in the desert.Read More:
God Abraham & The Sacrifice Of Isaac
Abraham agreed. We are told nothing of the anguish he must have felt.
He rose early the next morning, saddled his donkey, and set off with his son Isaac towards the distant mountain where the deed must be done.
Where was Sarah? Did she know what Abraham intended to do? We dont know.
When Abraham got to the designated place of sacrifice, Isaac spoke up.
Where is the lamb for the burnt offering? asked Isaac.
God will provide one, my son replied Abraham.
Or heres a thought: is it God will provide one: my son?
Together, the father and son built an altar and placed the wood they had brought on top of it.
Abraham, Isaac and the Angel, Caravaggio
Then Abraham bound Isaac with a rope and lay him upon the altar. Did Isaac struggle? We dont know. In one horrific moment Abraham raised the knife to kill his son, but suddenly he heard a voice telling him to stop.
Now I know you have not withheld your only son from me, said a voice.
Then Abraham saw a ram nearby. It was caught in a bush, and Abraham pulled it out and sacrificed it instead. He had passed the crucial test.
Abraham returned to Sarah with Isaac.
Did she know what had happened? Did Isaac tell her? Or Abraham? We are never told.
Read Genesis 22:1-13
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Abrahams Faith And Works
There is a difference between trusting in our own works and trusting in God in order to be justified and saved. And there is a difference between relying on the law, as the Jews did, and doing good works that demonstrate obedience and living faith.
Abraham is our object lesson in this regard.
James explained: But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled, which says, Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. You see then, that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only .
Our faith is perfected as we do good works.
We should do good works in faith, as our father Abraham did. As John 8:39 says: If you were Abrahams children you would do the works of Abraham.
Abraham did many works that demonstrated his strong faith in God. Jesus Christ told the Jewish leaders of His day, But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this .
Abraham believed the truth from the mouths of Gods messengers and from the mouth of the Lord.
Abraham Laughed At God And So Did His Wife Sarahand God Heard Them
Abraham and Sarah both laughed when God told them they would have a child in their old age . Their laughter at Gods 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 Ill just try nodding and smiling first… Tell my testimony in front of a large group, maybe next month when Im 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 Gods plans never change.
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Angels At Sodom And Gomorrah
Then the angels/spirits continued on their way, down towards Sodom and Gomorrah. They were going to destroy these cities, they told Abraham who was understandably concerned, since his brother Lot lived there.
Archangel, Hans Memling
At this stage the story hives off and describes what happened in these two cities of sin.
The angels went to Lots house, and he offered them hospitality. But the men of the city had seen them, and wanted to have sexual intercourse with them.
Lot and the angels were able to repel them, but the angels warned Lot to quit the city immediately, since they were about to destroy it. Flee for your lives they said. Do not look back or stop anywhere. Flee to the hills.
Lot could not budge his sons-in-law, but he gathered up his wife and daughters and spirited them out of the city. They family dashed away just as fire and brimstone began to rain on the city.
But Lots wife: looked back, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
Read Genesis 17:1-8, 18:1-5
Sarah And Abraham Have A Son At Last
Then, miracle of miracles, God allowed Sarah to conceive and she had a son.
But there was no happy ending. When it came time for her son to be weaned, she became angry and jealous of Hagars son Ishmael, and had Hagar and Abrahams son Ishmael expelled from the tribe.
Abraham allowed this to happen, even though he knew that his son Ishmael had virtually no chance of survival in the desert.
Again God intervened, and sent an angel to show Hagar where to find water so that she and Ishmael survived.
Abrahams second son Isaac grew up, and was Abrahams pride and joy. But it seems almost as if, after all the unworthy things that Abraham had done, that God was not sure He had made the right choice, for God now set a test for Abraham.
He asked for the life of Abrahams son Isaac.
The sacrifice of a favoured child may have been a way of showing loyalty to ones God. See Human sacrifice in the Bible: did it happen? how was it done?
Read Genesis 21:1-7
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The Significance Of Abraham’s Age
The lovely thing for me about Abraham is that he’s an old man and he is one of several old people who indicate that God is not simply interested in young folk but that God has a peculiar calling to old people. It’s interesting that later in the Bible, in Joel “…the young will see visions and the old will dream dreams…” and it’s the middle aged who really have to watch out.
Right at the beginning, the story of Abraham says that God does not give up on old people and God does not give up in situations that look barren. Both Abraham and Sarah have got to their final years and for them to be the progenitors is a colossal thing.
The relationship that Abraham has with Sarah is very interesting, she’s a bit of an odd puss, she can be quite nippy, particularly in her relationship with Abraham’s concubine Hagar. She also does a great thing in giving God a name that has not been mentioned before – God’s been seen as a creator and she gives God the name Laughter Maker because when her child is born she calls him Isaac which means ‘he laughs’. She says ‘I’ll call him Isaac because God has made laughter for me.’ She gives us a picture of God that nobody else gives: that in God’s heart there is humour and there’s laughter and that he gives that as a gift to humanity.
Reverend John Bell, a leader in the Iona Community and minister of the Church of Scotland
Genesis 1: 3038 The Sin Of Lots Daughters
The account of the incestuous seduction of Lot by his two daughters is a shocking one but one which, again, illustrates that the Old Testament records the evils of the people as well as their righteousness. There is no way to justify the wickedness of what the two daughters did, although it may be better understood when it is considered that the daughters may have thought that the whole world had been destroyed in the holocaust that befell Sodom and Gomorrah and that Lot was the only source of children left to them. Moses may have included this account in the record because it shows the beginnings of the Moabites and the Ammonites, two peoples that would play an important role in the history of the people of Israel.
For more information on why Abraham called Sarah his sister, see Reading 5-5.
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Hagar The Runaway Slave
The Bible states, “Then Sarai mistreated Hagar so, she fled from her” , and went out into the desert, dangerously, without proper supplies. Fortunately for Hagar, according to the biblical text, God sent an angel of the Lord to rescue and restore her to Sarah. He said, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her … I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count” . This adds another cultural wrinkle to the tale, as slavery was an integral part of ancient existence, with slavery providing key benefits that accompanied its social restrictions for many people .
This leads to another of the most poignant moments of the Bible, when Hagar gives God a name – El Roi. She states, “You are the God who sees me … I have now seen the One who sees me” . In an era where slaves were considered mere property and women were relegated to a lower social class, the Bible speaks of God’s great mercy and compassion for Hagar despite her lowly position, affirming her humanity and value in the world.
Hagar returned to Sarah and delivered her child to Abraham, age 86, who God instructed to name the child, “Ishmael” . Although he would eventually become the father of the Arab nations, the Hebrew scripture described Ishmael as “a wild donkey of a man his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” .
Why Was Abraham Chosen To Be The Father Of All Nations
It was Abrahams steadfast faith, his unquestioning obedience, and his constant seeking of God that is believed to be the reason why God chose Abraham to be the first patriarch of the Hebrews, and ultimately the rest of the nations.
- Madeline KaluCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Abrahams steadfast faith, his determined obedience, and his position as the first of the Hebrew patriarchs make him one of the most significant figures in the Bible. In Genesis 17:4-7, God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, declaring that the former would be the father of many nations and that kings will be born from his bloodline.
Consequently, Abraham is the primogenitor of the 12 tribes of Israel through his son, Isaac. He is also recognized as the patriarch of the three monotheistic or Abrahamic religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam the latter deriving through his firstborn son, Ishmael.
However, does the Bible reveal Gods intention for choosing Abraham to be the Father of Israel and all the nations?
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When Was Abraham Born
The ancient texts tell us very little about Abraham’s early life. Almost nothing is revealed about his early years, except for a few clues here and there.
However, Abraham is believed to have been born in 1948, years after creation. Abraham was born in 2150 BCE and lived for 175 years, dying in around 1975 BCE, or approximately 3900 years ago.
Isaac And Abrahamboth Marry
Although Sarah does not live to see Isaac build a family,Abraham is determined to make it happenin the best way possible. Rather thanmatch up his son with one of the idolatrous women of Canaan, Abraham dispatcheshis servant Eliezer to his birthplace of Aram Naharaim to find a fitting bridefor his daughter.
The Torah describes in great detail how Eliezer prays forDivine assistance and is guided to Rebecca, the great-niece of Abraham, whokindly offers water to the traveler and his caravan of thirsty camels .
And Isaac brought her to the tentof Sarah his mother, the verse tells us, and he took Rebecca, and she becamehis wife, and he loved her. And Isaac was comforted for hismother.
With his son firmly ensconced in matrimony, Abraham gets remarriedto a woman named Keturah, whom some identify as Hagar,and has many more children. ReadMore:
At the ripe old age of 175, Abraham passes away and is buriedby Isaac and Ishmael.
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Genesis 1: 26 Lots Wife And The Pillar Of Salt
The account of Lotâs wife being turned into a pillar of salt has puzzled many commentators. Was this event a literal thing, or was it figurative? There are two indications in the scriptures that the phrase âlooked backâ was an idiomatic way of saying âshe turned backâ or âreturned to Sodom.â When warning the disciples of the destruction which was going to come upon Jerusalem, the Savior warned them to flee without delay, not even going into the house to get their possessions. Jesus said, âAnd he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lotâs wifeâ . He then admonished them that he who seeks to save his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will find it. Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased those verses in these words:
âLook not back to Sodom and the wealth and luxury you are leaving. Stay not in the burning house, in the hope of salvaging your treasures, lest the flame destroy you but flee, flee to the mountains.
âSeek temporal things and lose eternal life sacrifice the things of this life and gain eternal life.â
The implication is that Lotâs wife started back to Sodom, perhaps to save some possessions, and was caught in the destruction.
But whatever it was that happened to Lotâs wife, it is clear that she perished.