In week two of our series, we have the chance to get to know Abraham. You’ll find the Biblical account of his life in chapters 11-25 of the book of Genesis, relating many episodes that reveal his character and his growing faith. His faith grew as he learned about God’s character and His faithfulness to keep His promises and carry out His plan. You’ll read about 3 chapters a day so that you can see the whole picture of Abraham’s life.
Abraham is called the Father of the nation of Israel and along with his son Isaac and Isaac’s son, Jacob, they are referred to as the 3 patriarchs. A patriarch is the name given to the head of a family or tribe in Old Testament times. God renewed the covenant He made with Abraham with each of these three patriarchs. Israel often referred to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The patriarch Abraham’s name is mentioned many times throughout the Old and New Testaments because of his great faith.
Abraham’s father was Terah and he lived in Ur in southern Mesopotamia. His given name was Abram (which means exalted father in Hebrew). God later changed his name to Abraham (meaning father of multitudes). Abraham married his half sister, Sarah. This fact will become important as you read through two specific events of his life. You’ll find the first one in today’s reading.
When Abraham was about 70 God spoke to him telling him to leave Ur, his homeland, and travel to a place He would show him. So the journeys of Abraham began as Terah, Abraham, Sarah and Lot, Abraham’s nephew, left for points unknown and went as far as Haran. They stayed there as Abraham’s father’s health was failing and five years later, Terah died.
At this point in the narrative we read the word’s God had spoken to Abraham.
Gen. 12:1-3 - The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Abraham’s life is a turning point in the Biblical account of mankind. From the beginning of Genesis to this point we’ve seen what God intended and how it was broken. With God’s call to Abraham, He began to reveal His plan to restore it all.
Abraham was 75 and Sarah 65 as they left to follow where God would lead. This is a man who’d lived in a house in the city for 70 years of his life, but was now departing on a never ending camping trip just because God said go! He took Sarah, Lot, all their belongings, herds, and servants and traveled hundreds of miles with little idea where he was being led. Imagine yourself as Abraham and think about what questions you might have had even to prepare for such a trip.
Abraham and company traveled hundreds of miles and finally arrived in Canaan where God promised the land would one day belong to Abraham’s offspring. Isn’t it ironic that Abraham and Sarah still had no children, but God said He would make Abraham into a great nation? God knew that Abraham would need to learn to totally depend on Him and this journey would be an important part of the process of building his trust. Abraham had to leave everything familiar to him to let go of his past and all he’d trusted in that life. Sometimes, total dependence comes when it is the only option.
Think of a time in your life, either past or present, that feels the most like you have to let go of everything you know or can control and totally depend on God. How does that make you feel? Name any fears it brings up and say a prayer surrendering them to God. What are some of the characteristics of God that can combat those fears of letting go?
As you read the account of the journey and Abraham’s life in Canaan throughout this week, notice:
- Where and when Abraham built an altar and worshiped
- When he followed God’s plan and when he came up with his own plan
- Every time God reminded Abraham of His promise to Abraham and his offspring
- How God was faithful to Abraham
- How Abraham’s relationship with God grew
- Genesis 11:27-32
- Genesis 12:1-20
- Genesis 13:1-18