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Summary: Sometimes even godly people do ungodly things.

Heroes of Faith—Series 1

Abraham: Godly People Doing Ungodly Things

Genesis 12:10-20; 20

Heroes. The American Century Dictionary defines a hero as a “person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc.” Who are our heroes? Children have always made heroes of policemen and firemen, and since 9-11, they have become all our heroes for the very reasons stated in the definition—nobility and courage. After all, they rushed in when everyone else rushed out. At the mention of heroes, how could we ever forget the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday in our military to protect the freedom we have in our nation. Maybe your hero was a movie or television star. Maybe a sports star. Maybe a parent, or a teacher, or if you are like Waylon and Willie and the boys, your heroes have always been cowboys, “cause there never at home, and they’re always alone, even with someone they love.”

We all have heroes, and those heroes are someone we want to emulate, someone whose character we admired, someone we looked up to. Well, the Bible is full of heroes. Now these people are not necessarily someone whose character we want to admire or emulate (heaven knows some of them were real scoundrels), but the characters we will discover in these next series of sermons will inspire us to courage, faith, and hope as we explore their lives and their relationship with God. Some of these characters will be well known, others not so well known, but they are heroes by any definition. They are heroes of faith.

The first hero we will discover is Abraham. Abraham’s story of faith can be found primarily in Genesis 11-25, but Abraham’s name is mentioned over 100 times in the New Testament alone. Jesus used Abraham as an illustration throughout the gospels. The Apostle Paul uses Abraham as the great illustration of faith in his letter to the Romans. So who was this Abraham?

Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. Abraham, who was first known by the name Abram, was called by God to:

“Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3

And Abraham did what the Lord asked him to do. Abraham was chosen by God to become the father of the Hebrew nation, and was the chosen vessel for God’s blessing to come upon all people. Surely we can learn a few lessons of faith from “the” one God chose to bless the nations. Just for the sake of simplicity, I am going to refer to him as Abraham, though we will find out that God changed his name from Abram to Abraham. Abraham has such a prominent place in biblical history that few would doubt that he was a godly person, but we will discover very early in his life that even godly people can do some pretty ungodly things. Perhaps that is the first lesson we can learn from our heroes of faith—that heroes are people just like us. They struggle to live godly lives, and they don’t always make the best decisions—just like us. See what we learn from Abraham.

We pick up his story in Genesis 12:10-20. Listen:

At that time there was a severe famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to wait it out. [11] As he was approaching the borders of Egypt, Abram said to Sarah, "You are a very beautiful woman. [12] When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ’This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ [13] But if you say you are my sister, then the Egyptians will treat me well because of their interest in you, and they will spare my life."

[14] And sure enough, when they arrived in Egypt, everyone spoke of her beauty. [15] When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to their king, the pharaoh, and she was taken into his harem. [16] Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, cattle, donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

[17] But the Lord sent a terrible plague upon Pharaoh’s household because of Sarah, Abram’s wife. [18] So Pharaoh called for Abram and accused him sharply. "What is this you have done to me?" he demanded. "Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? [19] Why were you willing to let me marry her, saying she was your sister? Here is your wife! Take her and be gone!" [20] Pharaoh then sent them out of the country under armed escort—Abram and his wife, with all their household and belongings.

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