Promise, Call and First Test of Abraham

I. The Age of the Patriarchs can be seen through an overview.

A. There are four “Chief Fathers.”

1. Abraham -- Called by God to be the “Father of many nations”

2. Isaac -- The “Promised Seed” from whom the nation Israel came

3. Jacob -- The father of twelve sons who produced the tribes of Israel

4. Joseph -- The Prime Minister of Egypt and responsible for preserving the budding nation

B. There are several major factors to remember.

1. Abraham was given a covenant that applies to all who are saved by faith in the work of God through Jesus Christ, and becomes the example of “Salvation by Faith” (Romans 4:1-16; Galatians 3:9-24).

2. Isaac is used as the Old Testament example of the willing sacrifice (Hebrews 11:17-19) and is the genetic head of Israel -- the first Jew (Romans 9:7).

3. Jacob is used as an example of God’s sovereign right to choose those whom He wills to serve Him (Romans 9:10-13), fathers twelve (12) sons through four (4) wives, and becomes known as “Israel” (Genesis 32:28; 35:22).

4. Joseph becomes an example of the steadfast, suffering faithful who trust God to accomplish His “good” through them (Genesis 50:20; Acts 7:9-18).

II. The early life of Abram is outlined by his call, testing, and growth.

A. The migration into Haran is initiated by Terah, Abram’s father.

1. Terah leads Abram and Lot to Haran.

a. Haran is ~ 600 miles North and East of Ur
b. Near modern border of Syria

2. Abram has married Sarai, his half-sister.

a. Genesis 20:12 – “daughter of my father”
b. She was barren, unable to bear children.
c. This occurs before the “Call” by God.    

B. Abram is given a great promise (Genesis 12:1-4).

1. The promise is unilateral and is extended to the whole earth.

a. Genesis 12:2-3 (blessing) and 15:5-6 (multitudes)
b. Acts 13:23 (the Savior) and 26:6-7(12 tribes)
c. Romans 4:16 (all the seed)
d. Galatians 3:14-18 (to THE Seed) and 3:26-29 (all saved)
e. Ephesians 3:6 (Gentiles, fellow heirs)
f. Hebrews 9:15 (promise of eternal inheritance)
g. 1 John 2:25 (promise of eternal life)

C. Abram begins to obey (Genesis 12:5-7).

1. His initial move was to Haran (11:31-32).

2. His arrival in Canaan is affirmed (12:5-7).

3. His life provides an allegory for salvation.

a. He "departs"...repents, changes direction, left behind, and settled the issue.
b. He "took"...visible action that affects others
c. He "went forth"...made corrections and changes in lifestyle in an effort to obey
d. He "came into"...actual identification and commitment.

D. Abram built an altar to the LORD (Genesis 12:8).

1. The LORD “appeared” to him.

2. This is an actual human form speaking.

a. Can be none other than “The Word”
b. Can be none other than the Lord Jesus (pre-incarnate)
c. May have been Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18)

1) Hebrews 7:1-4

2) “Without father, without mother”

3) “Without descent”

4) “Having neither beginning of days nor end of life”

E. Abram “Called on the name of the LORD”.

1. Enos (Genesis 4:26) was the first to do so.

2. Abram is the next mentioned (12:8).

F. What does this involve?

1. Elijah (1 Kings 18:24) at Mt. Carmel

2. David: Psalm 116:13, 17

a. “Take the cup of salvation”
b. “Offer…sacrifice of thanksgiving”

3. Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13

a. “Whosoever calls…shall be saved”

G. Abram failed the first test...Trust me!  (Genesis 12:8-20).

1. He let his faith focus on circumstances, not promises.

2. He let his fear and worry produce sin in his life.

3. He suffered tragic consequences.

a. He grieved God.
b. He weakened his own faith and the faith of Sarah.
c. He became a poor testimony to his nephew Lot.
d. He caused the pharaoh to be afflicted.
e. He picks up Hagar the Egyptian handmaid.
f. He provided a bad example for his son, Isaac.
The Patriarchs


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