Abraham (Genesis 11:29 – 23), Part 1

Despite that Scripture was written over 1500 years by many authors and describes lives of innumerable individuals and the events of their lives, every account contributes to one story: the working of God among people and His plans to repair the damage done by their sin.

Abraham’s part in that overall story is significant!  He became the father of many nations.  LaBarge Smith, has done a wonderful job of detailing relationships and political backgrounds, providing context for each section that follows.

As we read the text what is clear is:

  • Abraham was called by God, Abraham mostly made right choices: when God said GO, Abraham went.
  • Often, the text records that Abraham, built altars to the Lord and “called on the name of the Lord,” which demonstrates FAITH.

Despite being a man of RIGHT CHOICES and FAITH, Abraham was fearful of kings.  Genesis 12:11-20 records the account of Abraham telling Sarai, his wife to deceive an Egyptian king and say that she was Abraham’s sister instead of his wife; which she did.  Sarai was Abraham’s sister but was also his wife.    The outcome: GOD INTERVENED, protecting Sarai.  But the king had already given Abraham sheep, cattle and donkeys.  The king “sent him on his way” much richer.  So Abraham benefitted even when he was doing wrong!

20 years later, Abraham repeats the same deception to another king, Abimelech (Gen 20:1-18), with the same result: God intervenes, Sarai was protected, and Abraham was given sheep, cattle, slaves and approval of the king to live anywhere in his country.

Although these accounts may be considered insignificant compared to major themes of Scripture, they give insight into God’s interaction with righteous and unrighteous people.  Although God cares about righteousness, often we believe that God “waits on high” to pounce on us for sins.  Instead, these accounts show His grace.

The heart of Abraham’s story involves God stretching his FAITH.  Although Abraham, BY FAITH, had left his homeland to go someplace unknown to him, although BY FAITH he had left significant choices to others (Lot), although BY FAITH he unselfishly rescues Lot’s family with a force much smaller than his opponents, when it came to the promise of God for a child — Abraham’s faith failed.  Now mind you, God had made the promise of a child to him LONG AGO.  And now he and his wife are OLD.  When Abraham went to God with his concerns, below is God’s response.  (page 29, The Daily Bible or Genesis 15.

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision,

Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.

But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”  An Abram said “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”  He took him outside and said “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

When Abraham was 99 years old God told him that the promised son would be born the following year.   .   .    .   .   .   .  And he was.

If you’re following the text, you know that Abraham and Sarai had devised their own plans to carry out what God promised–but these plans did not derail God’s plans.

A Takeaway:  God has a plan in place, we can devise our own plans, but they will not derail God’s plan.

What’s your takeaway?  Please share.

Favorite verse:  Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.  

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