There is so much we Christians can learn from Abraham, “friend of God” and “father of faith.” He who was once an unbeliever became the father of all who believes. Abraham was blessed beyond his wildest dreams because he demonstrated faith and obedience to God that few can boast of. What can we learn from him?
Abraham’s faith was remarkable. He believed in God at a time when there was no one to preach the gospel to him, no one to inspire him, no one to accompany him on his faith journey, not even his wife, Sarah. Nevertheless, as Thomas did, he had faith in the Lord, an extraordinary thing when we know how difficult it is for man to believe without visible and tangible proofs.
1. God will sometimes ask us to take risks and to sacrifice the things we are most attached to
The Bible tells us that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren. She had difficulty giving birth to Isaac, the couple’s only legitimate son, whom she had when she was a hundred years old. There is no need to say it was a miracle! Nevertheless, it is this child that God chose to take from Abraham:
“God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, the one you love, Isaac; go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will tell you” (Genesis 22:2).
When God wants to test us, He will often ask us to give or sacrifice what we hold dearest to prove our love, obedience, and complete submission to Him. This is why we must learn to give God our best, just like Abel, who offered the firstborn of his flock as an offering, and whose sacrifice was accepted at the expense of that of his brother Cain.
2. To have faith is to obey without thinking or even discussing
After hearing God’s command, Abraham did not say a word. He did not try to discuss or negotiate, did not even express what he felt. The Bible tells us that he immediately went to prepare his things for departure:
“Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two servants and his son Isaac. He split wood for the burnt offering, and set out to go to the place that God had told him.” (Genesis 22:3)
How many of us would have adopted Abraham’s calm and peaceful attitude when we heard this news? Many would have sought to argue with the order, express their displeasure, or even refuse to sacrifice their child, which is understandable. Abraham’s obedience was exemplary and should inspire us. By this, we must understand that God’s plans are sometimes incomprehensible to our human reason. His purposes may seem mysterious, if not crazy. But we must still trust in Him, for His plans are always for our good (Romans 8:28).
3. Faith is believing in God’s miracle without even seeing it
When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son in obedience, he had no idea what God was up to in secret. When Isaac pointed out to his father that they were missing an animal to sacrifice, this is what he said:
“My son, God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering himself. And they both walked together” (Genesis 22:8).
Abraham took a step of faith without knowing that God would perform a miracle. He demonstrated this faith in his actions, but also in his words! His whole being trusted God, and that is sometimes what we miss when we ask God to meet our needs. Even before we see God extend His hand to our situations, we must learn to take that first step of faith to demonstrate our full trust in Him.
4. Faith is always rewarded
When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, an angel appeared to stop him. He had passed the test God had given him with flying colours.
The angel said, “Do not put your hand on the child or do anything to him, for I know now that you fear God and have not withheld from me ‘your son, your only son.’ Abraham looked up and saw behind him a ram held in a bush by its horns, and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son” (Genesis 22:12-13).
His reward was beyond anything he could have hoped for. Not only would his only son retain his life, but God also made him an outstanding promise:
“I swear by myself, O word of the Lord! Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will bless you and multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and the sand on the seashore; your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in your seed because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 12:17-18)
Abraham would be blessed and all his descendants. What a tremendous promise! When we obey God and show unwavering faith, He always rewards us for our actions. Abraham chose to obey God, not to be blessed, but simply out of love for the Lord. His act was selfless because he did not know that God had such a beautiful surprise in store for him. If we, too, give God our best and trust Him, His response will be swift, and they will be a true source of blessing for us.
Abraham is a key character in the Bible. He was called the friend of God, Father of the nations, and especially of faith. He is a true example for us Christians who aspire to please God. Like him, let us learn to show exceptional faith. Let us stop challenging God’s plans for our lives but obey Him in everything. We will never be disappointed in His rewards!