INTRODUCTION: Abraham is look upon reverently by three of the great world religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. He lived about 4,000 years ago. He is one of the greatest men in the Bible. What makes him so important?



A. His early life (Genesis 11:27-32; Acts 7:1-4)
1. Abram, as he was called in his early life, was a native of Mesopotamia.
a. Abram was a native of Ur, one of the oldest known cities in the world. It was located somewhere near the Persian Gulf in the Fertile Crescent (Tigris, Euphrates river valley). It was one of the most highly developed regions in the world at the time. It was also characterized by idolatry.

b. His father was Terah, who lived 205 years. He had two brother, Nahor and Haran.

2. Abram received a called from God to leave Ur and go to Haran, located in the extreme northern end of the fertile crescent.
a. Genesis 11 does not record God's call of Abram. But Stephen specifies that Abram received a call from God to go to Haran with his family (Acts 7:2). Genesis tells us that Terah took Abram, Lot and Sarai (the early name for Sarah) and traveled to Haran.

b. There Haran died and Abram became head of the family.

B. His departure from Haran to Canaan. (Genesis 12:1-4).
1. While in Haran, God spoke to Abram again. In this famous call God gave one command and two promises.
a. He commanded Abram to separate himself from his family and go to a land which was unknown to him.

b. He promised that He would bless Abram and make his name great.

c. He promised that through Abram all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

2. He departed, taking with him his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, together with their possessions.
C. Abraham the Sojourner. (Genesis 12:6-14:24).
1. Abram traveled to Shecem in Canaan where God promised to give the land to both him and his descendants.

2. The land was struck with a famine, so Abram took his family to Egypt for relief. While there Abram demonstrated that he could have periods of weakness also. Fearing the Egyptians, he encouraged Sarai to pose as his sister. Pharaoh took her into his harem and was afflicted with plagues from God. Being forced to admit his sin, Abram took his family and departed once again for Canaan.

3. A dispute arose between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's (Genesis 13:1ff). Abram gave Lot the choice of lands. Lot chose the prosperous, well watered plains of Sodom.

a. The Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, again promising Abraham all the land of Canaan (verses 14-17).
4. The battle of the Kings (Genesis 14).
a. Lot got mixed up in a rebellion on the part of the plain city states, led by the king of Sodom and Gomorrah, against Chedorlaomer king of Elam. 

b. Lot was taken captive in battle by the Elamites and their confederates.

c. Abram heard of Lot's predicament and armed 300 of his servants and fought the Elamites, thus freeing Lot and his people.

d. It was as a result of this battle that Melchizadek met Abram and blessed him.

D. Abraham the Settler (Genesis 15-21).
1. This period of Abram's life seems more settled. He stays in Hebron much of the time during this period.

2. God renews the covenant and assures him that He will keep His promise and provide an heir from Abram's body. (Genesis 15)

a. God reveals that Abram's people will serve as slaves for 400 years in a foreign land (verses 13-14).

b. God gives the exact dimensions of the promised land which Abram's descendants will inherit (verses 19-21).

3. The Birth of Ishmael. (Genesis 16).
a. Sarai comes to Abram with a scheme to "help" God by providing an heir through her handmaiden Hagar. As with all
hum attempts to improve on God's plan, it ended in error and heartache.

b. From the moment Hagar conceived she looked down on Sarai. Sarai began to persecute Hagar.

c. Hagar flees from Sarai. The Angel of the Lord appears to her and tells her to return and place herself under Sarai's subjection. He also promises to multiply her descendants through her unborn child.

d. She returns and give birth Ishmael. He become the fathers of the Arabic people.

4. God again speaks to Abram. Abraham is now 99.
(Genesis 17).
a. Renews the promise of a great nation and people.

b. Changes his name to Abraham and Sarai's to Sarah.

c. Institutes the practice of circumcision of males and a token of the covenant of Abraham and his people with Jehovah.

d. God promise Abraham that he will make a great nation from Ishmael, but specifically promises that the covenant child will come from Abraham and Sarah. 

5. The destruction of Sodom. (Genesis 18-19).
a. Angels appear to Abraham on the plains of Mamre.

b. The promise that Sarah will soon have a son. Sarah laughs.

c. The Lord tells Abraham that he is going to send angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads for the cities.

d. The angels deliver Lot and his two daughters from the city. Lot's wife dies because she disobeys God and looks back at the cities' being destroyed. Lot's daughter get their father drunk and conceive children by him.

6. Abraham lies again. (Genesis 20).
a. Abraham and his family travel to the South to Gerar near Kadesh.

b. He again become fearful and pretended that Sarah was his sister.

c. Abimelech takes her as a wife. God send a dream to Abimelech revealing the truth.

d. Abimelech returns Sarah, gives Abraham material blessings and send him out from his sight.

7. The birth of the Covenant child (Genesis 21).
a. Isaac is born. His name mean "laughter" reminiscent of Sarah laughing on the plains of Mamre.

b. Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away. God cares for them.

c. Abimelech and Abraham make a treaty at the well of Beersheba.

E. Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22-25:18)
1. God puts Abraham to the supreme test. He commands him to sacrifice Isaac as an offering (Genesis 22).
a. Abraham obeys, being fully prepared to plunge the knife into Isaiah because God had commanded it. See Hebrews 11:17-19.

b. God renews His promise to Abraham.

2. Sarah dies (Genesis 23).
a. Abraham buys the cave of Machpelah for 400 shekels of silver.

b. This would later be Abraham's burial place.

3. The marriage of Isaac (Genesis 24).
a. Abraham sends his servant Eleazar to secure an wife for Isaac from among his kinsmen remaining in Haran. Isaac is now 40.

b. Rebekah consents to become Isaac's wife.

c. They both love each other. Rebekah is said to comfort Isaac after his mother's death.

4. Abraham's latter years.
a. Abraham marries again, to Keturah.

b. He has a number of children in his old age. These begin several new people.

c. Abraham gives his later children gifts, but gives Isaac the full inheritance.

d. At 175 Abraham dies and is buried in the Cave of Machpelah but Isaac and Ishmael.

A. Abraham teaches that we must have faith enough to step out in obedience to God's will.
1. Abraham's life was a life of faith. He went out not knowing where he was going, depended on God to bless him in a hostile land, and was willing to offer up the covenant son because God commanded it.

2. Abraham defined faith. See Hebrews 11.

3. We too must be willing to "trust and obey." See John 14:15; Hebrews 5:8-9, Mark 16:16.

B. Abraham shows the faithfulness of God's promises.
1. It took 25 years from the time of Abraham's call out of Haran to the birth of the covenant child for God to keep His word, but he did.

2. No matter how long it takes, and no matter how it appears to us that God is not working, or cannot work His will, God will still be faithful to His promises.

3. See 2 Peter 3:9-10.

C. We can never improve upon God's plans or methods.
1. Look at what happened when Sarah persuaded Abraham to "help" God by having a child by Hagar. It set off a chain of pain and heartache for all concerned.

2. See Isaiah 55:8-9.

D. Even those who are holy and righteous can sin.
1. Abraham committed the same sin twice. While he was being technically correct it was still an untruth to deliberately mislead others.

2. Romans 3:23

E. Abraham was the friend of God and was justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law of Moses.
1. See Romans 4:1-4

2. It has already been noted that Abraham was justified by obedient faith. Paul here states that Abraham was justified because of his faithfulness, and not by the deeds of the Law of Moses.

3. We, too, are justified by faithfulness, and not self-righteous law keeping. Obedience is necessary but we cannot work enough to deserve salvation.

F. Christ is the final and complete fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham.
1. Galatians 3:16- "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. 17- And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18- For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise."
G. Christians are the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
1. Galatians 3:26-28 "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27- For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
CONCLUSION: Abraham is probably one of the five greatest person who ever lived. We are still being influenced by his faith, his failings, and his far reach promises God made to him.

Copyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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