Hello Abraham. You are one of the most amazing people/profits of the Bible. The more I learn about you, the more I am amazed at how extraordinary a person you truly were. Most of us desperately long to have your incredible knowledge and faith. To have lived the very long life that you did (175 yrs.) and to stay dedicated to God in everything you did during that life, is to be admired and revered and certainly is a remarkable feat for any person.
I don’t know if you ever dreamed this would happen, but your life is so revered and respected that you are considered the patriarch of three major beliefs/religions; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. While we at God and Our Country don’t endorse any religion because our view is one God and thus one belief, there are millions of people, spread all over this Earth, who worship you as the leader of their particular beliefs.
Abraham, we first learn of your story and that of your descendants in the book of Genesis, in the Bible. We first read about you in Genesis chapter 11, although at this stage your name is Abram. There is very little biographical detail about you apart from the fact that you were a shepherd and came from Ur in Mesopotamia - modern day Iraq - after which you and your family moved, with your father Terah, to Haran.
As I’m sure you remember, this was a time when people believed in and worshipped many gods. Yet within this atmosphere, you answer the call of God and it is because of this that you accept and realize the reality of there being only one true God.
Did you know that according to Jewish tradition, there are a number of stories about you smashing your father's idols when you realized that there could be only one God of heaven and earth? Many have always wondered whether or not these stories were true, although this sounds like something you would have done, based on what I have learned about you. However, it doesn't really matter whether the stories are true or not because the Jews along with many other beliefs acknowledge that you were the first person to recognize and worship the one true God.
At the beginning of Genesis chapter 12, God asked you to leave your home and country and God makes you three promises: the promise of a relationship with God, numerous descendants, and land. This must have been truly surreal to have been given such grace and love directly from God himself, bestowed directly on you – how incredible!!! As we read in Genesis 12:1-3, “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.”
As great and humble as this must have made you feel, you had to wonder how God was going to accomplish such a feat. You knew that both you and your wife, Sarai (later called Sarah) were old and childless. You also knew that you would have to leave your homeland for this to happen and you really hadn’t had a close relationship with God and thus you didn't even know who this God was. These promises must have seemed to be an almost impossible set of promises for God to keep. But the amazing fact about you is that you just did what you were asked to do – not knowing this God nor what the future would be like – what incredible faith. You had seen no signs or miracles; you had no scriptures or traditions on which to go by, you just simply placed your trust in this nameless God. Thanks to you, and your unwavering trust in God, you have gone down in history as a man of tremendous faith. As a result of your faith and obedience, God changed your name from Abram to Abraham, meaning 'father of the people'.
Abraham, you trusted God and went to incredible measures to do the things He had asked you to do, through unthinkable struggles and challenges. And true to God’s word, everything had come to fruition just as God had promised. It is so understandable why you would wonder how you and Sarah would give birth to these descendants God had promised you as you knew Sarah was baren and you both were getting past the age of child birthing. But as promised, Sarah would give birth to Isaac, as God had said would occur.
You must have felt both blessed and relieved that this journey of testing your will and trust was fruitful and near its end. I’m guessing just as you started to relax a bit, the ultimate test of your obedience, was about to be thrust upon you. As we read in Genesis 22, God asks you to sacrifice your first son by Sarah - Isaac. After all these years of waiting and promises yielding no children, you and Sarah finally have a child together and God asks you to sacrifice him. Also, God had promised that your descendants would come through Isaac, so, how could this happen if you sacrificed him as directed. The level of faith you displayed is quite astonishing. But you trusted God! This had to be terribly difficult based on how old you and Sarah were and how difficult it was for Sarah to have provided you with this first child from her barren womb. But you trusted God! You took your son, as directed, up a mountain. At the very last minute, God intervenes and spares Isaac's life by providing another animal (a ram) for sacrifice. The test is complete and God once more reiterates His promises to you of land, descendants, and a personal relationship.
According to the Bible, Abraham, you were humanity's last chance, at least at that time in history, to establish a relationship with God. At the beginning of the Bible in the creation narratives, Adam and Eve set in motion a pattern of disobedience to God's commands which takes root – their acts had separated them from God. Even after the Great Flood, in which only Noah was saved, humanity once again comes perilously close to alienating themselves from their creator God. They build the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), a tower that seems like it will almost break through to the heavens, but God again intervenes and scatters the people across the earth.
Abraham, I believe these stories of people moving away from God, were written to explain to us all, why the world is like it is and why humans are like they are. These stories make us question; What is our place in the world? Why do we die? These stories address the basic questions of life and death, rather than being simply explanations about how the world was created. But thanks to you, I believe we get some clarity to these stories and why they are important to us, and were certainly important to you and Sarah during your time with God.
In Genesis 11, we see why you become the new hope through which God will try and create a people, to live by a certain set of values, which you certainly adhered to. I think it is important to learn this story of the uniqueness of your relationship with God. For the first time, we see the beginning of a genuine two-way relationship: God doing something for you Abraham, and you of course doing something for God. I think we can all learn from your relationship with God that the blessings of God are passed on from one generation to another.
The story of your life, Abraham, is about obedience to the will of God - not blind obedience, because the Bible stories tell us that you frequently challenged God and asked questions. But in the end, you trusted this God who had made such extraordinary promises and in so doing, formed a very special and personal relationship with God which, believers will argue, has continued through to the present day.
Abraham, I thank you for your story, and your incredible life. You had zero reason to believe in and trust God – you simply had faith – incredible, unfathomable faith. You were so very right to have had such faith, when everything would have indicated, to us common people, that we should doubt, question, and challenge, you still believed and had faith. Abraham, we need faith like yours in this world today. We are bombarded with worldly things that are not of our God. So, I pray that through you, God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, that God will remind of us of the faith of Abraham and put that incredible faith in all of us to see past this world and put all our trust and love in God. With faith like yours Abraham, we can all have a personal relationship with the one true God, and how wonderful, rewarding, and incredible that will be for all of us – our best and closest friend is God Himself, a lesson we learned first from you!!!
All Thanks to You and God, Abraham!!!
My sincerest regards,