Bible Character Series - Abraham

Bible Book: Genesis  12
Subject: Abraham

Abram was from the great metropolitan city of Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was located some distance south of where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers come together, and north of where they empty into the Persian Gulf. Abram was a Gentile, who became the first Hebrew. He was a rugged outdoors man, a simple beduin-type sheep master came to believe in the on true God in the midst of a completely pagan society. He came to know the God who created the world. Who could have imagined that this simple man who wrote no books, left no songs, gave no laws, held no political office, and received no title would become known forever as the friend of God" (Is. 41:8)?

Who could have imagined that millions would look to him as the father of the faithful?

This man, Abram, who name was changed to Abraham, was going about his business in Ur when Yahweh spoke to him and told him to take his wife Sarai, leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to a strange land He would show him. God promised him a new land, Canaan, the Land of Promise; posterity, his descendants would be as the stars of the heavens; and spiritual Seed, through whom all the peoples of the earth would be blessed.


A. God Called Abram to Leave His Home and Go to Canaan, a Strange Land without Security.

1. It is amazing that Abram came to believe in the one true God in a pagan land.

2. It is also amazing to consider the depth of his faith.

3. Abram demonstrated his faith by leaving the security of home for an unknown land.

One of the first questions we may ask is How a man from a pagan family in a heathen land came to know the one true God? If we can answer that question we may also have an answer to the question about how Melchizedek, king of Salem, came to know "the most high God."

It is mind boggling to think of the depth of Abram’s faith, especially when we consider the circumstances. The Hebrew people guarded certain traditions down through the centuries, and while those stories are not recorded in the Bible they, if true, would underscore the character and quality of his faith in the Creator. According to one tradition, when he was a lad of twelve, his father left him in charge of the shop where he made idols to sell to pagan people. According to that story, young Abram was showing the idols to a customer when he stopped and asked him, "How is it that you, a man of sixty years, have come in to buy a god that we made yesterday?" There is another tradition that tells how the twelve year old boy picked up a club and began attacking the idols, shattering them as he hammered away at them with his club. His father, according to this story, came in and stopped him and rebuked him for destroying hose gods. Abram said, "If they be gods, let them defend themselves."

B. Now, I Would Like for Us to Consider the Lofty Call Extended to Abram (Gen. 12:1-3).

"I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you"

(Gen 12:2-3).

1. God promised to make of him a great nation.

2. He promised to bless him.

3. He promised to make his name great.

4. He promised to bless all peoples of the earth through him.

5. He also promised to bless those how blessed him (as he has blessed America)

6. He promised to curse those who treated him and his descendants with contempt.

7. The One through whom the world would be blessed is Jesus Christ.

C. Abram Was Called to Live on the Highest Moral and Spiritual Plain.

1. He obeyed Yahweh and began the long journey to the Land of Promise.

2. Wherever he stopped he built an altar and called on the Lord, Gen. 12:8.

D. Abraham Obeyed the Lord, but He Was not Perfect, 12:10ff.

1. When he arrived in Canaan a famine in the land tested his faith.

2. The Lord had called him to leave Ur and go to Canaan, the Land of Promise.

3. He obviously had not thought he would find a famine in the Land of Promise.

4. Instead or building an altar, Abram fled to Egypt.

E. When They Arrived in Egypt, Abram Concocted a "Half-Truth".

1. Abram introduced Sarai as his sister, not his wife.

a) She was his half-sister.

b) This may have been a half-truth, but it was a whole lie.

c) When Pharaoh would have taken her for his wife the Lord revealed the lie to him.

d) The pagan king rebuked the righteous Abram and ordered him to leave Egypt.

2. Abraham built no altar in Canaan after he left Bethel, and none in Egypt.

3. When people backslide they stop worshiping the Lord.

4. Abram experienced revival when he returned to Bethel, Gen. 13:4.

a) That is the place where he had built the last altar and worshiped the Lord.

b) Bethel means "house of God."


A. Abram Was a Man of Generosity and Nobility, Gen. 13:5-13.

1. When his servants and those of his nephew Lot could not get along he let Lot choose the Territory he wanted, and then Abram went in the other direction.

2. God renewed the promise concerning is posterity, Gen. 13:14-18.

a) God again promises a son to Abram.

b. Abram built and altar in Mamre and worshiped the Lord.

B. Abram Was a Courageous, Strong, and Unselfish, 14:1ff.

1. When Lot was captured by the four kings of the east, Abram rescued him and refused to keep the spoils of war for himself.

2. Abram gave a tithe to Mekchizedek, "priest of the Most High in Salem, Gen. 14:18f

C. Abram He Was a Man Who Practiced Intercessory Prayer,f. Gen. 18.


A. After Years of Waiting, Sarah Lost Faith in the Promise of a Son, 16:1ff.

1. She persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her hand made and have a son with her.

2. Hagar’s son Ishmael was born when Abram was eighty-six years old.

3. The hostility between the son of Hagar and the son of Sarah would rage for all time.

When we ask the Lord to act on our behalf, and then don’t see results as soon as we might expect them, common sense might tell us that He expects us to do our part. There is certainly some truth in that. The danger comes in our trying to do His part! Sarah had given up hope that God would bless her with a son, so she decided to help him out a little. The rest may be history, but there are a lot of theological issues involved. The world has never known a people who have been more inclined to hate another people group than the descendants of Ishmael. Let me stress here that the issue is not racial. Both the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac are Semitic people. Religious hatred can be the bitterest kind of animosity.

Even after oceans of blood have been shed, the children of Ishmael, both Arabs and other Muslims, are still determined to "drive all Jews into the sea." The hatred was fanned into a full flame by Mohammed, and the Arab peoples continue to stoke the fires of that hatred today. Arabs from many nations seek the destruction of the nation of Israel and the death of all Jews, as well as all those who support Israel.

God sent His angel to care for Hagar and Ishmael. Think what a difference it would make if the Arab peoples of the world would acknowledge that fact. He provided for, and protected their ancestor.

B. The Lord Would Honor the Promises He Had Made to Abram, Ch. 17.

1. Abram was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to Him again, 17:1a.

2. Abram would have the son the Lord had promised.

3. His Seed would bless mankind.

C. The Lord Gave Abram Instructions, 17:1bff.

1. God said, "Live in My presence and be devout", Gen 17:1.

2. God made a covenant and sealed it with the law of circumcision, 17:10.

3. The Lord changed Abram’s his name:

"Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations" (Gen 17:5).

4. Abram means exalted father, but Abraham means father of a multitude.

5. Sarai (Contentious) became Sarah, meaning princess.

6. Sarah conceived and bore a son who was named Isaac (Laughter), 21:1-3.


A. God Told Abraham to Offer His Son Isaac to Him on an Altar, 22:1ff.

1. God gave specific instruction, 22:2.

2. Abraham obeyed God explicitly , 22:3ff.

B. At Mt. Moriah, Abraham Prepared an Altar and Placed Isaac on It, 22:6-10.

1. Isaac asked about the sacrifice.

2. Abraham assured him God would provide a sacrifice.

3. When Abraham was fully committed to sacrificing Isaac, God intervened.

C. The Lord Provided Substitute for the Sacrifice, 22:11-14.

1. The Lord provided a ram for the sacrifice.

2. This speaks of Jesus, who died in our place (Substitutionary Atonement).

3. There is another picture here: God raised up Isaac, as though from the dead,

4. This also speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after He died for us.


There can be little doubt that as Isaac watched that ram being sacrificed, he was thinking, "That could have been me" - and it almost was. Abraham was fully prepared to sacrifice his own son on that altar. Two centuries later, another Father offered His only begotten Son on another altar, this time on top of a skull shaped hill outside Jerusalem. I thank God He did not withhold His only Son, but let Him die in my place. There was no ram to offer in His place that day, no last minute substitute. Isaac willingly let himself be placed on that ancient altar by his father. Jesus willingly offered Himself on the cross as the once for all substitute for sinful man. He who all the time loves us, once for all died for us. All who believer in Him will have their sins covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. That is Substitutionary Atonement.

There is another message here, and the New Testament stresses the connection. When Abraham lifted Isaac from the altar of death, the Lord was giving us a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who actually did die, but was raised on the third day.

Now, for just a moment, stop and look on the cross of Jesus, "The Old Rugged Cross". Now, think of Jesus hanging from that cruel Roman cross. Now, repeat the word in your mind and in your heart: "That might have been me. In fact, it should have been me!"

Jesus died on that cross as a sacrifice for your sins and mine, but only if we believe in Him with all our hearts. We cannot muster up that kind of faith, only God can provide it. This is a faith that commits us to Him forever. Jesus is the answer to our sin problem, and the fulfillment of a key part of the covenant God made with Abraham. Jesus is God’s answer to man’s greatest need. If you will trust Him now, His blood will cover your sins.