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Friday, April 29, 2016

Father Abraham Had Many Sons and Daughters

Father Abraham Had Many Sons and Daughters
(and also many blessings and promises)

Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. in the town of Ur, which was in what is now modern Iraq. The people of ancient Ur worshipped idols and knew nothing about God.  One-day God spoke to Abraham.  In Genesis 12:1 we read that God told Abraham to leave his home and his relatives and everything he had known and travel to an unknown land far away.  He was to trust God to lead him to this unknown land.  Abraham wasn’t given a map or GPS or any directions of how to get to this land.  But Scripture says that Abraham believed God would show him the way and he obeyed and took off.  Abraham “went out not knowing whither he went.”  Hebrews 11:8. 

Traveling back then was difficult and dangerous.  Travelers crossing the desert could easily run out of food and water and thieves were known to hang out around the desert routes to rob and plunder. Abraham left his comfortable home with his wife Sarah and along with relatives, servants and flocks he followed Gods’ leading some 800 miles across the endless desert to the land God had promised him, - Israel.  Now wouldn’t you say that Abraham had faith to do that?

God was so pleased that Abraham trusted Him that God made promises to him. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless, thee, and make thy name great: and thou shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.!  Gen. 22:18. Genesis 12:2 and 3

And “All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth.”  Genesis 13:15-16.   And again in Genesis 17:8: “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Did you notice that God promised this special land to Abraham and to his children forever? 

Abraham believed Gods’ promises even though he didn’t quite understand their full meaning.  Even though Abraham was a sinner God was pleased with him because of his faith.  We read, “He (Abraham) believed in the Lord: and He (God) counted it to him for righteousness.”  Genesis 15:6. 

God made promises to Abraham that his children would become a nation (Israel) that would bless the earth and as always Abraham believed God.  Many of God’s promises to Abraham had to do with his future children. But along with these promises of children, Abraham was growing older and no children were being born to him and his wife!  Year after year passed and Sarah did not become pregnant.   Old age was setting in and Sarah soon past the age to bear a child. God was testing their faith!

As always Abraham waited and believed that God would somehow keep His promise. Finally, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, God gave them their promised child, Isaac.  The name “Isaac” means “laughter”, Perhaps after having to wait so long for this baby, Abraham and Sarah had to laugh.  Wouldn’t you?

Abraham was even willing later to offer up this special son Isaac to God when God tested him, because he trusted that God would bring Isaac back from death. There wasn’t anything that Abraham would hold back from God.  Throughout his life Abraham kept following and believing in God no matter what. 

God made a covenant with Abraham concerning these promises (Genesis 15:8-18) and continued repeating His promises later to Abraham’s son, Isaac and then to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.  Hebrews 11:18-19.  God made other provisions and blessed and set aside land for Ishmael, Abraham’s other son by Sarah’s maid, Hagar. (Genesis 21:12-13) And God kept repeating these promises down through the generations through Israel’s prophets. These promises from God to Abraham’s children, the Jewish people, were recorded again and again in the Bible. 

All of these promises were made a long time ago and at first they don’t seem to matter much to us today, do they?   But wait, here in Matthew 1:1 we read: “Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Jesus was also the promised Son of Abraham.  Galatians 3:16 says: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He said not, and to seeds, as of many: but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”  The promises that God made to Abraham were made to Christ.  Ezekiel 39:27-29 describes how God will bring Israel back to their land from where they have been among the nations and pour His Spirit on them and be their God.  More Bible prophecies concerning those original promises to Abraham tell us that Jesus will come back and set up His kingdom in the Promised Land with His people Israel. 

One of Abrahams’ promises from God was that Israel would become a nation and would bless all of the nations of the earth.  We Christians have been blessed with salvation through Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah. Our Bible is Jewish, our Savior was born Jewish, even our Christian faith is Jewish.  We have definitely been blessed by Abrahams’ Seed.

 In fact, Scripture tells us that if we have faith in Christ Jesus we are also sons and daughters of Abraham and have inherited the wonderful promises that God gave Abrahams’ children, Israel.  We have been given these promises through Christ.  Galatians 3:26&29 reads: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. … and if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  So along with the Jews, we too have inherited the promises made to Abraham, and we are also considered “sons of Abraham!” Since Abraham believed God, all of us who also follow in his footsteps and believe God are his “sons”.  There is an old gospel hymn that goes something like this: “Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham.  I am one of them and so are you.  So let’s just praise the Lord.”

Since Scripture says that God makes us sons (and daughters) of Abraham through Christ because of our faith, do we have even a little of the faith in God that Abraham had?  Will we leave our comforts like Abraham did and follow God anywhere not knowing where He is taking us? 

Abraham had to wait decades into his old age for his promised son?  And he died never seeing his children take over the promised land, Israel.  Many of Abraham’s blessings were realized after his death.  And some of his promises are still yet to come. And that might be the same with us.  Are we willing to wait till after we die for our prayers to be answered if that’s what it takes?  Are we willing to let God be God and trust His mysterious ways? 

Philippians 4:19 tells believers in Jesus: “My God shall supply all of your needs, according to His riches in Glory.”  It appears that God is giving us the same sure promises and blessings that He gave Abraham, if we have faith.  Let’s try to give back believing faith to God like our father Abraham did.  Let’s follow in Abrahams’ footsteps and have a faith that pleases God.     




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