Even if you’re not a Jesus, God, or church person, you know about Abraham. You may not know exactly why he is considered a biblical hero, but you know about him, nonetheless.
Abraham wasn’t perfect; he made plenty of mistakes. However, Warren. W. Wiersbe claims, “Next to our Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the greatest example of faith in Scripture is the patriarch Abraham.” With this sort of comparison, it seems like we should pay more attention to the man of God Abraham was. That’s what we aim to do with today’s blog.
For this blog series, we are referencing Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s book Life Sentences often. Life Sentences: Discover the Key Themes of 63 Bible Characters highlights a key sentence summing up the life of 63 Bible characters, including Abraham. We highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book for your own reading. It will work well for devotional reading or study.
The key sentence Wiersbe chose for Abraham comes from Hebrews 11:8.
“By faith Abraham, when called … obeyed.”
He Obeyed by Faith
Ultimately, what you need to know about Abraham is he was a man who walked by faith and not by sight. When we hear stories of Bible heroes who walked by faith, it is easy to disconnect from them. We choose not to see them as human beings just like us. Abraham, however, was an ordinary man before God chose him to become the father of many nations.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into 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 peoples on earth will be blessed through you”
– Genesis 12:1-3
What makes Abraham a role model for you and me is when God spoke, He listened and obeyed – even when things seemed like they might not be in his favor. As Wiersbe explains, “No matter what God called him to do, he believed that God’s calling involved God’s enabling, and he obeyed God by faith.”
He Led His Family
As we read Genesis, it is clear Abraham led his family well. They followed him wherever he went, and he taught his children about God. Not only does he lead by example when it comes to his faith, but his love and care for his family is also something to be admired as well.
In fact, the first time the word “love” is used in the Bible it is used to describe Abraham’s love for his son. Similarly, the first tears in the Bible come when Abraham mourns the death of his wife, Sarah. As Wiersbe describes, “Abraham’s tears weren’t a mark of unbelief or defeat; they were evidence of his great love for his wife.”
He Cared and Interceded for Others
When Lot draws closer to Sodom, and God tells Abraham He will destroy the city, Abraham does not give up hope for Lot and the people living in sin. As Wiersbe explains, “Knowing what kind of people lived in Sodom, most of us would have been happy to see them wiped out, but Abraham interceded for the city and the people he had witnessed to when he rescued them.” It is so easy to turn our backs on people who are making poor choices or hurt us, but Abraham chose to pray for them instead.
He Was Faithful in the Waiting
Abraham lived to be 175 years old. During that time, things did not happen quickly. Many times he had to wait years for God to do what He had promised. During those years, mistakes were made, including Sarah scheming for a child through other means. However, God did give Abraham and Sarah a son, but it wasn’t until Sarah was 90 years old.
“We walk by faith, but we also wait by faith, and the waiting is as important as the walking.”
He Gave God His Heart
The story that stands out most to many is when Abraham obeyed God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. God asked Abraham to sacrifice the very son he had waited so long for and loved so deeply. It’s hard to wrap our minds around this story, yet when God tested Abraham’s faith, Abraham, once again, listened and obeyed.
By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.
– Genesis 22:16-18
God asked him to give up the thing he most valued, and Abraham was willing to do so. As Wiersbe points out, “God didn’t want Abraham’s son; He wanted Abraham’s heart.” Abraham loved God, and God loved Abraham. Even today, God calls us to surrender those things that keep our hearts from Him.