Summary: In this sermon, we look at Abraham's first steps of faith as God makes promises and gives commands to Abraham.
A. Let’s imagine for a minute that you are lost in the desert.
1. Your throat is parched and your tongue is dry.
a. You tell yourself, “Just one sip of water, I’d give anything for just one sip!”
2. Then you see something up ahead – a water pump is sitting there in the middle of the desert.
a. As you stagger closer, you see something hanging on a strap from the pump handle.
b. What is hanging there is a canteen and with the canteen is a message that says: “Beneath your feet is all the fresh, cool water you will ever need. But the pump will not work unless it is primed with water. The canteen contains enough water to prime the pump, but if you drink any of the water first, the pump will not work.”
3. You take the canteen in your hand, shake it, and feel the water sloshing inside.
a. Now what do you do?
b. Should you believe the promise written on the sign?
c. What if it is a hoax?
d. What if there is nothing but dry sand beneath the pump?
e. What if the only water for miles is in that canteen?
f. If you trust that sign, you could be pouring your life away.
4. A decision must be made.
a. Will you drink from the canteen or will you take the only water you have seen for days and pour it down the throat of that pump?
b. Will you put your trust in what you can touch and see, or will you have faith in a promise?
B. Abraham was a man who believed the promise of God.
1. Many times in his life, Abraham came to a point where all he had to go on was the equivalent of a canteen and a promise.
2. Yet, as we will see in this series, he was repeatedly willing to believe God’s promise, so he poured out his canteen and primed the pump of God’s blessing in his own life and in the lives of his descendants.
3. Abraham was an ordinary man with an extraordinary willingness to place his trust in the promises of God.
4. Nevertheless, as we will see, as extraordinary as he may have been, he was not perfect in his journey of faith, and like him, we won’t be perfect in our journey of faith, either.
C. Last week, we started this series by discussing the benefits of studying biographies, especially the biographies of biblical characters.
1. Today, I want us to look at the beginning of Abraham’s story and to see his first steps of faith.
2. As I said last week, the life of Abraham teaches us much about the matter of walking with God by faith.
3. And since that, after all, is the goal of the Lord for all His children, to walk by faith, Abraham can teach us how to do just that.
I. The Story
A. Abraham was originally called Abram, and it was not until years later that God changed his name to Abraham (his name change will prove to be deeply significant as we will see when we get to that part of the story).
1. Hopefully, we won’t be confused if I call him Abraham throughout our study.
B. The Bible says: This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.
32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.
1 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. 2 “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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.