Abraham was one of the most important people in human history. James 2:22-24, summarizes: “You see that faith was working with his works,…And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and Abraham was called a friend of God.”
But, who WAS Abraham?
Early in the book of Genesis, God called Abraham. At that time, he was not named Abraham, but Abram. Genesis 11:26, “Terah lived seventy years, and fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” Every person who was favored by God up to Abram, is included in Abram’s lineage. God was building on faithful characters, so it is no surprise that God chose Abram for the greatest promise and covenant.
Genesis 12:1, 5-7 “Now the Lord said to Abram, “ ‘Go from your country,…to the land which I will show you’. . .so they came to the land of Canaan… And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’”
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Genesis 17:5, 19 (NIV), “No longer will you be called Abram (meaning exalted father); your name will be Abraham (meaning father of many), for I have made you a father of many nations. … your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
Abraham’s most momentous act of faith was when God told him to sacrifice his son of promise, Isaac. God had told Abraham that the covenant would pass through Isaac. Consequently, when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham must have believed that God would resurrect Isaac.
Genesis 22:2, 9-12 (NIV), 2 “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’ . . .Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. 12 ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’”
Hundreds of years later, the descendants of Abraham, ISRAEL, were led out of Egypt to forge their nationhood in the wilderness. God’s plan was set in motion with his great promise to Abraham.
As the Apostle Paul wrote Abraham, “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’” Galatians 3:6-8 (NIV).
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29.