‘Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.’– Galatians 3:7-9
Abraham is a Bible character favorite. He was a good guy who grew in his faith and obedience in God throughout the Old Testament. Jews trace their descent back to him. He is the proclaimed the “patriarch” of 3 religions billions of people follow. Abraham was even mentioned in the Quran as an important prophet.
This chapter is all about the plans of God and His promises. God constantly declares “I will.” Chapter 11 was all about the plans of man.
Before his name change, Abraham was called Abram. God promised him two things in verse 2 (God has a perfect track record on keeping his promises):
- “I will make of you a great nation” (A key point for later studies: God promises to show Abram this land.)
- “I will bless you and make your name great” (His name is honored by Jews, Muslims, and Christians.)
Who doesn’t want these things? Talk about the best promises one could receive. AND, as an added bonus, God promises to curse anyone who dishonors Abraham and bless those who bless Abraham. In verse 3, Abraham is also made into a blessing for “all the families of the earth.”
[Something to think about: The United States was one of the first modern nations to grant full citizenship to Jews and is one of the world’s most dominant countries.]
God told Abram to get out of Haran. The country was now filled with idol-worshipers and temptations. We must leave our sins and set our eyes on God in order to make true change (Psalm 119:115; Acts 2:40). As stated before, Abram grew in his faith. He did obey God by departing Haran, but instead of leaving his kindred, he brought his nephew Lot. Later on, Lot will be nothing but trouble for Abram. Listen to God people… especially when He promises us such great things!
Abram did not settle in this promised land. He passed through it (verse 6), he moved to the hill country (verse 8), he journeyed on (verse 9). The Canaanites were occupying the promised land! We learned about them and Canaan a bit in Genesis 10. At this point, they would not be a welcoming people to Abram. This is not the happy reveal we were hoping for, but God appeared to Abram as a reminder of His promise to him. In response, Abram built an altar to the Lord as a place to offer sacrifices, show submission, and worship to God. We, as Christians, have an altar today where we meet at remember all that God has done for us (Hebrews 13:10).
Famine overcame the land, further testing Abram’s faith in God’s promises to him. Abram worried, and wanted to feed his family and his people. He found it easier to trust God’s “big picture” and “happy ending” promises than for his immediate needs. Too often we take day-to-day issues into our own hands. We must sit back, pray, and ask God to help us make the right decisions.
In order to protect his family, Abram told beautiful his wife, Sarai, to act as his sister so they could get food by befriending the pagan Pharaoh in Egypt. Sarai was actually his half-sister, but half-truths are whole lies! God protected Abram and his wife by plaguing Egypt. He did not want Sarai’s chastity to be violated by pagans. Abram did eventually suffer consequences. He was rebuked by the Pharaoh, and later on in Genesis 16 a slave girl from Egypt caused trouble for Abram’s family. As Christians, we have deliverance from our many sins through the sacrifice of God’s son, Jesus Christ. We have been saved too!
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:5-14