Abram/Abraham, renamed by God from the former to the latter name, was born about 4000 years ago – about 400-500 years after The Flood. Even though God had started the world’s civilization anew with the righteous family of Noah, in just a few hundred years darkness was again spreading over the earth. The rebellion at Babel displayed the Bad Intentions of humanity to worship themselves instead of the One True God, and The Lord responded by causing Confused Languages amongst the people so that they would be frustrated in this evil desire and spread out to fill the Earth, as He had commanded.
In Genesis 12 and 15, God established the Covenant of Abraham, calling him to leave his homeland and travel to the “Promised Land”, and declaring that through his obedience and faith the entire world would be blessed. Indeed, God said, Abraham’s descendants would be as “Numerous as the Stars” – though at that time he was childless and very old! This remarkable promise was to be ultimately fulfilled through Abraham’s Descendant, the Son of God Jesus Christ, who would come in the line of Abraham and fulfill the covenant by giving His life on the Cross to bring the offer of the free gift of salvation to the world.
Now by this point, it seems that Abraham would perhaps best be considered a Christ-figure. Indeed, he is known as the “man of faith” and truly was a God-honoring man overall. However, in the Bible there are a few episodes that showcase his humanity, and thus we can also consider him a “Christian-figure”- someone who although is ultimately in right relationship with God by His grace, is still battling and struggling with sin each day on this side of eternity.
First of all, when Abraham was in Egypt on his way to the Promised Land of Canaan, because of his wife Sarah’s Beauty, he feared that he would be killed and so he got into a Deepening Lie in which he claimed that Sarah was not his wife but his sister.
Then, after Abraham’s nephew Lot was captured and Abram’s Army miraculously rescued him, his family and possessions by the grace of God, Abraham still doubted God’s promise of being provided offspring and tried to take matters into his own hands. He conceived a child, Ishmael, not with his wife Sarah but with his servant Hagar. This was not God’s will and eventually resulted in Sarah’s Jealousy and Hagar Dismissed. God would continually require Abraham to learn to Trust Him and His timing.
Abraham did have success in this on occasion. In one drastic instance recorded from Genesis 14 through Genesis 20, Lot made the Bad Decision of choosing to separate from Abraham and live in Sodom, a gravely wicked place. Though Abraham was Pleading for the City to be spared, there was no one but Lot found to be righteous in the place, and except for him, all from Lot’s Wife to Bera, King of Sodom were killed though God’s Destroying Angels.
The roller-coaster of Abraham’s life continued, reminding us of the highs of obedience and lows of sin that we experience throughout our walk as Christians. Abraham repeated his earlier lie of calling Sarah his sister instead of his wife and allowing her to be taken by an evil ruler (this time Abimelech king of Gerar), causing a plague upon the king and his house that Abraham had to repent of and pray for healing for.
But perhaps the very highest high of Abraham’s life, what best makes him known as the “man of faith”, is the extraordinary event recorded in Genesis 22. After Sarah miraculously conceived and had a son, Isaac (named according to the Laughter Sarah expressed upon hearing God’s promise of innumerable offspring amidst her barrenness and old age), God gave Abraham the ultimate test. He told Abraham to sacrifice (kill) Isaac – the very child he had waited his entire long life for, and the very child through whom the entire promise depended!
Having faith that God could raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19), Abraham simply obeyed – as did his son. The Meekness of Isaac and the Faith of Abraham was gloriously displayed in a beautiful picture of the Cross, which this event stunningly foreshadowed. God stopped Abraham’s hand just before he slaughtered his one and only son, whom he loved, and promised instead to provide the sacrifice – a ram caught in the thicket in the immediate, and His own One and Only Son, Whom He Loves, in the eventual. Just as Abraham laid his son on wood, Jesus, the ultimate Child of Promise as the Son of God, voluntarily laid upon the wood of the Cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. And as if all of this was not amazing enough, the location where this occurred – Mt. Moriah in Abraham’s time, was the same area in Jesus’ day 2000 years later where He was crucified – Golgotha!
What can we say? God is so awesome!!
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