Abraham: Hero or Villain
Tonight we are going to talk about one of, if not the central, figure before Jesus in the Bible. Abraham. He is considered the father of Israel. He and God had a very special and unique relationship. If you ever want to read the whole thing, it is in Genesis 12-25. We are going to talk about a specific part of Abrahams story that I think sums up his life really well.
Abraham has left his family and his home town. All he has ever known. He is now going on an adventure with a God he trusts but barely knows. Lets see a couple of the things the Bible says about Abraham.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
Abraham was a stud. He was willing to do whatever God asked him, even though his relationship with God was new. In fact, it was so new he hadn’t really seen a lot of people in a right relationship with God. But, there was another side to Abraham.
At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.
Pretty bad right? But we all mess up and make mistakes. The key is to not make the same mistake twice, right?
Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!”
I’m sorry what? That’s twice! And in between those, God makes a covenant with Abraham that He will make Abraham the father of many nations. That Abrahams descendants with be oppressed for 400 yrs, but they will multiply and return to this land and it will be their inheritance.
How many second chances have you gotten and messed up?