Abram means “exalted father”. Abraham means “father of a multitude.”

Abram was a descendant of Noah’s son Shem. Abram married Sarai and lived with extended family in Ur until age 70 at which time God commanded him to leave his country and come to a land that God would show him.

With this call, God promised many things to Abram, especially that in Abram “all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Abram obeyed God and moved with his family to Haran, and, later, to Canaan. Canaan was the land to which God called Abram.

Abram was mostly nomadic throughout his 90 years in Canaan and even venturing out of Canaan to Egypt while there was a famine in the land. Abram sought peace among the Canaanites whenever possible and even prayed to God for mercy toward Sodom and Gomorrah. When enemies in the region did arise, God saved Abram from harm.

Abram worshipped God and gave a tenth of his possessions to Melchizedek, a priest of God. Abram faithfully led those under his care.

Waiting years for fulfillment of God’s promise of descendants (”seed”), Abram and Sarai sought to have a son through a surrogate Hagar (Sarai’s servant) resulting in the birth of Ishmael and, soon, household conflict. Despite this failing, God remained faithful to his promises.

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham meaning “father of a multitude” and Sarai’s name to Sarah meaning “princess”. Through covenant promises (the Abrahamic Covenant”) God promised to give Abraham and his descendants all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, to make Abraham a great nation, to bless him, to make his name great, and, in Abraham’s seed, to bless all the nations of the earth. Abraham had faith in God that God counted it to him as righteousness.

Abraham faithfully obeyed God to leave Ur, trusted in God’s provision, believed God’s promises. Abraham’s faith that God would bless Sarah and him with a son long past their age of natural childbearing finally came to fruition when Abraham and Sarah were old. With Abraham at age 100 and Sarah at age 90, she gave birth to the son of promise, Isaac.

Years later, Abraham demonstrated the depth of his faith in God by his willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac concluding that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead to keep His covenant promises. The Angel of the Lord intervened at the last moment to save Isaac and provide an alternative sacrifice. Again, God affirmed His covenant promises to Abraham.

When Sarah died, Abraham purchased a field and cave of Machpelah near Mamre (in the land of Canaan) where he buried Sarah. This would become a burial place for much of Abraham’s family. Abraham then married Keturah with whom he had other children. However, only Isaac would remain in Canaan as heir of the covenant promises which continued after Abraham’s death at the age 175 years.

Genesis 12:1-4; 15:1,4-6; 17:1-8; 22:1-18 Acts 7:2-8 Romans 4:1-4 Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19

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