2016-09-03 - Abraham
Patience Series ~ Part 3 ~ Originally Published 2011-09-24
In this devotional, we will look at one of the early Biblical patriarchs - Abraham. In Genesis 12:1, God called Abraham to leave his country and people, and to go to a new land. And furthermore, God told Abraham, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you." (Genesis 12:2, NIV) Abraham, who was 75 years old at the time, took his wife Sarah and left as God had instructed him. When Abraham reached the land of Canaan, God appeared to Abraham again and told him that this would be Abraham's land.
Things seemed to be going well for Abraham. God had promised Abraham that He would bless him with a new land and a nation of descendants. Abraham had seen the new land and was impressed. Then Abraham's patience was tested. First, the land was inhabited by the Canaanites. Second, the land was suffering from a great famine. So Abraham and Sarah were forced to go to Egypt for food. There the Pharaoh took an interest in Sarah. God intervened, and inflicted the Pharaoh's household with disease, until the Pharaoh returned Sarah to Abraham.
After leaving Egypt, Abraham returned to the land of Canaan. Several times over the next 25 years, God appeared to Abraham and promised him that "all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring." (Genesis 13:15, NIV) One time, when God appeared to him, Abraham asked God how he would be the father of a great nation, when he was childless. God promised Abraham that he would father of a great nation. Genesis 15:6 tells us that "Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." (NIV)
Many years later, God appeared again to Abraham and Sarah and promised them a son. At this time, they were both over one hundred years old. Abraham and Sarah both laughed. But God fulfilled his promise, and Isaac was born the next year. When Isaac was a young man, God told Abraham to take Isaac, to go offer a sacrifice. It turned out that God wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. When Abraham demonstrated that he was going to obey Him and sacrifice Isaac, God intervened and stopped Abraham.
As the Bible tells us, Abraham did become the father of a great nation - Israel. But more than that, Abraham is "the father of all who believe." (Romans 4:11) Abraham's patience was tested many times. He was asked to believe that God would fulfill his promise to Abraham. At times, Abraham's patience was lacking. He even laughed at God. What can we learn from Abraham? When our patience is tested, we can remember how Abraham was tested, too. We can see that just as God fulfilled His promises to Abraham, He will fulfill His promises to us.
Richard Moser, Jr
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.