The Call of Abraham
Read Hebrews 11:8-10.
"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." (Genesis 12:1, NIV)
In what ways did Abraham demonstrate faith by leaving his country, people, and
father's household? What did he give up? Why did he give it up?
Promise of God
Read Hebrews 11:11-12. Though Abraham was too old and his wife Sarah was
"barren" (unable to have children), Abraham "considered him faithful
who had made the promise" (11:11). Who was "him" who made the promise?
God! What was the promise?
When Abraham was called,
God told him, "I will make you into a great nation
and all peoples
on earth will blessed through you" (Genesis 12:2-3).
After Abraham settled in Canaan, God told him, "I will make your offspring
(descendents) like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust,
then your offspring could be counted" (Genesis 13:16, NIV)
A while later, God told Abraham, "Look up at the heavens and count the
stars - if indeed you can count them
So shall your offspring be" (Genesis
About 24 years after
the call of Abraham, he still had no children through his wife Sarah. But God
told him, "You will be the father of many nations" (Genesis 17:4). God
also said, "I will bless [Sarah] and will surely give you a son by her"
The Questions of Abraham
In general, Abraham believed God's promise, but he sometimes wondered how it could
be fulfilled. Though Abraham had a deep faith, he experienced some degree of doubt
About 10 years after the call of Abraham, Sarah got tired of waiting on God. So
she suggested that Abraham father a child through her maidservant Hagar (16:1-2).
Abraham agreed, and "Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave [him] the name
Ishmael" (16:2, 15).
After she became pregnant, Hagar began to despise Sarah. Sarah blamed Abraham.
Abraham told Sarah "Do with her whatever you think best." Sarah "mistreated
Hagar; so she fled from her" (16:4-6), but Hagar returned after talking with
God (16:7-15). After Sarah finally had a son (Isaac), conflict arose again, and
Sarah persuaded Abraham to drive Hagar and Ishmael away, with God's okay (21:8-14).
God was gracious to Hagar and Ishmael (21:15-21), but hostility would continue
between the descendents of Ishmael and Isaac (16:12; 25:18).
What did Sarah's plan indicate about her "faith?" What did Abraham's
actions indicate about him? How well did Sarah's plan work?
Human faith may be weak at times, but the faithfulness of God is always strong
"Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for
Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in
his old age, at the very time God had promised him" (Genesis 21:1-2, NIV).
(This son was Isaac.)
The Faith of Abraham
Abraham remains a great example of faith. He is "the man of faith" (Galatians
"Abraham believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness"
3. Read Romans 4:18-25. What was the basis
of Abraham's faith? What was the basis of Abraham's righteousness before God?
How does this apply to us?
4. How is
God's call to Abraham similar to His call to become a follower of Christ? How
can Abraham's example of faith (in responding to God's call) apply to us as Christians?
Sarah got tired of waiting on God, so she did what was "expedient" or
"practical" (according to the world's standard) instead of doing things
God's way. In what areas of life do we sometimes use this approach? What can happen
when we do things our way (or the world's way) instead of God's way?
What helped motivate Abraham to persevere (keep going) in faith? What should motivate
and encourage Christians today, even when things look difficult or impossible?
How can we stay motivated and encouraged?
Read footnote 8. Biblical faith is in response to God's Word. Whatever your level
of faith, continue to listen to God's Word & respond appropriately. Review
and apply this handout.