The Incredible Journey–the Life of Abraham

The other day a friend of mine asked me if I could carve any of our 45 Presidents on Mount Rushmore, which four would I pick.  I told him it would be pretty hard to pick any that are not already there.  Washington of course would lead the pack.  Lincoln certainly had the toughest job of any president in the past 200 plus years (imagine leading a nation through a civil war resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths!).

Now imagine you could carve whoever you want onto your own “Biblical Mount Rushmore”!  What Old Testament characters would you put up there?  I immediately think of Moses and Elijah, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Jeremiah, King David (I would probably carve about a dozen people’s faces up there…).  As far as I am concerned, however, Abraham would lead the pack.

Why Abraham?  Abraham was called the “friend of God”.   He is mentioned more than any other Old Testament saint in the “hall of faith” of Hebrews 11.  He is the father of the Jewish and Arab peoples (and some other ethnic groups that have long since vanished).  He is revered by literally billions of people in the three monotheistic religions of the world (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).  And in scene after scene, Abraham wonderfully portrays for us the story of a man who, though frail and faulty in his faith sometimes, still keep his eyes singularly focused on following God.

We’ll go deeper into the life of Abraham in the coming weeks, but just take a quick glance at Genesis 11:26 through 12:6.  We meet “Abram” and “Sarai” as they are wandering with a large family parents and cousins from “Ur of the Chaldees” (modern day Iraq) to “Haran” (near the border of Syria and Turkey). Their names are later changed to “Abraham” and “Sarah”–but that’s another story.  The main thing for now is that they start off as pagans!  Yep, Joshua 24:2 tells us that at the beginning they “worshiped other gods”.  They were not looking for God….but God was looking for them.

And He calls Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.  God tells him to get up and go to a land that he’s never been to before; but God would lead him there. He promises Abraham three things:  He would give him and his descendants land forever (the boundaries of this real estate is later described in detail and re-promised some nine more times in Genesis).  Secondly, He would have plenty of descendants (as in the Jewish and Arab people).  Lastly, He tells him that He would make Abraham great and that through him all the people of the earth would be blessed.  More on all that later, but for now, what do we learn?

The life of faith is not easy.  God does not show me the big picture all at once.  He wants me to trust Him step by step.  And a life of faith takes time.  Abraham did not see all these promises fulfilled that day.  Or even a few years later.  But just wait and see….Abraham will not be disappointed, and neither will we if we follow the One who called him.

Posted by Jeff Sanders