Summary: The importance of family as seen in the life of Abraham

Intro: We have just sung “Bind us Together”, and often we are anything but bound together: in the church, and in our families. We have spent some time this morning praying for our families, and I encourage you to continue to pray for your family and the families of the church throughout this week. Families need prayer. We face great trials

The story is told of a boy who came home with a bad report card, and showing it to his father said, “I don’t want to get you worried, but the teacher said if my grades don’t improve, somebody’s going to be in BIG trouble! Or there’s the little boy who came home from school and sheepishly showed his parents his report card. His father exclaimed, "You got all "F’s"! To which the boy replied, "I know it’s bad, dad; what do you think the problem is: heredity or environment?"

What kind of report card would our family get this morning if we were graded? Straight A’s? Would we want it graded on a curve? Or would we be staying in at recess? Let’s talk about someone who would have passed the test in regards to family: Abraham.

I. Abraham was committed to meeting the needs of his family.

This seems like something each one of us should do by second nature. It should be natural to us to think that we would want to meet our family’s needs; yet in our changing society, we see this happening less and less.

I Tim. 5:8 - If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

We see in our society many who spend their paychecks on alcohol, or the lottery, or on frivolous luxuries, only to let their families suffer. Yet, this has never been God’s plan.

Abraham is a great role model of one who was committed to his family. He was committed enough to bring along his father and nephew when they left Mesopotamia to come to the land God called him to. He is committed enough to peace that he separates from his nephew, offering him first choice of the land. He is committed enough that he recruits his own army to go save his nephew when he is taken captive. He intercedes with God to spare his nephew when God comes down to destroy Sodom.

Abraham provides for his family, moving them to Egypt when there is a great famine in the promised land.

Abraham provides for his family, maintains peace in his family, leads praise of the Lord in his family, building altars and worshiping. Abraham is a man committed to meeting the needs of his family.

**This morning, just how committed are we to meeting the needs of our family?

-not every need is met by money. There are many working moms, who spend hours each day at a job to bring in a second paycheck for the family-- yet, often what their family really needs is a mom at home, praying for them, meeting them when they come home from school.

-some parents give their kids $50, and drop them off at the mall for the afternoon, teaching them that you can spend money any way you want, and that mom and dad are too busy to spend time with their children.

-some parents withhold love and affection when children don’t measure up; letting them know that they are only loved when they measure up to our standard or ideal.

##Let’s make sure we are expressing love in positive ways in our family: to our children, to our parents, to our brothers, sisters, in-laws, whoever. Even if we have been wronged or shown a bad example, we can break that chain of wrong behavior and replace it with mercy and kindness!

II. Abraham was committed to the future of his family

This is where I really want us to look this morning. If you have your Bibles, turn to Genesis 24.

READ 24:1-21 ------- Act out the story while reading it!

What part does a parent have in the person their child marries? Well, if your name is Abraham, quite a lot! He is not about to let his son marry anyone from the area where they are living. God has called them to the area, but they are not going to intermarry with the idolatrous peoples living there.

*Remember that as Christians, we are in the world, but not of the world.

What kind of job are we going to do in teaching our children what a godly marriage partner looks like? It is our responsibility to let them know that it is not a matter of whether a guy has great muscles or a girl has a nice figure. Magazines and advertisements tell us if we look a certain way or drink a certain drink, we will meet Mr. Right. There is much more to marriage than outward appearances, I’m sure we all know this. But are we teaching this to our children? It’s a responsibility we need to emphasize.

Why does Abraham not want to marry the Canaanites? First of all, they are idol worshipers. They do not worship God, but rather worshiped idols carved by human hands.

Second, the Canaanites were cursed by God. Look back at Genesis 9:25 sometime. After Noah got drunk, one of his sons, Ham, defiled him. This curse was given to his son. "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave."

Abraham knew that God’s plan was to bless Isaac; yet Abraham also knew that the Canaanites were to be cursed. He wanted to see God’s blessing on his son, so he sends his servant away to find a wife suited for his son.

Look at verse 6 - Eliezer is charged not to take Isaac back to Mesopotamia. Why? Because Abraham knew that he was in the place where God wanted him to be. He did not want to see Isaac give up the blessing of God. Abraham knew that every place the sole of his foot tread upon, that land would be given to his son Isaac. To send Isaac back to Mesopotamia would be to cause his to miss all the blessings of God.

##How good a job do we do as parents in preparing our children to receive the blessings of God. It starts first with our being where God wants us to be; then it involves passing on that blessing of God into their lives. Often we can’t pass on a legacy because we are not where we should be in our relationship with the Lord.

Abraham said if the woman would not come, the servant is free from his responsibility. It is better to lose a potential wife than to lose a promised son. I’m sure there are many parents who wish they could lose a son or daughter in law. Yet, it starts with training our children to seek God in their quest to find a mate.

This is the outstanding thing we see repeated over and over through this chapter. God is the one working everything together to accomplish his plan. The narrator sees God’s hand in verse 15 -- before Eliezer stops praying, God is already sending Rebekah. In verse 26 Eliezer attests to God’s intervention. In verse 50 Laban attests to God’s working. In verse 58 we see Rebekah showing her faith in God’s working by going against her family’s wishes and returning with Eliezer.

##Do we really commit ourselves to prayer for God to work in our family’s situations?

If you have a wayward child, commit to praying daily for them

##--Dale - deer hunting -- Billy Harper: fishing, -beer, cussing --

--Keep praying for your family situations: God is the God of the impossible!

III. Abraham’s legacy lives on through the lives of his children

the greatest impact of our lives will be seen after we die! Abraham lived a good life, but the impact of his life lives on through the centuries. First, let’s look at the legacy he passes on to his sons.

*He teaches them honor. In chapter 23, we see Abraham going to great efforts to provide a lasting resting place for Sarah, his wife. After his death in chapter 25, Abraham’s sons bring him back to this same cemetery and bury him. Ishmael, his outcast son, and Isaac, the son of promise, come together to honor their father.

*Abraham leaves a legacy of blessing. God blessed Abraham with a good long life and great riches. In 25:11, as it talks about Abraham’s death, it says After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi. Isaac lives on to receive blessings because of the faithful legacy of his father.

--Ishmael, even though he was a son of Abraham’s scheming to bring about God’s plan in his own way; Ishmael is still blessed by God. Gen 17:20 - And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

*The triumphs and tragedies of our lives are often passed down to our children. One of the things we have read about in the news this year is the son of Sam Sheppard, years after his father’s death as a criminal, he is trying to clear the name of his father. The shadow of the father has haunted the son.

Let’s look at Abraham. Wherever Abraham goes, he builds altars to the Lord. Now lets look at Isaac. Look at 26:25 - he also builds altars and worships the Lord. The legacy of faithfulness is passed from father to son.

--If you don’t go to church, don’t try to send your child: it doesn’t work.

--If you cheat on your taxes, don’t expect your child to be honest: it doesn’t work.

--If you are lazy, don’t expect your child to be industrious: it doesn’t work.

But children often pick up on our bad points. When Abraham goes down to Abimelech, he says Sarah is his sister, and it gets him in trouble. Isaac, years later, also goes down to Abimelech, and he says the same thing, Rebekah is his sister. He also gets in trouble.

*What kind of legacy are we going to leave for our children?

Concl: How pleased would we be if our children turned out just like us? How pleased would God be? Let’s commit ourselves to making a difference in the lives of our children -- as well as our brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, whoever. Let’s be committed to seeing our family as a whole follow the ways of God. It starts with a commitment on our part to be the followers we should be.

-Will we provide for our families?

-Will we pray for the future of our families?

-Will we pattern a good example for our families to follow?

Shall we pray . . .