Lesson 8 - Abraham

    Suggested Bible Reading: Genesis, Chapters 12-17

    Abram Is Chosen By God

    Many generations passed since the Tower of Babel. All through the years, God did not forget his promise to send a Savior to the world. But still there were very few people in each generation who believed that God would send a Savior. One man who did believe God though was Abram, who lived about 4,000 years ago. His name was later changed to Abraham. Noah had three sons named Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Abram was a descendant of Shem. He grew up in a town called Ur, in present day Iraq. Abram married Sarai, but at this time they did not have any children.

    The Bible says in Genesis 12:1, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” God was continuing His plan to tell the world about the coming Savior. God chose Abram because He knew he would listen, believe, and obey Him. God's plan for Abram was to leave his family and his country. This was a big step. He could not use GPS or talk to a travel agent. He did not even know where he was to go. He had to trust God to lead him one day at a time. His unknown destination was the land of Canaan, which is modern day Israel.

    The Bible says in Genesis 12:2,3, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” First, God promised Abram that his descendants would become a great nation. At this time, Abram was 75 years old, but he still had NO children! This was great news to Abram, because it meant he would finally have a child. But, his wife was past childbearing age, and he was confused as to how this would happen. We need to remember that God is all powerful. Whatever He promises, He can and will do, as we will find out in the next lesson.

    Second, God said Abram's name would become great. Does anyone know his name today? Of course! All of today's Jews, Muslims, and Christians know his name. They represent over half the world's population. Over 4,000 years later, God is still keeping his promise to Abram that his name would be great.

    Third, God also promised to bless Abram and protect him by His power. He would become an important man and other people would receive great benefits and help. God promised that he would prosper those who helped Abram and bring evil on anyone who treated Abram wrongly.

    Fourth, God made an important promise to Abram about the coming Savior. God had told Abram, "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." This promise includes your family as well as mine. How can that be? Abram has been dead for 4,000 years. How can this promise bless us today? Do you remember God promised to Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, that He would send a Savior? Well, God promised Abram that one of his descendants would be that Savior. It is the Savior who is willing to bless all the families around the world by defeating Satan for them.

    How Did Abram Become Right With God?

    The Bible says in Genesis 12:4-5, “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Abram believed and obeyed God and left his homeland to follow God’s leading to an unknown country. Abram’s faith caused him to obey God’s Word! God led him to Canaan, which is present day Israel.

    The Bible says in Genesis 12:7, “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.” God promised Abram that He was going to give the land of Canaan to Abram's descendants. In response, Abram built an altar unto God to show his gratefulness. Abram knew the correct way to approach God and be accepted by Him. He offered a blood sacrifice on the altar as God showed Adam and Eve. Abram's sacrifice was clear evidence that he recognized the need to have a substitute pay the death penalty for him. He believed God just as Adam, Abel, and Noah did. Most of the neighbors and relatives that Abram had lived with in his homeland had worshipped idols. Even Abrams's father, Terah, was an idolater. They did not trust, love, or obey the one true God of the Bible.

    Our ancestors have deliberately turned away from God. They worshipped the things which God created instead of God himself. However, God did not abandon his plan to rescue mankind from Satan's power and everlasting punishment. God was planning to use Abram to create a nation of people through whom the Savior would come into the world.

    One night, God took Abram outside his tent door and told him to look up and see if he could count the stars. God promised Abram, even before he had a child, that his descendants would be as many as the stars. The Bible says in Genesis 15:5,6, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Three words in the last sentence are full of meaning. The word righteousness describes God's perfection. God is flawless, holy, and pure. No person is perfect, and therefore, no person is righteous before God. This is a great problem for mankind. No person can live with God in Heaven, unless he is righteous. How can a man become righteous before God? This verse tells us how to become righteous.

    The word counted means credited. When a person deposits his money in a bank, the bank credits the money to his account. When Abram "deposited" his faith in God, God "credited" his faith as righteousness. This means that when Abram believed God, God considered Abram righteous. The only way to become righteous in the eyes of God, is by believing God’s Word! As God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins, so God clothed Abram with His own righteousness.

    The third important word is believed. Often the words belief, faith and trust are used interchangeably. True belief is based on fact and not feelings. When you sit in a chair, you trust that it will hold you up. You observe that the chair is sturdy and you rest yourself upon it. Abram rested his faith on the fact that what God promised will come to pass. God said, "You will have a son." Abram believed that God cannot lie, and for that reason, Abram believed he would have a son, even though it was humanly impossible.

    What Does Faith Look Like?

    Faith can be illustrated in the following way. Many years ago there was a man who stretched a rope across the top of a very high waterfall. Crowds of people would gather to watch as the man crossed from one side of the river to the other with only a small rope for his bridge. One day, he brought a wheelbarrow and asked the crowd how many of them believed that he could push the wheelbarrow across the river, over the waterfall. Everybody in the crowd excitedly answered that they believed he could push the wheelbarrow across to the other side. Then he asked for a volunteer to sit in the wheelbarrow while he pushed it to the other side. No one volunteered. Everyone said they believed he could do it, but no one wanted to get in the wheelbarrow. They didn’t REALLY believe that he could do it. If they had truly believed he could do it, they would have had no problem with volunteering to sit in the wheelbarrow and let him push them across. Faith affects our actions. Abram's faith went beyond just saying so with his mouth. He staked his life and reputation upon it. He did the things God wanted him to do because he believed God.

    When God looked at Abram, He did not see a disobedient and evil person. Abram was still not perfect, but because he believed God, God considered him to be righteous. How can a person gain righteousness equal to God? Abram found the answer to be very simple. He believed God. God records every act of disobedience a person makes in his life and deposits it into their personal “account." God is righteous, and in order to live with Him in Heaven, a person needs to have God's righteousness. The problem is that every person has so many recorded acts of disobedience in their account, they can never erase them by their own power. When a person believes God, God will "credit" his account with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God no longer sees the disobedience recorded. He only sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been given to those that believe on Him.

    The Bible says in Genesis 17:5,15, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee ... And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.” God changed Abram’s name to Abraham because God promised he would become the father of many descendants. God also changed Sarai's name to Sarah meaning "mother of nations.” It seemed impossible that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. Abraham would be 100 years old, and Sarah 90 years old. This promise did not depend on their human ability, but on the Almighty power of God who made the promise.

    Study Questions

    1. God slowly forgot about His promise to send a Savior to the world.
    2. God chose to bless Abram because …
    3. How can your family be blessed through the promise that God gave Abram?
    4. Abram’s faith caused him to God’s .
    5. Why did Abram offer a blood sacrifice to God?
    6. It is not possible to believe God and worship idols/ancestors at the same time.
    7. A person can do enough good religious deeds (get baptized, attend church, give money, etc.) to make himself righteous in the eyes of God.
    8. Abram was not perfect, but because he God, God considered him to be .
    9. True saving faith will affect your actions.

    After you have completed all questions and written any comments, please click on the button below to e-mail this lesson back to us for review and to receive lesson #9.

    Do you have any questions or comments about this eighth lesson?

    Please give us your name and e-mail address so we can send the next lesson to you.

    Please make certain your e-mail address is correct!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Quick security check to minimize spam