Article: Bible Reading (The Calling of Abraham – Genesis 11:27-23:20)

The Calling of Abraham (Genesis 11:27-23:20)

Overview of Section

This section of Genesis covers the first of four important chosen leaders of the people of God called The Patriarchs.  Abraham was called by God to leave his father in Ur and travel some one thousand miles to an unnamed destination.

Through his life, beginning with his call and continuing through to the end, Abraham was called to exercise faith in God.  Sometimes this went well and other times his faith failed.

As you read this section note some of the different times Abraham’s faith was tested.  Note God’s promise made to Abraham, and then record what struggle or obstacle presented itself.  Then, note how he responded (two should be fine).

1.God’s Promise________________________________________________________________________

The Obstacle to Overcome_______________________________________________________________

Abraham’s Response____________________________________________________________________

2. God’s Promise_______________________________________________________________________

The Obstacle to Overcome_______________________________________________________________

Abraham’s Response____________________________________________________________________

Main Theological Theme(s)

The main theological theme in this section is the Abrahamic Covenant found first in Genesis 12:1-3 then restated in chapter 15. It’s in this covenant God promises Abraham that He will make him into a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him.  This covenant in chapter 15 also promises Abraham a multitude of descendants.  Of these descendants one will come who will bless the nations.

Approaching the New Testament

Abraham is used in the New Testament as a picture of overcoming obstacles through faith.

“Hebrews 11:8-19 draws our attention to Abraham’s life as a struggle of faith.  Abraham received God’s promise and then struggled in the face of obstacles to the fulfillment of that promise.  So Hebrews draws an analogy with Christians.  We too have received promises of God, but daily confront obstacles.  Abraham is presented as an example in order to support the Christian reader in this struggle.”[1]

Application Points

It’s a good practice as you read the life of Abraham to place yourself in his shoes and ask, how would I respond?  God is so gracious in Abraham’s life and we can see how God always follows through when He makes promises.  Based on God’s 100% follow-through record, how should we respond to His promises made to Christians found in the Bible?

How do you respond when your faith is tested?

Another practical point is that through Abraham’s life he not only had to exercise faith but he also, had to exercise patience.  The writer of Hebrews comments on this point,

“They all received the promise but ‘did not receive the things promised’ (Heb. 11:13,39).  Promised a land, they received only a field; they were longing for a better country, ‘a heavenly one’ (Heb. 11:16).  For God’s promises are not inherited through faith only, but ‘through faith and patience’ (Heb. 6:12).”[2]

The fact remains that they all did eventually receive the promises, some while on earth and others as an eternal inheritance.

[1] Introduction to the Old Testament, Dillard and Longman pg 57

[2] Through the Bible, Stott pg 48

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