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Autor: anton • September 29, 2010 • 2,852 Words (12 Pages) • 745 Views
God selected Abraham to be the father of the His people. The bible does not directly state why God selected him, but after reading scripture one can conclude that God selected Abraham due to his great faith. Abraham's life lends itself as an example to all who desire to walk with God.
Abraham was one of three sons born to Terah in the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. Research conducted by Elmer Towns indicates that Abraham was younger than his two brothers, Nahor and Haran, although the bible does not specifically indicate that (56). The exact date of his birth cannot be determined, but it is estimated to have been between 2100 and 1800 B.C. (Davis, 159). He was born after the flood and through the family line of Shem, ten generations from Noah. Through his ancestry Abraham can be traced back to Adam and God's creation. His given name at birth was Abram which means "Exalted Father" (Alter, 73). Later, God would change his name to Abraham, meaning "Father of the Multitudes", in order to amplify the call that God had placed upon his life (Towns, 108-109).
Growing up in Ur was not the ideal location for a believer in the one true God, Ha Elohim. Ur was located in what is now southern Iraq near the waters of the Persian Gulf. It was a Babylonian city which meant it was a polytheistic society due to the fact that the Babylonians worshiped many gods. Exposure to this surrounding lifestyle may have been the impetus behind Abraham's father serving other gods as revealed in Joshua 24:2. The influences of idolatry were evident in Abraham's upbringing; however the bible does not mention that Abraham himself entered into such practices. It can then be inferred that Abraham was able to resist the pagan beliefs and influences of his surroundings and remain steadfast in his belief in Ha Elohim.
God certainly recognized that Abraham was strong in his faith and as a result selected him to carry out a greater plan in life than just living among idolaters. God was initiating a plan that paved the way to salvation for future generations (Hayford's Handbook, 6). As revealed in Acts 7:2-3, It was in Ur that God first called upon Abraham to leave his family and current city-dwelling lifestyle to follow Him in obedience to a land that was yet unrevealed.
Abraham did make the first move of his journey by relocating to Haran in conjunction with his father and other family members. Genesis 11:31 says that Terah moved the entire family from Ur to Haran, minus his son Haran, who had previously died. The bible does not indicate how long Abraham lived in Haran, but it does say that he remained there until his father's death. At this juncture in Abraham's life, God again called out to him.
RESPONSE TO GOD'S CALL
In reaction to God's call, Abraham departed Haran enroute to Canaan. At 75 years of age, he abandoned his way of life assembled his wife, his nephew Lot, his servants, livestock, and material possessions and moved in accordance with God's leading. Abraham's obedience to God serves as an example for all believers to emulate. He left his "comfort zone" of living to follow God's spoken promises even though there was definite uncertainty as to how they were going to come to pass.
Abraham sojourned in faith as God led him on his journey through the land of Canaan. He demonstrated a pattern of reliance on and fellowship with God during his trek by building altars at stops along the way. Genesis 12:7 points out that God spoke to Abraham in Shechem, promising the land to his descendants and Abraham constructed an altar. Genesis 12:8 shows that Abraham communed with God after moving from Shechem to Bethel by erecting an altar. Abraham's movements through Canaan appear to be at God's leading and as a result of their communion, but God does not yet give him possession of the land. The land through which he and his family are traveling is occupied by other inhabitants. A key point here is that while Abraham and his family are traveling as immigrants throughout a foreign territory, God protected them from harm. This protection provides evidence that God protects those that are obedient in response to His direct calling.
After a period sojourning through Canaan, Abraham traveled into Egypt. The bible does not state that Abraham was instructed by God to go into Egypt, but it does state that there was a famine in the land. A conclusion could be drawn that Abraham through his own reasoning abilities elected to travel into Egypt as a direct result of the surrounding famine. Keeping in mind that he had livestock and servants, besides his immediate family to feed, his circumstances might have persuaded him in his decision making to go to Egypt. Evidence indicates that Egypt was not suffering the effects of the famine at this point (Davis, 175-176). Therefore, Abraham may have looked at it as the country which would provide refuge and alleviate the pressing need for sustenance.
One school of thought is Abraham lacked faith in God's ability to provide the needed resources to care for himself and his family, servants and animals. This school of thought points to the lack of mention in the bible of Abraham worshipping the Lord by constructing an altar as was his practice earlier in his journey (Towns, 68). Another school of thought holds that Abraham exercised wisdom and foresight by moving his family to Egypt to procure the resources needed to take care of his family (Davis, 176). This could be based upon the fact that God gives us the intellectual ability to determine courses of action to meet our circumstances and reliance upon Him to lead us down the right path. There is no reference to Abraham's relationship status with God during this period.
While in Egypt, Abraham felt the need to deceive Pharaoh by saying that his wife, Sarai, was his sister. Although, this was technically true, since Sarai was his half-sister, he was guilty of telling a half truth. Elmer Towns points out that this can be seen as a result of a distant relationship with God represented by the lack of an altar being constructed for worship (68).
Although God had shown that He was more than able to protect Abraham from harm in the past, Abraham revealed a weakness in his faith. He succumbed to the thought that the Pharaoh would kill him if he learned that Sarai was his wife. Because of the lie, Pharaoh did bring Sarai into his house. As a result of the relationship, Abraham directly prospered in livestock, finances, servants, and the like. It is noteworthy to mention that Hagar became a maid servant of Sarai at this time. (Later