Summary: This chapter of The Story covers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I chose to focus on Abraham, pointing out that he influences generations after him by his faith.
1. The Story -- an overview of God's story -- last week in the "Book of Beginnings" we looked at Creation to Noah
a. God Creates
b. God Re-Creates
2. This Week -- Abraham -- Isaac -- Jacob
3. A Nailed Down Faith
An 84 year old grandmother fiercely maintained her independence and lived alone in the old family home. Her 4 children lived in the same town, but she rarely called them except in emergencies. It was with some apprehension, therefore, that her grandson drove to her house one morning in answer to her phone call. When he arrived, she said she suspected that there was a burglar in her bedroom closet, since she had heard noises in there the night before.
"Why didn't you call me last night?" the man exclaimed.
"Well," she replied, "it was late and I hated to bother you, so I just nailed the closet shut and went to bed."
That's an example of the type of faith that we can see in Abraham. A faith, that nails the doors of doubt shut and then calmly leaves the rest to God. His faith so impressed God that Abraham earned the title: "The father of all who believe" (Romans 4:11)
4. Focus will be on Abraham but all he was charged to do was forwarded to his descendants
5. In fact, through Abraham we have the beginning of the great nation of God, Israel and origin of Messiah
I. The Call to Commence (Genesis 12.1-3)
[Map of Abraham's Journeys]
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."
A. Abram was Called:
1. FROM -- his environment of idolatry
[Jewish tradition about Abram -- as a child he saw the folly of idolatry; he lived in a land of idolatry and Terah was an idol maker; one day as a youth, Terah needed to go away on business and left Abram in charge of the idol shop; Abram took a stick and broke all of the idols but one, then laid the stick in the hand of the idol; when Terah returned, he asked Abram who had broken the idols -- Abram pointed to the idol with the stick and accused it.
2. TO -- New Land; New beginnings; New orientation to GOD; A New Mission
a. Land shown to him by God -- necessity of faith and openness to God
b. Alternate translation possibility:
by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves could be
"All families in the earth will be grafted into you."
Puts us in Memory of:
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." Galatians 3.8
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. Romans 11.17-18
3. Mission of Abram was to GO and share the good news of the ONE God among the idolatrous nations
B. Abram Became -- Abraham -- Name Change
1. Abram = Exalted Father; Abraham -- Father of Many
2. Physical nations -- Isaac and Ishmael
3. Converts are also "children"
No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth. 3 John 4
Case for Abram's Converts -- Genesis 12.5
Normal reading -- 5 And Abram took SarŒai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.
An alternative translation -- all the SOULS they had MADE in Haran
II. The Call to Covenant -- Genesis 15
A. Formalized Agreement
1. Land promise -- descendants, et al (15.7-16)
2. Blood Path and implications (15.17-21)
B. A Fouled Partner (Imperfect)
1. Message of hope for us -- Abram was not perfect, but was faithful
2. Examples of his imperfections:
"Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in MesopotaŒmia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.' 4 Then he departed from the land of the ChaldeŒans, and lived in Haran. Vs. Genesis 12.4 -- 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.