The God of Abraham

Just completing a careful study of the life of Abraham in Genesis, the
student sat back in his chair, looked at his carefully prepared notes, and asked himself,
“What do you think of Abraham now?” He thought for a long time, and then
answered, “My opinion of Abraham has not changed very much. He’s nothing but a
man as he himself stated, ‘I who am but dust and ashes.’ (Gen. 18:27) But now I
am filled with wonder as I think of the God of Abraham. He’s the One Who made and
shaped Abraham who ‘by faith, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had
received the promises offered up his only begotten son.’ (Heb. 11:17) Only God could
so mold and shape a man that he could reach such a state of submission to God. Thus I am
filled with wonder as I reflect upon His patience, His power, His longsuffering, His
wisdom, His love, all of which were poured out on Abraham to make Him into a vessel fit
for God to use.” Doubtless, this student’s observation has much to say to us in
this day. We make too much of the man, too much of the servant, and not enough of the God
who made the servant into His vessel. “We are very much disposed to reason upward,
from ourselves to God, instead of downward, from God to us.” David could say, “O
Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, You who set Your glory above
the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength, "What
is man.? You have made him, You have crowned him, You have made him, How excellent is Your
name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8)

Years after Abraham’s death, God appeared to his son, Isaac, and
said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you.”
(Gen. 26:24) These words should have provided Isaac with the greatest consolation. The
life of Abraham clearly demonstrates, as no other man before him, the blessing of
God’s presence in our life down here on earth. Let us examine the steps in
Abraham’s life and note the vitality of God’s presence in each of these steps.

1. In the Beginning God (Gen. 1:1). God is the beginning of every
person who has ever developed into a vessel for God. Without God’s initial
intervention, Abraham would have remained Abram of the Chaldees, an idolatrous, wicked,
and uneventful man who would now be forgotten in the annals of history along with all his
other contemporaries of that land. “Your fathers, including Terah, the father of
Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and
they served other gods.” (Josh. 24:2) “The God of glory appeared to our father
Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia.” (Acts 7:2) “Moreover whom He predestined,
these He also called; whom He called these He also justified.” (Rom. 8:30)

O Master, when Thou callest, No heart may dare refuse;

Tis honor, highest honor, When Thou dost deign to use

Our brightest and our fairest, Our dearest, all are Thine;

Thou Who for each one carest, We hail Thy love’s design.

2. The God of Patience (Rom. 15:5). In the beginnings of every man used
of God, progress moves very slowly. Whether we think of Abraham. Jacob, Moses, David,
Elijah, or others, God’s patience was especially displayed in the days of their early
training, although certainly His patience was needed every step of the way. Abraham
delayed his calling by lingering in Haran. But God patiently waited. Then he came out of
the land of the Chaldeans and DWELT in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, HE
(God) moved him to this land in which you now dwell.” (Acts 7:4) In this same
chapter, Genesis 12, Abraham went down into Egypt to escape the famine. God miraculously
preserved him from harm during his foolish departure and patiently waited for him to
return. “Then Abram went up from Egypt;to the place where his tent had been at the
beginning;to the place of the alter which he had made there at first. And there Abram
called on the name of the LORD.” (Gen. 13:1-4)

O Master, let me walk with Thee in lowly paths of service free;

Tell me Thy secret; help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care.

Teach me Thy patience! still with Thee in closer, dearer company,

In work that keeps faith sweet and strong, in trust that triumphs over wrong.

3. The Almighty God – El Shaddai (Gen. 17:1). In a number of
subsequent events we learn how God fully convinced Abraham that what He had promised HE
WAS ALSO ABLE TO PERFORM. (Rom. 4:21) He gave to Abraham the strength of humility in the
conflict between his herdsmen and Lot’s. (Gen. 13) Allowing Lot to have first choice
he discovered that strength which comes to those who wait upon God for directions. God
gave to Abraham the strength for conquest. (Gen. 14). He delivered Lot from a
confederation of kings far superior to the number of his own men. He learned the strength
that comes to those who seek to unselfishly help others, even if they do not deserve help
or will not be grateful for the help. In this same chapter Abraham was also given moral
strength to refuse the riches of the king of Sodom. He learned the strength that comes to
one who looks to God and not to man for his reward. After attempting by his own strength
through natural means to fulfill God’s promise of an heir, Abraham learned about
strength that comes through supernatural ways rather than being provided by the ways of
nature. (Gen. 16, 17) He learned the strength of dependence upon God.

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my
trials here; trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or
for fear.”

4. The God of Fellowship – God is Light (1 Jn. 1:1-7). As we
turn the pages of Abraham’s life to chapters 18 and 19, we begin to feel the close
relationship that had grown between God and Abraham. We were told previously that Abraham
“believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Gen.
15:6) On this basis, God approached Abraham in an intimate way and we become aware how
much God desires to share of Himself with man. In chapter 18, God actually appeared to
Abraham in human form at the door of his tent. In the heat of the day, while Abraham was
seated, all human activity had ceased, God made His appearance. It is difficult for God to
manifest Himself, even through the Scriptures as He does today, to those who are so busy
with the activities of the day that their minds and hearts are deeply engrossed with their
own personal interests. On this visit, God revealed to Abraham His plans regarding
Abraham’s heir and also His plans regarding the wicked city of Sodom. We discover
that Abraham learned from God things that He would never have learned anywhere else.

C. H. Mackintosh comments, “Had Abraham visited Sodom in order to
obtain information about its facts, had he applied to some of its leading intelligent men,
to know what they thought of Sodom’s present condition and future prospects, how
would he have been answered? Doubtless, they would have called his attention to their
agricultural and architectural schemes, the vast resources of the country; they would have
placed before his eyes one vast, mingled scene of buying and selling, building and
planting, eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage. Doubtless, too, they would
never dream of judgment, and if anyone had made mention thereof, their mouths would have
been filled with infidel laughter. Hence, then, it is plain that Sodom was not the place
in which to learn about Sodom’s end. No; the place where Abraham stood before the
Lord, afforded the only proper point from whence to take in the whole prospect. THERE, IN

Although it is not mentioned in Genesis, other writers recognized that
Abraham had become “The Friend of God”, a title that fills our hearts with
wonder and amazement. King Jehoshaphat, as He prayed to God, called Abraham, “Your
friend forever”. (2 Chr. 20:7) God Himself addressed the children of Israel as
“the descendants of Abraham My friend.” (Isa. 41:8) Centuries later, James
stated that he was called the friend of God. (Ja. 2:23) “What is man that You are
mindful of him (that your mind is full of him), and the son of man that You visit
him?” (Ps.8:4)

“He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush
their singing, and the melody that He gave to me, within my heart is singing.”

“And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am
His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

5. Jehovah - Jireh; The Lord Will Provide (Gen. 22:14). Finishing our
praise of the God of Abraham, let us note this special title of Jehovah that became a real
experience to Abraham in his life. In a real and special way in his later years, Abraham
learned that God’s resources for His own were without limitations. In Chapter 21 God
provided the long awaited heir through his wife, Sarah, even though her womb was dead.
(Rom. 4:19) In Chapter 22, he provided the ram for a burnt offering, just when Abraham
stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. (22:10-14) In Chapter 23, God
provided a burial place for his beloved wife, Sarah. In Chapter 24, God provided a bride
for his son, Isaac. In Chapter 25, God provided him with an eternal home, gathered to his
people, “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is
God.” (Heb. 11:10) “And my God shall supply ALL YOUR NEED according to His
riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) After years of dependence on
God’s provisions as a missionary in China, Hudson Taylor said, “Depend upon it,
God’s work done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.”

The whole triumphant host give thanks to God on high;

Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! They ever cry,

Hail, Abraham’s God and mine! I join the heav’nly lays;

All might and majesty are THINE, and endless praise. Amen.